Button and Alonso upbeat after positive Friday for McLaren in Hungary

1 Comment

Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were upbeat following a positive Friday for McLaren in practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

McLaren has endured its worst ever start to a Formula 1 season in 2015, scoring just five points and suffering nine retirements in the opening nine races of the year.

Many of the issues have stemmed from the new Honda power unit following the Japanese manufacturer’s return to the sport at the beginning of 2014.

However, the team appears to be in better shape at the Hungaroring – a circuit where engine power is less important – as Button and Alonso finished on the fringes of the top ten in FP1 and FP2 on Friday.

Alonso remained cautious given the difficulties faced by other teams on Friday, but was pleased with the performance of the McLaren MP4-30 nevertheless.

“We see on Fridays that some teams don’t show their full potential, and are more competitive on Saturday,” Alonso said. “Neither Force India ran this afternoon, so I think it’s realistic to expect that there’ll be a few more cars ahead of us tomorrow.

“Nevertheless, I’m pretty happy with the performance of the car – it gets better every weekend.

“It’s been a trouble-free day – we had no issues on either car – but now we need to focus mainly on the race. Our long-run pace looks okay, but qualifying will be important too because overtaking around here is so difficult.

“I’d like to hope that, if we finish the race, we can hopefully score some points.”

Button admitted that he was enjoying driving the McLaren car for the first time since the Monaco Grand Prix back in May, and has confidence in the MP4-30.

“I enjoyed the car today,” Button said. “It was fun to drive, and the last time if felt like this was in Monaco, so that’s a promising way to start the grand prix weekend.

“Hopefully, we can have a reasonable time here – it’s tough with these high temperatures, but every team has to deal with that.

“Our high-fuel runs were reasonably positive today, so I think we’ve got a good foundation beneath us. The balance is giving me confidence: we know we can make it faster too, so, with a few little set-up tweaks, I think we could be in reasonable shape tomorrow.

“Overall, I think the team is in a good place – we’ve had a tough few races recently, but we’ve stuck together, and we’ve stayed strong.”

Both Alonso and Button have fond memories of racing at the Hungaroring, which was the site of their maiden grand prix victories in 2003 and 2006 respectively.

Although a repeat result may not be on the cards this weekend, points for either driver would surely feel like a victory to the ailing McLaren team.