July 6th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Jenson Button pulled out all the stops at the Nurburgring during today's qualifying session, and it paid off. The McLaren driver made it through to Q3 and will start the German Grand Prix ninth. His team-mate, Sergio Perez, was unable to match him and will start 13th on the grid.
It's been a tough season for McLaren. Button and Perez have been battling to get into the points on Sundays, rather than fighting for victories, which is what McLaren is more used to. But Button is finally in a position to challenge for a reasonable points finish, as he has the freedom to choose his race-start tyres after not completing a lap in the last part of qualifying. McLaren's race pace has been reasaonble at times in 2013, but they have certainly been hampered by difficulties in qualifying. A good start for Button in the race could set-up a strong f inish.
Perez is in a more difficult situation, starting 13th on the grid. He will have his work cut out to reach the points.
This is what the drivers had to say after qualifying:
Jenson Button: “My lap in Q2 was about as good as it’s going to get for us at the moment – in fact, it was one of the best laps I’ve done in a very long time. I don’t think I left anything out there, so I’m very happy about that.
“Strategically, it was a difficult decision for Q3: do we run the Option, the Prime, or do we not run at all? My heart said we should go out and set a time, whereas my head said we probably shouldn’t!
“Our pace suggested that qualifying sixth would have made it worthwhile [to go out and set a time on the Option], and we probably could have done that – but we chose not to complete a lap, playing a cat-and-mouse game with Nico [Hulkenberg].
“Nevertheless, starting ninth is not too bad – I’ll be on the clean side of the grid, and I have the freedom to choose my tyre compound, because I didn’t set a laptime this afternoon. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the Option tyre early on in the race, but I think we’ve put ourselves in the best possible position for tomorrow.”
Sergio Perez: “It hasn’t been the best day for us, and starting 13th wasn’t what I was hoping for.
“Jenson did a great lap, but I’ve struggled all weekend to match him – especially today, when I think we went a little bit in the wrong direction. This morning, we encountered some problems with the car; perhaps we over-compensated for that, going back on the set-up, getting understeer, and finding it quite difficult to get the tyres warmed up.
“This was a tough afternoon for me, but we can do better tomorrow. I didn’t get everything out of the car today, but it’s going to be very interesting to see how the tyres perform in the race.”