Button struggles during qualifying

Posted on

| Written by

McLaren has struggled during qualifying for the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix, with Jenson Button failing to make into the top ten.

This is the third time Button has failed to make it into Q3 this season, having qualified 14th for the British Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton qualified fifth, but was almost two seconds slower than pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel.

Talking to the BBC, Button said, "In the morning the car was well balanced but in the afternoon, I just didn’t have the grip."

"We are on the clean side of the track. We can hopefully fight from there."

Lewis Hamilton and Button have publicly criticised the McLaren‘s pace in qualifying. Hamilton said: “We are massively down. It’s about scoring what points we can and hoping those ahead have trouble.”

Earlier this week Ron Dennis commented on the team’s qualifying pace:

“No question, we don’t have an optimised car for qualifying. But we do have a very good race car.

"And in the end we’ve won races and we’re leading both world championships, and both of our drivers are first and second.

"So I find it slightly infuriating, and I’ve voiced my opinion, when my guys get out of the cars and say, ‘I wish I was on the front row’ and build in the media the perception that we are giving them cars that are less capable of winning races."
Ron Dennis

McLaren has won the last three races at the Hungaroring.

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix

    Browse all 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix articles

    41 comments on “Button struggles during qualifying”

    1. Well, Dennis might find it infuriating, but even if the Red Bull advantage is about half a second less in the race, that means they still lag by a second to Red Bull and about half a second to Ferrari, so they need to make their car quite a bit quicker, rather quickly, to be able to hang on, or their lead in the WDC and WCC will start to melt away.

    2. it’s the 3rd time Button couldn’t reach Q3: he spun off at Q1 in Malaysia

      1. Of course. Thanks for the heads up.

        1. i think Button is definitely now a number 2.

          1. I think this year is still a learning year for Button. Quotes like “where is he finding that time?” aren’t just down to him being a lower tier driver than Hamilton. At times this year, he’s outqualified Lewis. Their race pace is generally pretty identical. When the car has trouble, he can’t get as much out of it as Lewis – but everyone knew that about him to start with. I think McLaren also haven’t had to deal with a driver as particular as Jenson for a while – Heikki is not the sort of guy to throw his toys out of the pram, and Lewis will drive around problems rather than demand they be fixed to the nth degree.

            I would be very surprised if Jenson doesn’t finish #2 to Lewis this year – he’s got too used to being beaten, and isn’t fighting hard enough to get up where he needs to be – exactly what happened mid-season last year.

            Next year, I’d hope for better. But I still wouldn’t rank him a 2nd tier driver.

        2. LOL i wrote that because i thought it said “it’s now the second time Button failed to make it to Q3”

    3. @Ron Dennis: Fact is ,mate, in F1, a pole position means a lot…

      Of course, only on Sundays you score points… but what Dennis want? his drivers to qualy 4th and 5th and saying: “you know what? i feel starting 5th gives me a bigger chance of winning!”

      1. “From pole you can only go backwards, not gain a position, so I don’t want pole?” maybe :-p

      2. Besides, McLaren have been lucky that Red Bull have been so poorly in team strategy and reliablility. Otherwise they would be well in the lead at the moment.

        Same goes for for Ferrari.

        Dennis should praise his drivers that they managed to extract so many points from what’s essentially the third car on the grid. (apart from Spain, Turkey and Canada where they looked more like the second and first car, but that’s more an exception)

        1. Could not agree more.

        2. i think Ron is having a hard time not being an integral part of the team anymore. Withmarsh does the management in a different style. They tell us if their not satisfied and mostly continue saying what they will try to improve on in the race/next race etc.

          Under Ron the team always told us “we have the beter race strategy” even when they put Raikkonnen on only 10 laps of fuel (fuelrig problem) in Germany a few years back.

          1. Ron lost a little sense of reality there. It reminds me of the time he thought he will be winning races with the Mclaren Peugeot.

    4. Button will find a way to get into the points, I’m sure.

      1. Yes, he only needs one position gain for that, so he can probably do that – but he needs to be in the medium points positions to stay on course in the WDC, and that is difficult in a dry race from 11th. He is about a second faster, potentially, than people ahead of him if he can match Hamilton in race, but it really depends on a very good start for him.

      2. Yeah, Petrov and Hulkenberg tend to have poor race performances and De la Rosa doesn’t finish that often.

        I would guess that Button finished right behind Hamilton again. Maybe at a 30 to 40 second gap again, but only one (or two) place behind him anyway.

        1. You’re right. Button will easily get passed all them and probably end up just behind Lewis again.

          He’ll save his tyres better or something and get passed in the stops.

          1. I wouldn’t use the word easily so easily myself…
            I dunno, I reckon by the end of the race Button will be in the points, but I can’t see him pushing through the field early in the race, and the rookies could give him a headache, especially Petrov as I suspect the Renault is now a very good car.

    5. Difficult to tell if its just the RBR-Ferrari flexiwing and a track unsuited to this car, allowing Renault and Williams to snap at their heels, or McLaren really are failing to develop quickly enough. I think they need a bit more aggression. Dithering over whether to challenge the flexiwing or develop their own just seems too amiable.

      And again I think it’s a case of Hamilton putting an unimpressive car higher up the grid, not Button qualifying (that) badly.

      1. A simple “Charlie is it legal” “Yes/No”
        And an email to all the fixed wing team bosses, lets all ask Charlie together?

        1. Well they’ve got to do one or the other… challenge and develop?! I think the relaxed approach at McLaren has worked well in the first half of the season, but they need a touch of the old Dennis ruthlessness, maybe, to be competitive in the remainder, partly as Ferrari have already focused on one driver, and I imagine RBR will be doing so very shortly.

    6. Someone needs to tell Jenson he’s got the same car as Lewis.

    7. Stop moaning Button…. please god.

      1. I’m waiting to hear his new excuses. For once I would like to hear him say that he is just not quick enough. Hamilton, on the other hand, is doing a phenomenal job, and I just do not see Button reducing Hamilton’s point lead.

        1. He keeps moaning at Red Bull being too fast. If he just got on with it and beat his team mate, he’d be leading the championship right now.

        2. Jake said Button was telling them outside of the camera that he was like: “Wow! Where did Lewis get that time from”…. I think he now realising his limits to Lewis’ talent :)

          1. Agree. I think his 2009 WDC gave him the false hope that he actually is a top tier driver. I honestly think he has driven the best he could all season, but, if you don’t have the talent, what are you going to do???

            1. I think Jenson has been pretty forthcoming when he hasn’t been able to match Lewis’ speed e.g. at Canada quali.

            2. I think deep down Jenson must know it’s a tough call to match Lewis in qualifying consistantly. In the races it’s a different matter, but it’s much harder to beat your team mate when he’s often a couple of rows ahead of you.

          2. I think Jenson is loosing too much grip between P03 and qualifying to0 much times, and i (and he) don’t understand why….

            Are the Mclarens playing the 2007 games now with Button?

            Of course, this is not team orders, but sabotage?


    8. I keep thinking about getting rid of that blown diffuser!

      1. Same actually,

        People are saying the car clearly isn’t good enough, others say Button isn’t a top tier driver. The fact Button is second in the title (at this date) to a team mate who has an identical weak car shows just how good Button is, and how good Lewis are. They are beating rivals while driving a slower car.

        1. They would be 2sec off the pace then

    9. Strategy for button tomorrow: hard tyres to start with and stay out as long as possible hopeing for rain.

    10. If I was Whitmarsh I think I’d be asking Dennis to stop commenting about the race team as he’s not involved any more. Imagine how unhappy Dennis would be if Wihtmarsh commented on the road car project.

    11. IF only RD (Ron Dennis) could visit the team more on Sundays. When he does turn up – purely on McLaren road car business honest!!! – the MP4 seems to perform.
      He is a good omen, when he visits the paddock, it seems 2 kick Whitmarsh up the bum and the MP4 starts 2 work!!!

    12. Let’s see the rain; Button’s strategies in the rain often play out for him, he might even end up on the podium. Another great racer in the rain is Rubens Barrichello, so he might give Williams some big points tomorrow.

    13. I saw that interview with whitmarsh as well and I must say I’m astonished he reckons there were another 2 tenths available. Lewis was saying that he eeked every last thousand out of the car….if there were 2 more tenths , well that makes Buttons set up even worse. Having said that Button was questioning where all Hamiltons pace had come from in respect to his pace..I had the impression Button himself didnt think it was ALL down to his poor set up. The fact is the red bull were in a league of their own. I’m hoping Alonso can do something tomorrow or it might pan out to be a very boring race…hope not!

    14. From McLaren live commentary, Lewis’ best Q3 lap.


    15. That difuser needs to go ASAP. I think they’d be atleast on Ferrari’s pace if they had just trusted their own design. Copying clearly doesn’t work for everyone.
      I hope its gone in time for spa. They couldn’t possibly get any slower.

    16. Actually, the diffuser needs to go period. It’s so big that it stops working when the car rides high, and that’s forcing them to spring the thing stiff so the ride height doesn’t change much, and that just eliminates all of their mechanical grip advantages.

    17. What i find amazing mclaren have one of the biggest budgets in f1 if not THE biggest,looking at what brawn did last year on no money,serious questions have to be asked about this car.

    Comments are closed.