• Spanish GP - FP2

Morning pace misleading - Button

ESPN Staff
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Jenson Button thinks McLaren still has work to do to challenge for a podium © Getty Images

Jenson Button does not believe second in FP1 is reflective of McLaren's true pace this weekend, and he fully expects to be in a battle with Williams and Force India.

Button's form in the morning session seemed to suggest a massive step forward from McLaren, which has failed to score a point for two consecutive races. In the afternoon McLaren dropped off and were comfortably behind Red Bull and Ferrari, and Button feels the temperature change between the two sessions played a key part in the sudden change in fortunes.

"We seem to have a very small temperature range to get the car working," Button said. "On the short runs and long runs we were struggling more. This morning we looked quicker than we were because of the temperatures and maybe fuel loads, we just have to work with the balance now on the long runs because I think we can make it a bit stronger.

"But when you look at the times in the afternoon we are sort of at the Williams and Force India base which is I think where were anyway. It was warmer this morning, but it's hotter temperatures now. Hot and cold temperatures don't work, there's only a small window that does when you're low on downforce."

Button feels Red Bull and Ferrari are too far ahead to be challenged by McLaren, and is much more concerned with being the quickest of the Mercedes customer teams in Spain.

"It isn't anything as good as it looked in FP1. FP2 was a little bit more realistic in terms of long run pace. Force India and Williams' pace is where we are and where we expected to be. There are big gaps between the top three teams and they are all a lot faster than us, which is a pity. I think there is more we can do with the car overnight with the long runs. The short runs are a little trickier."

Button says he has been around F1 long enough to know to take practice pace with a pinch of salt.

"We can improve the car a little bit more in the long runs to lift us and be as quick as the Williams, or maybe in front of them. The long runs are what you look at, that's where you score points. Testing is testing, it's amazing after 14 years I had a friend call me, who has been in motorsport all that time, who called me and said 'so, is it as good as it looked?' I just said, 'mate, come on, you know better than that!'"

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