McLaren reports from day one of the Japanese GP weekend

Team and drivers report from the first day of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, Round 15 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship, at Suzuka.

Jenson Button MP4-28A-04: “It’s great to be out on the circuit. Throughout the day, we saw a lot of drivers making mistakes, but that’s the nature of this place – it’s unforgiving. Obviously, we don’t like to see accidents like Checo’s, but you appreciate that you have to respect this place. It’s been a relatively good Friday. We found a good balance on the Prime tyre, but still need to do some work with the Option, because we didn’t gain too much going from the harder tyre to the softer one. Nevertheless, while both compounds are working reasonably well, I believe there’s a cooler weather front coming in for tomorrow, so we need to be careful about the direction we take with the set-up to best cope with it.

Sergio Perez MP4-28A-03: “My accident during FP3 was my error. I was setting the car up for the entry to Spoon, put my right-rear wheel onto the grass, and just lost the back end. At the speed I was travelling, and with relatively little run-off, there wasn’t much room to scrub off speed so I went straight into the wall. The impact was quite hard, but fortunately I’m fine. The accident meant [that] we didn’t get the track time we needed for the high-fuel and Option tyre runs in our programme for the afternoon. But we’ll be able to use some of the data generated by Jenson, and our aim for tomorrow has to be to get into Q3.”

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Checo’s accident in FP2 was obviously a setback for the team, but the main thing for all of us is that he was able to walk away unhurt from what was quite a sizeable impact. Unfortunately, his chassis wasn’t so fortunate, and it will be replaced with the spare by the mechanics overnight. Jenson made good progress throughout the day and both sides of the garage will be a little more dependent on the data he accrued in the afternoon – particularly his experience of the Option tyre, and his work running on a heavier fuel load.”

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