F1 prac­tice: But­ton blames car set-up for bal­ance prob­lems

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

BARCELONA — Jen­son But­ton ad­mit­ted that he was hav­ing trou­ble with the rear-end bal­ance of his car dur­ing yes­ter­day’s prac­tice ses­sions for to­mor­row’s Span­ish Grand Prix.

The 30-year-old McLaren driver was fourth quick­est on the open­ing day at the Cir­cuit de Catalunya — 0,7 sec­onds adrift of pace­set­ter Aus­tralian Mark Web­ber of Red Bull.

But­ton blamed his car’s cur­rent set-up, and ad­mit­ted that he cur­rently had no chance of chal­leng­ing Web­ber, or match­ing the pace of his McLaren team-mate and fel­low Bri­ton Lewis Hamil­ton, who was sec­ond fastest.

“I’m not par­tic­u­larly happy with the bal­ance of the car at the mo­ment,” said But­ton, “I’m re­ally strug- gling with the rear end it’s pretty un­pre­dictable.

“If I look at what Lewis is do­ing, I just don’t have the bal­ance and I’m a lit­tle way off at the mo­ment. There’s a bit more pace in the car, we’ve just got to un­leash it and get a bal­ance that I like.”

De­spite yes­ter­day’s re­sults in­di­cat­ing that McLaren’s lat­est up­dates had helped close the gap to the high­fly­ing Red Bulls, But­ton sug­gested that there was more to come from the Mil­ton Keynes-based team.

He said: “We all hope, but I can’t see any­thing yet — they’re never that quick on a Fri­day.

“I was quick­est on Fri­day at the last race, so it’s ac­tu­ally that they’ve got quicker.

“To­mor­row they’ll show their true pace and I’m guess­ing they’re go­ing to have half-a-sec­ond on ev­ery­one.”

De­spite fin­ish­ing within 0,04 sec- onds off Web­ber’s time, Hamil­ton, cham­pion in 2008, also ex­pects Red Bull to have more per­for­mance up their sleeve.

He said: “I think we are just as com­pet­i­tive as we have been in the past, but that doesn’t mean that we are ac­tu­ally close to them.

“We’ll wait and see to­mor­row. It de­pends on what their en­gine mode is on and all those kind of things. We don’t know. We might have a lit­tle bit in the bag, they might have a lit­tle bit in the bag. We wait and see.”

— Sapa-AFP. Times from yes­ter­day’s sec­ond free prac­tice: 1. Mark Web­ber (AUS) Red Bull 1:22.470, 2. Lewis Hamil­ton (GBR) McLaren 1:22.509, 3. Se­bas­tian Vet­tel (GER) Red Bull 1:22.826, 4. Jen­son But­ton (GBR) McLaren 1:23.188, 5. Fer­nando Alonso (ESP) Fer­rari 1:23.568, 6. Nico Ros­berg (GER) Mercedes GP 1:23.586, 7. Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP 1:23.981, 8. Felipe Massa (BRA) Fer­rari

PHOTO: GETTY

Jen­son But­ton was not happy with the bal­ance of his McLaren dur­ing yes­ter­day’s free prac­tice session and will ex­pect more ahead of to­mor­row’s Span­ish Grand Prix.

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