Eric Boullier: “Clearly, P9 and P11 is nothing to write home about, and we’re far from satisfied."
Kevin drove very strongly in Q2, posting a good lap to make it into the top 10 and thereby move through to Q3. Then, in the dying seconds of Q3, he posted an extremely impressive time to line up in P9 – just a tenth shy of P7, so close were the lap-times in Q3.
Jenson failed to make the cut into Q3 – by just two-hundredths – and will start 11th. He made a good impression in Q1, finishing in P4 at that early stage, but, with his front wing dialled to the maximum, he was unable to capitalise on the increased grip as the circuit rubbered in during the hour-long session. Nevertheless, he will have the freedom to choose his starting tyre for tomorrow.
Kevin Magnussen (Q3 - 9th overall, 1m46.250s): “We got the most out of what we had today – which is worth underlining – and to make it into Q3 still feels pretty decent, but we’re not fast enough. We need to keep pushing to develop the car.
“I don’t think there was much more I could have done: we’re not quick enough here, so hopefully tomorrow there’ll be some well-timed Safety Cars and a couple of opportune retirements to help us move up the order.
“We’ll do our best tomorrow, as usual, and I’ll be pushing as hard as I can. I’m a racer – so, if I see an opportunity to move forward by taking a few chances, then why not? We don’t have much to lose, so we might as well try to maximise what’s available to us. I’ll be doing everything I can in the race – nothing less. Hopefully, we’ll get some useful points.
“It’s frustrating, because we’re doing well, but we’re still not quick enough.”
Jenson Button (Q2 - 11th overall, 1m46.943s): “Not making the cut into Q3 is disappointing, especially considering the strong progress we’d made during Q1.
“On my final, critical run in Q2, I lost quite a lot of time at the hairpin – I locked up the fronts and ran wide – and I dropped a couple of tenths. After that it was always going to be very close – but, even if I’d got through to the top 10, I think it would have been difficult to make much further progress up the Q3 order.
“To explain things further, during Q1 I’d already dialled the front wing settings up to their maximum, and, as the circuit gripped-up into Q2, I struggled because I didn’t have enough front-end [grip]. I did everything I could to compensate, by using the differential and engine braking, but it wasn’t quite enough.
“I haven’t looked too deeply at the strategy for tomorrow yet, but hopefully the ability to choose our starting tyre will help us make some progress.”
Eric Boullier - Racing director, McLaren Mercedes: “Clearly, P9 and P11 is nothing to write home about, and we’re far from satisfied.
“However, Kevin’s Q3 lap was just 0.569s off Lewis’s [Hamilton] pole, and, while that isn’t what we came to Singapore to achieve, it shows that we’re continuing to improve our car in terms of performance relative to the very fastest cars.
“Unfortunately, Jenson ran wide at the hairpin on what would have been a strong Q2 lap, losing two-tenths in the process, and consequently failed to get through to P3 by the very narrowest of margins. Nonetheless, we all know what a wily driver he is, and he’ll be aiming to score points tomorrow, mark my words.
“Kevin got absolutely everything out of the car today, and, had the Q3 lap-times not been so unusually close, he would have achieved a better result than the P9 grid slot his efforts in fact earned. But he’ll be driving his usual fast and forceful race in an effort to move up the field and achieve as good a result as he possibly can.”