McLaren report from day one of free practice for the Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Circuit.
Fernando Alonso: “I think eighth is pretty representative of our true position today. This circuit suits the characteristics of our car – it’s very different from Monza and Spa. So, since this track is favourable to us, we must try our best to take this opportunity and really deliver. I’m also happy with the changes to the layout of the circuit since last year. The track should be safer now, and probably will offer a better opportunity for overtaking, as in turn 13 now there’s a very wide entry, so we’ll see different racing lines there on Sunday, and hopefully some action too.”
Jenson Button: “My day was okay, but it’s always tricky to get a balance at this place. There were a few issues that we had on the lower-fuel runs; we just didn’t have the right balance at all. I think Fernando had a reasonable balance – we were on a different spec of engine today. I was running on an older spec of engine at the end of its life. We should be able to find more performance tomorrow – hopefully we’ll be up where Fernando was today, and then you have a good fight on our hands to try to get into Q3. On our long-run pace, the first three teams are so fast, a couple of seconds quicker than the rest. So we’ll do the best we can tomorrow and Sunday and see where we stand. I’m looking forward to it though. It’s going to be much more exciting than the last two races were, because at least we’re in the fight here. I think we’ll be in the middle of the pack, hopefully.”
Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren-Honda: “Without wishing to over-promise, I would nonetheless describe today’s running as encouraging. We finished the day in eighth and 14th positions, Fernando’s best lap just 0.8s slower than the fastest of the day. Also, we managed to get plenty of laps completed, without any reliability issues of any kind all day, so we’ve now got a great deal of data to work on tonight, with a view to approaching tomorrow’s qualifying in a positive frame of mind.”
Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport: “Both FP1 and FP2 sessions were run according to plan, and it feels that the car as a whole package is heading towards a good direction this weekend. Fernando and Jenson used a different aero package setting for the practice session, therefore we were able to gather an abundance of set-up data. We’ll analyse further tonight for the optimal qualifying set-up.”