McLaren: It’s a tricky circuit and an unforgiving qualifying format

Drivers and Team report after qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix, Round 13 of the 2013 Formula 1 world championship, at Marina Bay Circuit.

Jenson Button: MP4-28A-04
“The car felt okay and I’d say it was a reasonable qualifying session for us. There’s still quite a bit of progress to be made, but we’ve been doing a lot of set-up work this weekend to improve the car and I’m happy about that. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow, so as to make the best of where we are. It’s likely to be an exciting race because the tyres are working in a very unusual way. As a result there are going to be a lot of different strategies, so it’ll be interesting to see how everyone get on. It’s going to be difficult to overtake the cars in front of us, but we’ll see what we can do. Having said that, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s always a very tough race here, but that’s what we do all the training for.”

Sergio Perez: MP4-28A-03
“I think today we should have made it through to Q3. Basically, when the track got better in Q2, I just couldn’t improve my time. The rear felt quite loose and I therefore found it difficult to maximise the full potential of the car. I think the changes we did after P3 didn’t help, and I probably lost a bit there. Also in my out-lap I had quite a bit of traffic which didn’t help either. To lose two-tenths here is very easy – and today we did it. As a result, it’s not going to be one of the easiest races out there for me tomorrow, starting from P14. It’ll be difficult for me to overtake, so we need a good strategy and good pace throughout the race. But not everything is lost: we’ve seen in the past that anything can happen here and there’s a big difference between the Prime and the Option so we’ll see what effect that has from a strategy point of view. Obviously, our aim is to score some points.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
“Jenson delivered a typically strong and fault-free performance to qualify about as well as we felt our car was capable of qualifying here this evening. Checo, meanwhile, is naturally frustrated not to have made it through to Q3. It’s a tricky circuit and an unforgiving qualifying format, though – so, with so many cars so close to one another in terms of pace, it’s all too easy not to make the Q3 cut. Having said that, both Jenson and Checo have shown themselves in many races this year to be well capable of fighting their way through the field from less than stellar grid slots to solid points finishes by flag-fall, and I have no doubt whatsoever that that’s what they’ll both be trying their damnedest to do when the five red lights go out on the Marina Bay starting gantry tomorrow evening.”