• Japanese Grand Prix

Button admits McLaren is off the pace

ESPNF1 Staff
October 8, 2010 « Hamilton admits to 'pushing too hard too soon' | »
Jenson Button endured a testing opening day at Suzuka © Getty Images

Jenson Button admitted his McLaren team was a fair way off the pace of the Red Bulls at Suzuka after he finished sixth fastest in Friday free practice at Suzuka.

The reigning world champion complained of too much understeer in the first sector as he finished a full second off Sebastian Vettel's fastest time.

"This morning was pretty tricky; I couldn't get a balance with the car at all, and was really struggling with understeer through the first sector," said Button. "You give away so much time when you've got understeer through the esses because it's tougher to get the car to change direction.

"For the afternoon, we made a few changes and the car felt a lot more responsive. We're quite a bit off the pace of the Red Bulls, but we've got to look at getting the best out of the new package that we've got. And that requires extensive testing, which can take a couple of runs."

Despite his disappointment, Button is hopeful that McLaren can claw back the deficit to its title rivals over the remainder of the weekend.

"I don't think we got the best out of our new parts, but we've made some good steps forward. We did a good job today of improving the car, but there's still more to come. That's encouraging, we're just not there yet."