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F1 Russian Grand Prix: Button hails qualifying turnaround after FP3 woes

McLaren's Jenson Button delighted with fourth place on grid for 2014 F1 Russian Grand Prix after team went backwards in FP3
McLaren's Jenson Button says he is “very happy” after qualifying fourth for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix and thinks the whole team did a “good job” to “stay calm” after a disastrous final practice this morning.

McLaren looked strong on Friday, with both Button and team-mate Kevin Magnussen going well in FP1 and FP2. However, overnight changes did not have the desired results for FP3, leaving Button down in 11th, while Magnussen ended up 17th after a gearbox failure.

Reflecting on the day and if McLaren have made progress, Button replied: “I am sure some of it is track and asphalt specific, but I do feel that we have made some improvements. I think we made some improvements at Suzuka [last weekend] and we have carried it over to here - it has helped.”

“I actually did lap times that were worthy of the car as well, where as the last few qualifying sessions I have made a mistake and locked-up. That has cost me a bit of time. Here I felt like it was a good lap,” he added.

“FP1 and FP2 [on Friday] for us were looking very strong with both cars and on different tyres. Long runs as well seemed good. FP3 this morning, however, was a bit of a disaster really and in terms of pace, it just wasn't there,” he continued.

“We had to have a re-think [before qualifying] and make some set-up changes and went back on some we did overnight. To find then that we were competitive all the way through qualifying was a really good feeling. It gave me quite a lot of confidence going into Q3 and on both tyres. We ran the prime in Q1, which got us through into Q2.

“Overall I think it was a good job by the whole team today to stay calm after a tough FP3. I don't think P4 [on the grid] is too bad. Yesterday we would have expected P4, but this morning we thought it would be tough to get through to Q3.

“I am very happy.”

As for the race, Button doesn't believe it is set that everyone will go for a one-stop strategy. He also reckons there will be overtaking.

“If we are all doing the same strategy it is always more difficult [to overtake]. But I don't think you are going to be seeing a one-stop race,” he predicted. “Looking at the amount of laps people are putting on a set of tyres in qualifying, I think you will be looking at more stops. Obviously it is quite scary in terms that it is very easy to lock a tyre around here in Turn 13 [too] and that would change your strategy anyway. I think we will see overtaking. We have the DRS into Turn 13, which won't really do a lot for us, but I think into Turn 1 it could be very useful. I think overtaking is easier here than somewhere like Barcelona.”
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
11.10.2014- free practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
11.10.2014- free practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
11.10.2014- free practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
11.10.2014- free practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
10.10.2014- Free Practice 2, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
11.10.2014- free practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
11.10.2014- Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29

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