• Malaysian Grand Prix - Qualifying

McLaren definitely improving - Button

ESPN Staff
March 23, 2013 « Sutil struggles with oversteer in the wet | Under-fire Whitmarsh soaks up blame for MP4-28 »
Jenson Button was 0.4s off the fastest time in a dry FP3 but couldn't repeat that in the wet qualifying session © Getty Images

Jenson Button says McLaren is more competitive in dry conditions than it expected to be going in to the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Having arrived in Australia last week well off the pace and struggling to ninth in the race, McLaren hoped the smoother track surface in Malaysia would help it make progress this weekend. However, having been competitive throughout FP3 and qualifying before rain came, Button eventually qualified seventh after a penalty for Kimi Raikkonen.

While the rest of Saturday had promised more than a spot on the fourth row, Button tried to keep the result in perspective as he said the rain had hindered rather than helped McLaren.

"I don't think we can expect any more; to be two tenths off the guy that won last weekend I don't think is too bad," Button said. "It's funny thought because these conditions seemed to really work for us up until this point. I think we're more competitive in the dry now than what we thought initially; we're still not quick but the guys have done a good job of getting everything out of the car at the moment. So I'm very pleased for them and I think having two cars in the top ten is great, but I couldn't find any grip on the inter."

Button also said he doesn't have a preference over weather conditions on Sunday, with the car now more competitive in race trim than a week ago.

"We'll deal with whatever comes at us. I'm much happier in terms of the long run pace than I was in Melbourne - I can see where I'm going which helps - but we're improving. It's one week on from a tough weekend for us and already I think we've made some small improvements here and there. The circuit does help with how smooth it is, but all in all I think we should be happy that we're moving forward.

"I think the positive thing is not the wet pace but the dry pace that we have now in qualifying and hopefully we can carry that through to the race."