Thursday, 22 May 2014

Button happy with Monaco track surface

(McLaren Mercedes)

McLaren's Jenson Button was happy with how his Thursday turned out despite the poor weather conditions during the second session. The 2009 champion who won here that year was happy with the feel of the new track surface. Button finished the opening session in 11th place, completing 35 laps while in the second session he finished in 8th place completing 16 laps. Speaking after the session the Englishman said:

'It’s fantastic to be back at Monaco – it’s such a crazy circuit, and always a lot of fun.
“In the dry, these turbo cars actually feel nice around here, although there’s not too much mechanical grip, which makes it more difficult. The Supersoft is a reasonable tyre, but it’s trickier in the wet – the Intermediates aren’t really working, even when the circuit’s almost dry. You’re wheel-spinning in fifth gear, which is an unusual feeling.
“Yesterday, I said that the new asphalt in the middle sector might lack grip, but I’m really pleased to be able to say that the organisers have done a fantastic job with the fresh surface. A lot of circuits could learn from the job they’ve done with the asphalt here: considering it’s brand new, it’s really good – there’s so much grip.
“I just hope we can get some some dry-weather running on Saturday morning – I think everyone needs a little more track time to complete their set-up work.'

Button's team mate Kevin Magnussen, who competing in his Monaco Grand Prix as an F1 driver finished this morning's session in 9th place on his way to completing 29 laps. The Dane's fastest time in FP1 was a 1m 19.789s ending the session 1.518s behind Lewis Hamilton while Jenson Button's fastest time in Free Practice One was a 1m 20.033s.

In the second session, Magnussen was 10th fastest and like his team mate completed 16 laps and set a fastest time of 1m 20.230s to end the session 1.762s behind pace setter Fernando Alonso. While in the second practice session, Jenson Button's fastest time was a 1m 19.721s (1.291s) behind Alonso.

Following the days running, Magnussen said:

'“We didn’t have any issues today – we just lack overall downforce. When our aerodynamicists get on top of that, hopefully we’ll be able to maintain that good balance and make some good progress.
“We haven’t done enough set-up work yet to be able to fully gauge our progress, but I felt comfortable driving the car. Of course, there are things to improve, but we’re taking it step by step.
“It was good fun driving the track today – the electronics mean you don’t really feel the impact of the turbo, so it’s not really like the old days, but I’m really looking forward to low fuel and new tyres for qualifying on Saturday!”

McLaren Racing Director, Eric Boullier was happy with how his drivers reported how the car was feeling today and said:

'When both your drivers report that the car feels predictable and easy to drive around a tricky street circuit such as this, it gives you some encouragement for the rest of the weekend. After all, even the tiniest of mistakes can have very damaging consequences around here, so it’s reassuring to know that the car offers our drivers a stable and reliable platform upon which to develop.
“While we gathered some useful initial data during the morning, the rain between the two sessions meant that few teams opted to run when the track was at its wettest at the start of FP2. That was unfortunate for the fans – however, both Jenson and Kevin ventured out earlier than most, and were able to get some good exploratory laps on the Intermediate tyre under their belts.
“Running a shorter Friday programme than usual means that there’s still a lot of work to be done on Saturday morning – particularly as we weren’t able to do all the set-up work or gather the long-run data that we ideally need.
“Still, the possibility of an unpredictable race is a welcome one – and we’ll be doing our best to capitalise on any opportunity this weekend.'

The Woking outfit head into this weekend's race in Monaco having failed to score points with either car in the last three Grand Prix in a row.

©Ben Johnston 2014

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