Jenson Button Q&A: McLaren couldnt have expected more 23 Mar 2013
After the disaster that was Melbourne, two cars in the top ten in Saturdays Sepang qualifying session came as welcome relief for McLaren. Thanks to Kimi Raikkonens grid penalty, Jenson Button will start the race seventh, with team mate Sergio Perez ninth. Button is convinced the MP4-28 is on an upward slope, and given the unpredictability of the Kuala Lumpur weather, he knows anything could happen on Sunday
Q: Have your expectations been met in todays qualifying?
Jenson Button: I dont think that we could expect anything more today, and being two-tenths off Kimi is not too bad I would say. Although these conditions usually seemed to have worked for us, up until this point I think we are doing better in the dry than we initially thought - still not quick, but the boys are getting everything possible out of the car and therefore I am very pleased for them. And having two cars in the top ten is great. Of course if you have a fast car you want it to stay dry, and if you have not such a fast car you want it to rain. I personally couldnt really find any grip on the intermediates. In terms of the long-run pace I am much happier than I was in Melbourne, and I can see where I am going, which really does help. I think we did some positive improvements already since the Australian GP only one week ago, so therefore we should be very happy that we are moving forward.
Q: So will you be hoping for a rainy race tomorrow?
JB: After the result of today and finding out that we have a better pace in the dry, actually not. I think we were seventh in Q1 and also seventh in Q2 - which we managed to finish in dry conditions - which gives us a good outlook at least for a dry race. So I do prefer a better car in the dry than a good car in the wet.
Q: In terms of the heat, how do you deal with this?
JB: It is very tough and especially in the car it is absolutely hot. You are sweating so much when you are racing. Of course we train in these conditions to be prepared as well as possible, but still it is not easy.
Q: Looking at the tyres, how careful do you need to be to not degrade them too much, and does this have any effect on the speed?
JB: In our case going slow does not help the tyre at all, as going slower is not making any difference towards the degradation. So in fact it is completely the opposite. Compared to the track in Melbourne, the Sepang circuit is a bit smoother and this helps us, although there are still a few bumps out there that are not making it much easier for us.
Q: You are having very long meetings with your engineers after the sessions - is there a lot to discuss?
JB: Yes there is, and there is quite a lot of data from the set-up that we are going to use for this weekend that needs to be analysed. We are getting better in understanding what the car is doing, although with all of these improvements that we were able to do from last week we will not find ourselves on the top of the timesheets as of yet. It is a little frustrating for us that we are not able to find the big lump of time that will make a big difference, unfortunately. We do have a few new parts already here in Malaysia that might make the car a little bit quicker, and that help us understand a bit more where we struggle as we can compare the difference to Australia. Still on Friday I had two rear punctures and therefore wasnt able to run as much as I wanted to. At the end of the day McLaren is a front-runner team, and we will do everything to fight our way back to the front, this is for sure.
Q: The Sepang circuit has been a very good track for you in the past, as you won in 2009 and also had a few other podium results. Do you have a secret to finishing at the front here?
JB: It is a great circuit, as it is fast and flowing. In terms of car set-up we have a good understanding of where we need to go. This year it is more the question whether we are able to do this with the car that we have at the moment. It is definitely a track that I enjoy a lot.
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