Far from their imperious form of previous championships, recently McLaren haven't even been able to take for granted that both or indeed either of their cars will make it through to the final round of qualifying.

But at Monza at least the team seemed to have found their groove, with both cars due to start in the top ten - Sergio Perez in eighth place out-qualifying his team mate Jenson Button who will start from ninth on the grid.

"It's pleasing for the whole team that we got both cars into Q3," said Perez. "However, we were around three-tenths slower than the guys just in front of us - and I'm not really sure where they found those extra tenths because I think we did the best possible job with what we had today.

"I'm confident we can recover some of the ground we lost to the guys in front of us," he added. "But that'll require us to pull together a good strategy for the race."

Button meanwhile was ruing the decision to make a run on the medium compound tyres in Q3, which commits him to starting the race on the options unless it rains in the meantime.

"It's a little bit of a pity," he said. "If we hadn't run at all in Q3, our options would have been a little more open for [the] race. However, sitting out the final session isn't really what any of us are here to do. Anyway, it is what it is, and we'll do our best.

Button was less confident about finding the missing tenths that separated the McLaren pair from their rivals ahead of them on the grid.

"I don't know exactly where we stand in terms of race pace, it'll be interesting to find out," he said. "But the good thing is that I'm on the clean side of the grid, which might be an advantage as it's usually a bit chaotic down into the first corner here.

"All in all, I reckon we can certainly do something from ninth on the grid. Everyone is going to be on pretty similar strategies," Button added. "The weather forecast for tomorrow looks a bit changeable, too, and things could get very interesting if it rains during the race."

As pleased as he was with the team's performance on Saturday, team principal Martin Whitmarsh indicated that qualifying was no where near as important at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza as it was at other venues the F1 championship visits during the season.

"Qualifying may not be as crucial here as it is on most other circuits, especially bearing in mind that we gather that rain is a distinct possibility," he said. "Moreover, in the recent past our drivers have both proven themselves to be competitive and combative racers who are well able to make good progress from suboptimal grid positions.

"They'll be doing their utmost to forge their way through the field [Sunday], in what may well be a very tricky race," he added. "Especially as Monza is a circuit on which overtaking is less difficult than on the more tortuous and less flowing circuits that make up the bulk of the modern F1 calendar."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment