4 September 2015
F1 Italian Grand Prix: Button sidelined as car cries enough
Already facing another grid penalty, Jenson Button's Italian Grand Prix couldn't have got off to a worse start as he hardly completed a lap on day one at Monza.
Jenson Button somehow managed to retain his sense of humour despite losing most of day one at the Italian Grand Prix to ongoing mechanical maladies at McLaren.
Having completed only a few meaningful laps in the morning's free practice session, partly because Honda decided to follow through on a plan to install different engines for FP2, the Briton managed just one timed effort after lunch as a late start while the work was finished was quickly followed by the sight of fluid emanating from the back of the MP4-30.
“We had a coolant leak – the car was crying!” Button reported, having been told to return to the garage with 'an abnormality', “It was losing [fluid] and we couldn't change the ERS pack in time, so we didn't get back out. Not a very good day - one lap this afternoon and only a few laps this morning - so not very good preparation but hey ho… It was going to be a difficult weekend anyway, but we just made it more difficult for ourselves.”
With team-mate Fernando Alonso enjoying better fortunes, Button can at least steal a march on set-up direction overnight, and tried to remain positive ahead of a day when both McLaren drivers are due to take grid penalties over whatever qualifying position they achieve.
“We've got a penalty for the race and we're not very quick either, so it's not looking good, but we'll do what we can and fight in qualifying as always,” he confirmed, “There's a lot for us to learn and the problem that we had was disappointing as it was a simple one - a problem that shouldn't have happened. Hopefully, we can learn from that, and the other car did some running so we can see the data from that.
“[The chassis] is pretty good, but you never know [how good] until you have reasonably good power like your competitors. You don't really know what will happen when you're carrying more speed into the corners, so its difficult to say, but the car is enjoyable to drive, even if it's obviously not as quick as a Mercedes or Red Bull, or maybe a couple of other cars.
“The crazy thing is that, while we're not very quick in a straight line compared to the quick cars, we're still doing 338kph in a straight line, which is quite fast - but the quick guys are doing 355! It's quite a big gap, but we're running very low downforce here, which is hurting us a little bit in the corners.
“But the car feels quite nice to drive - when I can drive it – and, hopefully, P3 can be clear of any issues and we can get some proper running.”
Asked if he could draw any positives from a frustrating day, Button pointed to both being at Monza and finding that Pirelli's tyre adjustments had passed off without problem, before finding another, less expected, benefit of sitting out most of the day.
“I've done a comparison of the desserts in the motorhome, and I've found that the chocolate brownie always wins!” he grinned.
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