March 22nd, 2013 (F1plus/ Sean Collins).- As McLaren recruit Mexican Sergio Perez to replace the departed Hamilton, things were looking good with 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button alongside. However it has not been plain sailing for them as a lacklustre 2 points in Australia. Perez only qualified 15th and Jenson Button 10th. Button and Perez knew McLaren were in trouble coming into the first race of the season, but no one would have predicted it would be this bad.
Rumours quickly spread around the paddock that McLaren would revert back to their highly successful, but a lot of the time unreliable 2012 car. However, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh quickly abolished such rumours and said that the Woking based team's full attention was on the MP4-28.
Coming into round 2, Malaysia, Perez and Button simply said they would not be in contention for the victory and after Free Practice's 1 and 2, a lot of people would back them up. But, what Jenson Button said on Thursday, about looking back at Alonso's 2012 performance, that's proof that the Woking based team can bounce back from their horror start to the season, we'll just have to wait and see.
“On a dry track it feels better than it did in Melbourne, but even then its pace still isn’t there compared with that of the front-running cars.” Button said in reference to today’s session.
One positive that both McLaren and Jenson Button can take away from Practice 2 is the fact that, when Button went onto the intermediates after rain fall in the last quarter of an hour, he was one of, if not the fastest car out, so if there is rain on Sunday, and many predict there will be, McLaren may be strong, but everyone has got to remember, this is only practice.
However, with only 1 hour of practice left before qualifying, McLaren really are on the back foot and need to find something fast before they are to fall too far behind the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus. It's going to interesting to see what McLaren can do!