October 4th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - McLaren took plenty of positives away from Friday practice in Korea, where Jenson Button featured in the top ten in both sessions, while Perez was 9th fastest in FP1 but slipped to 12th in FP2. Button's pace in FP1 suggests that he could possibly find himself fighting with Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in Sunday's race.
Button was fifth fastest in FP1, just under six tenths of a second slower than pace-setter Lewis Hamilton and showing strong pace on the medium compound prime tyre. When the option tyres were used in FP2, the gap to the front increased to a second, but Button was still in the top ten in the session.
This is what Button had to say after Friday practice:
“The circuit is always very tricky, particularly at the start of the weekend; I don’t think it’s used at any other time of the year so it’s always very slippery in first practice.
“However, I think our afternoon session was a little more representative of our overall pace. We got some reasonable mileage under our belts and, even though I didn’t get the best from the Supersoft tyre on my fastest lap, I think we’ve begun to understand the characteristics of each tyre pretty well.
“In terms of performance, I think we might be a little bit closer to the Lotuses than we’ve been for the last couple of races – but let’s see what tomorrow brings.
“Also during FP2, my mechanics needed to effect a quick fix to a brake adjuster switch inside my cockpit – the lever was adjusting itself under braking, so we had to tape it still. It had a very minor impact on my running.”
Sergio Perez was not quite as enthusiastic as Button about the pace of his McLaren, but did mention the possibility of adverse weather, which is forecast for Sunday's race. In the rain, anything could happen and McLaren will be hoping to take advantage of the weather to score good points and potentially stand on the podium for the first time this season.
Perez said after Friday running:
“We completed everything that was on our list for today – including getting some useful laps on high fuel, which was very important.
“We still have quite a lot of work to do to optimise the car’s set-up when running the Prime on high fuel, and work to make the Option perform to its maximum on low fuel, so it’s going to be a tricky balancing act – but we’re looking forward to it.
“Overall, I think we’re in a similar position to where we were at the last race in Singapore: if we can get into the points, it’ll be a good result for us.
“The anticipated wet weather might help us out, too.”