Jenson Button is hopeful his McLaren will be a bit more competitive at the German Grand Prix this weekend.
Following practice on Friday, in which he was seventh quickest in the opening session and ninth in the second, the Englishman revealed that the troublesome MP4-28 actually felt okay around the 'Ring and while he isn't expecting to be running at the front, he does think they should be able to get into the top-ten and score points.
“The car felt pretty good as soon as I drove out of the garage this morning. We're still a way off the front, but our pace relative to the cars around us doesn't seem too bad. The overall feeling with the car is not so bad,” Button said.
“The Pirelli tyres are working very well here; obviously, the Option has much more grip than the Prime. It seems that the idea behind the two compounds is to give us a qualifying tyre that doesn't last long – the Option – and a race tyre – the Prime. It's not a bad compromise, we just need to deal with the tyre not lasting too long on Sunday.
“We won't be challenging the cars at the front this weekend, but it would be nice to be able to attack the teams who are normally immediately ahead of us,” he added.
Sergio Perez meanwhile finished up tenth in FP1 and 14th in FP2 and like Button he was happier than in Canada or Britain, although he still reckons it could be a struggle making it into the top-ten shootout on Saturday.
“I think it's been our best Friday for a couple of races – partly because of the dry weather, but also because we got a useful amount of work under our belts,” stated the Mexican. “We're still in the same situation as we were in last weekend – the potential of the car hasn't changed dramatically – but I think we can fight tomorrow to get into Q3. That may still be hard, but that's our target.”
“We've made a little bit of progress with the car and can hopefully continue to improve it throughout the weekend,” summarised team principal, Martin Whitmarsh. “Naturally, the majority of the day was spent learning about the new Pirelli tyres that we have for this weekend. Pirelli has changed the construction of the tyre – and it was good to see that it was a quiet day on the tyre front.
“Both drivers conducted a range of development runs in the morning, before spending the afternoon running a comparison test between the Prime and Option tyres, and undertaking longer runs using a heavier fuel-load. It's clear that there's a significant step in both performance and longevity between the two compounds – that will inevitably make for some interesting considerations during the race.”