Saturday, 24 May 2014

McLaren struggle in qualifying despite Magnussen lining up in 8th place

(McLaren Mercedes)

McLaren Mercedes headed into today's qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix with Jenson Button declaring that he was seeking progress and not points for this weekend. The 2009 world champion was left disappointed after being out qualified by team mate Kevin Magnussen. Button will start the race from 12th on the grid just ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. Speaking after the session Button said:

'On the first lap of my final run in Q2, I came across one of the Toro Rossos at the Swimming Pool. I don't think he initially saw me, then he tried to back out of the corner, but there wasn't enough room for two cars into the second part of that particular part of the circuit. It's a pity; the pace was there in Q1, but I didn't get a lap together in Q2. No excuses. 

The race will be tough starting from 12th position - the tyres last so long around here, so it could end up being quite processional. Maybe somebody will be brave and try some moves and make the race a bit of fun. Let's see if that upsets the order. I'm not hoping for rain on Sunday; no driver likes the wet around here, especially with these tyres - you can't get enough temperature into them. For everybody's sake, I think it'll be better if it's dry tomorrow. It's going to be a tough race for me, but I'll see what I can do.'

Button won here in 2009 and will be hoping that he will be able to challenge for a decent haul of points following a disappointing run for the Woking based outfit whose best result of the season remains their double podium in the opening race of the season at the Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park.

Kevin Magnussen did a great job in the MP-29 qualifying in 8th place. However the Dane was slightly disappointed not to be starting the race higher up. He has never driven a Formula One car in a Grand Prix before however last season when he drove in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series he finished the race in 4th place so he will be hoping that he will be able to score some more points for the McLaren team who are currently in 6th place in the Constructors championship. Magnussen said:

'I'm not completely happy to be starting eighth, but we pretty much got the best out of what we had; maybe seventh would have been possible - at a push. It's always a challenge to hook up the perfect lap around here - and it never really feel like you succeed. This is a street circuit, and it's bumpy, with barriers and walls right at the apex, so you make little mistakes and corrections, and always feel like you could have got a little closer to the barriers. Nonetheless, the car felt really good - it's just frustrating when you see the lap times, because it feels like we should be higher up. We can be reasonably happy with today. Tomorrow, we need a good launch, a good first lap, and to stay out of trouble - then maybe we can score some solid points'.

©Ben Johnston 2014

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