Hungarian GP: McLaren fails to get a good qualifying

Fernando Alonso: "Jenson had a problem in Q1, and then my car just switched itself off in Q2."

Despite showing promise throughout every practice session, both drivers struggled through no fault of their own when it really mattered in qualifying this afternoon.

Jenson spoke of a lack of ERS deployment along the main straight as he began his final lap in Q1. That lost him around four tenths of lap-time, and resulted in his failing to graduate to Q2 by just a tenth.

It wasn’t an ERS issue; it was a steering switch software data issue that hindered the deployment of MGU-K out on the track. The cause of the problem is already understood and has been rectified.

Fernando finished 14th in Q1, but was unable to post a time in Q2 after coasting to a halt, his car suffering an electrical shutdown owing to a loose harness connection that provides power to the car. He was unable to return to the track and will start the race from 15th position on the grid.

Fernando Alonso (Q2 15th overall No time): “This afternoon was a pity, because it’s been a good weekend for the team so far: we’d made some useful performance steps, and had regularly been in the top 10 in the sessions, so the problems we had in qualifying were extremely unfortunate.

“Jenson had a problem in Q1, and then my car just switched itself off in Q2. Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to continue in qualifying if the car doesn’t make it back to the pits under its own power, so that was that.

“Qualifying wasn’t the right time to have these problems, but hopefully we can learn from them for the future.”

Jenson Button (Q1 16th overall 1m24.739s):  “I didn’t get any electrical deployment down the main straight as I started my final lap in Q1. The engineers tell me that’s worth about four-tenths – and that just isn’t possible to make up around the rest of the lap. It was unlucky, but it is what it is.

“It was a shame too, because I really enjoyed driving the car today. The morning session was a bit tough, but the car immediately felt good this afternoon. The balance was good and we thought we’d easily get through into Q2. We’re not quick enough yet, but at least we have a good balance.

“Let’s hope tomorrow is a better day. I love driving around this place – it’s a great old circuit – and we’ll have a close look at what hand we can play tomorrow. But, even so, it’ll be a tough race, because you can’t overtake around here.”

Eric Boullier - Racing director, McLaren-Honda: “Here in blistering Budapest, as we approach the midsummer shutdown, we’d been hoping to be able to leaven our first-half-of-the-season melancholy with some discernible improvement.

“The fact is, we have improved, but I guess the key word is ‘discernible’, because a series of glitches and gremlins continues to conspire to prevent that improvement from translating into the ameliorated grid positions and race performances that we feel are within our compass.

“Today, in Q2, Fernando suffered an electrical shutdown triggered by a loose harness connection, shortly after Jenson’s fastest Q1 lap had been stymied by a steering switch software data issue.

“Nonetheless, tomorrow is another day – and, despite the fact that the Hungaroring is a notoriously inexpedient circuit on which to overtake, both Fernando and Jenson will be doing their level best to do just that, and thereby move forward through the field.”

Yasuhisa Arai - Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport

“It was a very disappointing result in qualifying.

“After a promising Friday, and this morning's FP3 results, we were hoping for more this afternoon.

“The team has worked incredibly hard, but unexpected circumstances denied us a better result today, which is really tough on both Fernando and Jenson.

“Jenson's car had a steering switch software data issue, and the MGU-K assist was hindered out on the track. His flying lap suffered and he couldn’t make it out of Q1.

“Fernando’s car suffered an electrical shutdown due to a loose harness connection that provides power to the car, ending his chances in Q2. His efforts to push the car back to the pit-lane and to the team were an act of great professionalism – he deserves deep respect for that.

“Thankfully, we were able to check his car immediately after qualifying, where it was confirmed that the disconnection hadn’t affected any other part of the power unit for tomorrow’s race.

“We know that our car setting and power unit setting are working well for the track, so tomorrow we’ll put our all into the race.”

McLaren-Honda

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Hungarian GP
Sub-event Saturday qualifying
Track Hungaroring
Drivers Jenson Button , Fernando Alonso
Teams McLaren
Article type Qualifying report