McLaren: Both drivers reported that the MP4-28 performed well around this fantastic Austin circuit

16 November, 2013

Jenson Button

Jenson Button

Team and drivers report from the opening day of free practice for the United States Grand Prix, Round 18 of the Formula 1 World Championship, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Jenson Button MP4-28A-02: “Both sessions today were quite positive. Our car’s feeling reasonably good around here, and it’s a fun circuit to drive, so I think we can make further progress. Hopefully we can qualify a little nearer to the front, too. However, that will be made more difficult due to my three-place grid penalty for overtaking under a red flag during FP1. It wasn’t a dangerous situation, and I didn’t do it on purpose – the other car slowed down – but the rules are the rules, and it was the wrong thing to do. Nonetheless, in terms of race-pace, I think we’re looking reasonably good – we just need to extract the maximum qualifying performance from the car. It’s a pity that I’ll be starting three places further back – I haven’t made it easy for myself in the past few races – but I’ll be giving it everything I’ve got tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez MP4-28A-03: “After the past few days, it was really nice to be able to get out on track and do the work that I really love. This circuit is quite dirty, so it’s difficult to warm up the tyres. The track surface also changed quite a lot between FP1 and FP2, so I think it’ll be very interesting to see if it changes further tomorrow, particularly as more changeable weather is expected. We had a mechanical issue today that affected our running – the balance of the car wasn’t great, and I didn’t feel comfortable. It also cost me quite a bit of time this afternoon and meant [that] we didn’t do too many miles on high fuel. Of course, that makes things a little tougher, but with the changes we’re set to make overnight, I’m sure we’ll improve tomorrow.”

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Neither Jenson nor Checo enjoyed a smooth day’s running today. During this morning’s session, Jenson received a three-place grid penalty from the stewards for overtaking another car while the session was red-flagged. It was an unfortunate incident, but Jenson’s race pace looks encouraging, and, racer that he is, he’ll not let this setback affect his preparations for Sunday. Checo’s running this afternoon was hampered by a mechanical issue that affected the balance of his car, and also meant that his on-track running was curtailed while we attempted to rectify it. Despite these issues, both drivers reported that the MP4-28 performed well around this fantastic Austin circuit. This is a great racer’s track, and I’m sure that Jenson and Checo will be pushing hard to achieve optimal qualifying positions tomorrow afternoon.”

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