Jenson Button has been spending the last few days talking up McLaren's prospects heading into the second half of the 2013 world championship season, even speculating whether an upturn in form might not see them challenge for a podium position at Spa, the first Grand prix after the August break.

Unfortunately it was back down to reality with a crunch on Saturday after qualifying at the Hungaroring, which saw him fail to make it through to Q3 as he slumped to 13th place on the grid for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

"When we run fresh rubber, I can't get enough front-end in the car," Button revealed afterwards. "We're maxed out, so I'm struggling.

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But the perennially optimistic Button was quick to find a silver lining to this latest cloud: "In a way, that's a positive, because it means we've introduced downforce to the rear of the car," he suggested. "And hopefully that situation will change for the race, when you can play around with things in the cockpit a little more, and there's generally less rear grip for everyone."

However, at the end of the day starting from the seventh row of the grid is not what the former world champion had in mind for Budapest.

"I'm a little disappointed as I'd hoped for a bit more here," he admitted. "I think that's because it's been difficult to balance the car, but, hopefully, we'll show a little bit more pace in the race," he said, adding that he was still confident that he'd be able to have some "fun" in the race.

His team mate Sergio Perez' day started off badly when he spun off at turn 11 in Free Practice 3 and crumpled his car, leaving his mechanics a lot of work to do in order to be ready for the start of qualifying. But ready it was, and Perez went on to make it through to Q3 ahead of his team mate - albeit by the skin of his teeth.

"First of all, I want to thank all the guys on the team, they did an amazing job to get the car turned around between FP3 and Q1 this afternoon," he said. "It was quite a big shunt but we still didn't lose any track-time. That was really impressive.

"At the beginning of Q1, I still felt a little bit uncomfortable with the car, which is why I only just made it through to Q2," he continued. "However, my Q2 lap was quite good."

He wasn't able to capitalise on making it through to the pole shootout, however, with the team opting to save a spare set of fresh soft tyres for race day rather than pursuing a likely fruitless campaign in Q3.

"Given our pace - we knew we weren't going to qualify in the top five - we opted to run the Prime in Q3," he said, a decision that means he'll start Sunday's race on the medium compounds while all the cars ahead of him are committed to the faster but short-lived soft options.

"That tyre choice ought to give us a better strategy for the race tomorrow," he said. "We'll be the first car starting on Primes, so I think we're in a reasonable position for tomorrow."