McLaren: It appears we’ve been able to carry that momentum forwards

Jenson Button

Jenson Button

Drivers and team report from the first day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, Round 17 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship, at Yas Marina Circuit.

Sergio Perez MP4-28A-01:

“This was a productive day for the whole team – I felt really comfortable with the car in both sessions, and really enjoyed my time on the track today. I feel happy with my car, and I don’t expect to change too much. Normally, we change quite a lot on the car between Friday and Saturday in order to refine the balance and set-up, but I don’t think we’ll be doing too much of that tonight. The Option tyre is performing quite a lot better than it was in India. While I think we feel more comfortable with the softer tyre, it’ll still be difficult to make a one-stop strategy work on Sunday. Tomorrow, I’d like to see us get into Q3.”

Jenson Button MP4-28A-04:

“It was a pretty good day in terms of understanding the car. Our direction with the set-up looks reasonably good, too. I also think both tyres are working reasonably well around here. I got my fastest lap on my first attempt on the Option tyre, which most people didn’t, so I’m quite happy about that. My long runs proved quite tricky, however – first, because of traffic, and, second, because I was delayed by an issue that we initially thought was a puncture but that actually turned out to be a sensor failure. As a result, I had to drive slowly back to the pits, after which I lost a lot of track time because we had to replace some parts on the car that had got a bit warm during that slow lap. Still, all in all, I think we’re in reasonable shape here.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:

“After our encouraging performance in India last week, it appears that we’ve been able to carry that momentum forwards to this weekend. Both Jenson and Checo enjoyed productive sessions: while our focus this afternoon was once again on understanding and developing concepts and components for 2014, the evening’s session quickly proved productive as we progressed through our set-up and tyre evaluation work. Despite a sensor failure for Jenson – which prompted us to believe that he’d suffered a puncture – both drivers got a decent amount of mileage under their belts and reported that the car was behaving well around this circuit. For tomorrow, we feel we already have a useful understanding of the car, but we’ll be looking to further refine that ahead of the qualifying session.”

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