Disappointing qualifying for McLaren in São Paulo

Jenson Button: “Hopefully, we’ll have some good racing tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez (FP3: 18th, 1m32.731s, 4 laps / Q1: 11th, 1m26.741s / Q2: 14th overall, 1m28.269s): “It’s hard to know for sure, but I think we made the correct decision to run in qualifying when we did, but the car wasn’t responding properly. I think perhaps we got the tyre pressures incorrect because I couldn’t find enough grip out there.

Sergio Perez, McLaren MP4-28
Sergio Perez, McLaren MP4-28

Photo by: XPB Images

“My accident in Q2 looked bigger than it actually was – as soon as I lost the car, I went over the grass and hit the wall – but it was only a slight hit, and the car wasn’t too badly damaged.

“It’s a pity, but I was giving it my all. I knew it was my last opportunity to set a time; it was getting wetter, and I was pushing right to the limit, because I knew the car wasn’t responding well. I was trying my hardest, in other words.

“In similar conditions, I still think we can make up some positions tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the race – I hope we can end the season on a high.”

Jenson Button (FP3: 21st, No time 1 lap, /Q1: 7th, 1m26.398s / Q2: 15th overall, 1m28.308s): “We sat out most of FP3 in order to save tyres, which felt like the right thing to do at the time, but in retrospect maybe it wasn’t the right call. After all, we hadn’t run in wet conditions on the Intermediate tyres before qualifying, so we weren’t prepared for the problems we then encountered. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

“We were running a low-downforce configuration, which probably didn’t help either. We felt that set-up was working for us yesterday, when it wasn’t as wet, but it probably hurt us in getting pressure into the tyre.

“Still, we were good in Q1 – I ended up in P7 – but, when it rained harder in Q2, I couldn’t get enough temperature into the tyres.

“Hopefully, we can mix it up a bit tomorrow – although the weather on Sunday is supposed to be a bit drier. Hopefully, though, we’ll have some good racing, and we won’t spend too long behind the Safety Car!”

Martin Whitmarsh Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Obviously, to qualify 14th and 15th for the last grand prix of the year is very disappointing, even if what caught us out were the very unpredictable weather conditions.

“In Q1, however, we were 7th and 11th – which, albeit not stellar, represented a more accurate reflection of our ambient pace relative to our opposition.

“In Q2, though, the timing of our runs wasn’t quite perfect, and as a result we struggled to switch the tyres on when we needed to. In wet-dry conditions such as those we faced today, the art is always in finding that sweet-spot moment in which to be on the track the optimal time, and you can’t always get it right."

“Having said all that, although the weather is forecast to be less rainy tomorrow than it’s been yesterday and today, it’s unlikely to be dry and sunny all afternoon. That being the case, there’s no doubt that both Jenson and Checo can make good progress from their poor grid positions when the five red lights go out on the startline gantry and the race begins.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Sergio Perez , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Mercedes , McLaren
Article type Qualifying report
Tags button, interlagos, mclaren, perez, sao paulo