October 5th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Both McLaren drivers failed to progress to Q3 during qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix. Sergio Perez set the 11th fastest time in Q2 with Jenson Button 12th fastest, but they will start 10th and 11th respectively due to a 10-place grid penalty for Mark Webber who qualified third
Perez and Button were separated by just 3 thousandths of a second in Q2, but interestingly they had quite different reactions to their near-identical performances. Perez was satisfied that he had achieved the maximum possible with the car he had, whereas Button felt that he was held up by Kimi Raikkonen on his quickest lap, and could otherwise have made the top ten.
Perez said of his qualifying performance: “My fastest lap wasn’t too bad – I had a small lock-up at Turn 15, but I don’t think it cost me too much laptime. So, what we have is pretty much everything that we could have achieved today."
Button was unhappy to have lost time passing Raikkonen, although the onboard footage from Button's car did not suggest that Raikkonen had got in the way at all. Button said, "On my fastest lap, I lost a tenth and a half behind Kimi [Raikkonen] in Turns 11 and 12. It’s quite frustrating: they’re pretty quick corners, and, when you’re that close to the car in front, it damages your lap. It’s difficult – because most of those corners are blind – but we’ve all got radios, so we should all know where other drivers are.
“It’s a pity: without that delay, I’m pretty sure I would’ve qualified inside the top 10."
Both McLaren drivers expressed optimism about their chances in the race, and made reference to their setup choices that have been biased towards overtaking this weekend.
Button continued, “Still, there are positives for tomorrow – we’ve got new tyres for the race; Turns One, Three and Four are always very interesting on the first lap; and we’ve got interesting straightline-speed compared to our rivals – both in terms of ratios and downforce levels – so the first couple of laps should be really interesting for us."
Perez was a bit more specific about the setup choices that could help the two McLarens to move forward in the race: “We’ve developed a useful set-up for tomorrow afternoon, and we’ve also fitted a seventh gear that’s long enough to hopefully enable us to do some overtaking. That means I’m looking forward to an exciting race."