Button targets Q3 after third-fastest time

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Jenson Button says McLaren have to aim to reach the final phase of qualifying tomorrow after posting the third-quickest time in the second practice session today.

“I think when you’re third in FP2 and it’s not because of changeable conditions or anything, you’ve got to be thinking about getting into Q3,” said Button. “It has to be the aim.”

McLaren didn’t reach Q3 during any of last year’s races. The challenge of reaching the final round has increased this year as only eight cars progress from Q2.

Button says his car’s balance is “definitely better than Melbourne” after McLaren’s latest upgrade package arrived in Bahrain.

“Today was good,” he said, “FP1 and FP2 were both competitive and it’s nice to have a car that feels good beneath me, one we can really work with and see good gains.”

“It was only practice today, but it was a lot more fun than normal. High-fuel runs weren’t too bad either – overall it’s been a positive day.”

However he sounded a note of caution about McLaren’s rivals. “There’s still a lot of work to do tomorrow on long runs, especially on the harder compounds, when I’m sure the other cars will be more competitive tomorrow,” he said.

“But, we were third quickest today, and that’s a positive. There are certain areas where we need to improve, and I think we still can improve. We have to do a good job as a team tomorrow and make sure we don’t make any mistakes.”

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    26 comments on “Button targets Q3 after third-fastest time”

    1. I think any team should aim for P5. Ferrari and Mercedes look plenty ahead. Then there is the next group of four being Williams and Red Bull. Of the remaining cars the STR or Force India seem the strongest.

    2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      1st April 2016, 21:32

      Alonso should take his car by force now, that guy is really unlucky!! Just when the car starts to show some progress and he has two miss one, maybe two races.

      1. Apex Assassin
        1st April 2016, 22:02

        It was one lap.

        1. Why do people always inject negativity when something positive is being talk about.

          1. I am really very positively surprised of how well Vandoorned qualified today ahead of the highly paid WDC teammate he has. =8-!

            1. Button is overrated, particularly in certain quarters.
              He is an average driver, but lacks the edge that a really top driver needs – he is often quite comfortable to just coast to the finish line.

    3. Apex Assassin
      1st April 2016, 22:02

      Anyone have the speed trap data?

      Very curious to see where McLaren are on the straights!


        1. Thanks for the link to the data……although its took a while, this Honda donkey is starting to show real promise

        2. any data from the actual speed trap at the end of the straight? these values are not really significant of the actual top speed

          1. Maybe not, but they do show that the McLaren is sitting in a good position. In practice anyway.

    4. Along comes maclarens whizz kid Vandoorne, and all of a sudden Button hits p3 in practice. Well played

      1. Well, Vandoorne’s true pace was a bit concealed – his second and third sector together on his supersoft hot lap were only 0.026s off of Button’s. Braking problems cost Vandoorne the entire gap in S1.

      2. I’ve seen similar comments on a couple of forums and I’m not really sure what people are getting at – he may be a “wonder kid”, but Jenson is usually partnered with Fernando Alonso… Do you think he’s just cruising the rest of the season then and it takes a rookie, rather than a 2x WDC to bring the best out of him? If that were the case, it wouldn’t say much for Alonso either would it?

        1. @danb

          +1 well said.

          It leaves me shaking my head when people so casually talk about SVd coming in and stomping on Button and that Button should just retire already.

          1. yeah agree, I read in the press that JB’s press conference was strained, no surprise really with everyone asking him about Vandoorne and almost stating that he was about to get whipped and replaced. The guy is continuously underestimated and should be given a bit of respect for his ability, achievements etc. he held his own against Hamilton and has done so against Alonso, sure Vandoorne is a great prospect but there is also a good reason why he didn’t replace Button this year. If (and its a very big if) this is truly Mclarens pace this weekend then with a decent strategy and necessary reliability Button will bring home a hatful of points and given his race craft could bag a podium.

        2. @danb Lot of people really underrated Button. They still think his WDC is because double diffuser and the car, while actually compared to 3 Vettel WDC and 2 Hamilton WDC after him, he probably have the least dominating car.

          1. @@sonicslv

            I’d say 2 of Vettel WDCs (2011 and 2013). The RB6 was a great car and would have dominated if it wasn’t so prone to failing (Bahrain, Australia, Korea) come to mind off the top of my head.

        3. It’s unfair to judge Vandoorne. The worst debut an f1 driver can have is like Stoffel’s. No testing at all.

          1. Guybrush Threepwood
            2nd April 2016, 9:16

            +1. He shouldn’t even get close to Button really.

            1. Will fans of the McLaren dinosaurs reconsider after the race result today?

    5. Kurt (@dangerpaws)
      2nd April 2016, 0:55

      Q3 would be great! Go get ’em McLaren!!

      1. Yep, go go go!

    6. Regardless of any SV effect, this is a clear and obvious sign of progress for McLaren.

    7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      2nd April 2016, 15:05

      If Bernie wants to make qualifying more interesting, he should add another dimension to the sport. They do a lap and then the drivers come out of the car sprint for 200 meters and then go into an American Ninja Warrior course with all kinds of challenges. If they are eliminated, the team principal takes over (for entertainment) and they attempt to throw a pie in Ecclestone’s face – if they succeed they get double points. All the results are tallied and positions are determined using a formula. That’s a format that we’ll all remember and it will be more fun than anything we’ve watched before.

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