July 5th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez are cautiously optimistic about their chances this weekend, after showing pace good enough for top ten positions during today's Free Practice sessions. Sergio Perez called today "our best Friday for a couple of races – partly because of the dry weather, but also because we got a useful amount of work under our belts."
Jenson Button finished both 90-minute sessions in the top ten - 7th in FP1 and 9th in FP2 - while Sergio Perez was 10th in FP1 and 14th in FP2. Both drivers were over a second off the front-running pace in each session.
The weekend began with a threat of a driver boycott in the event of tyre failures similar to those that occurred at Silverstone last weekend. The good news for Pirelli is so far the tyres have held up very well, so well in fact that Jenson Button praised Pirelli saying, "“The Pirelli tyres are working very well here; obviously, the Option has much more grip than the Prime. It seems that the idea behind the two compounds is to give us a qualifying tyre that doesn’t last long – the Option – and a race tyre – the Prime. It’s not a bad compromise, we just need to deal with the tyre not lasting too long on Sunday."
Button was optimistic of his chances of a competitive race: "We won’t be challenging the cars at the front this weekend, but it would be nice to be able to attack the teams who are normally immediately ahead of us.”
Perez set himself the more short-term aim of progressing to the final part of qualifying: “We’re still in the same situation as we were in last weekend – the potential of the car hasn’t changed dramatically – but I think we can fight tomorrow to get into Q3. That may still be hard, but that’s our target.”