Jenson Button admitted that McLaren failed to make use of the available grip on day one of the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos - and didn't sound too confident that things would get any better over the remainder of the weekend.
The Briton wound up 16th fastest on the overall timesheets, nearly two seconds off the pace of fastest man Nico Rosberg, and explained that he had struggled to find the right balance on his Honda-powered MP4-30. Charged with completing a lot of the team's comparison work after team-mate Fernando Alonso was felled by another engine failure, Button confessed that there was a great deal of ground to be made up.
“I don't look at the times so much, as it's more for the feel, but there's a lot of work to do,” he sighed, “It feels as though we've got very low grip out there, but I'm sure it's the same for everyone with the high pressures we run around here. The pressures just go through the roof, so it's not perfect – actually, it's a long way from perfect – but hopefully, with some good meetings tonight, we can find a better balance because we're a long way off at the moment.
“I actually thought there was quite a lot of grip out there, but we didn't make use of it really. We're struggling quite a lot with overall balance and, with the high pressures, it's difficult to do any sort of running so it's difficult to do any comparisons because, once the tyres overheat, you're done, so it made it very tricky today but we'll see what we can do tomorrow.”
Asked whether the race could result in three stops after other teams and drivers reported higher than expected tyre wear, Button actually suggested that Sunday's event may fall more in line with pre-race, but admitted that McLaren would probably be better off not having to use the slicks at all…
“I think it will be fine doing a lot less than [three stops] - the tyres aren't quick and they're moving around a lot, but they seem to last for a reasonable amount of time,” the 2012 Brazilian GP winner confirmed, “However, there's a chance it could rain, and we hope it will because that will give us a chance this weekend.”