• Japanese Grand Prix - FP2

Red Bull the car to beat - Button

ESPNF1 Staff
October 7, 2011 « Renault encouraged by improved showing | Hamilton thinks Red Bull runs light »
Jenson Button was fastest by 0.174s in the afternoon session © Getty Images

Jenson Button said that Red Bull has the fastest car at Suzuka despite topping both practice sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Button was quickest in both sessions, ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton in FP1 and Fernando Alonso in FP2. Despite setting the headline times Button said there was still a lot of work to be done if McLaren wanted to challenge Red Bull, specifically highlighting the balance of the car as an area that he wanted to work on before qualifying.

"We need to improve a lot more to really feel confident we can challenge the Red Bulls," Button is quoted by the BBC. "There are a few areas that are still a bit weak in terms of balance but hopefully we can find that overnight. I think the Red Bull is still the car to beat."

Although he admitted that Red Bull were favourites, Button is still targeting victory if McLaren can find some more long run pace.

"The car feels good around here. I don't really know what to take from today in terms of where we stand, but the car feels pretty good. We tried a couple of different fuel-loads: on heavier fuel, the car feels okay through the high-speed changes of direction, although there are still some areas to improve - particularly in the long runs. The important thing for us is to get the car sorted and ready to challenge for victory."

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said that the pace was the result of some changes which were made with long-term development in mind.

"It's always encouraging to end the day fastest, and Jenson really underlined our pace by heading up both of today's free practice sessions," Whitmarsh said. "We've made a number of small changes to the cars for Japan and we're encouraged by the results - not just for this weekend, but as the foundation for development at future races."

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