July 27th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sergio Perez recovered from a crash in practice to set the ninth fastest time in qualifying for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix. In the other McLaren, Jenson Button struggled for balance during qualifying and consequently did not make it through to the final session. He will start the race 13th.
Right at the end of the final practice session, Sergio Perez lost the back-end of his McLaren on the way into turn 11. He hit the tyre barrier on the outside of the corner hard enough to do quite a bit of damage to the left side of the car. The McLaren mechanics had just two hours between sessions to repair the car so that he would be able to take part in qualifying. Although the repairs continued into the beginning of qualifying, Perez managed to take to the track with just five minutes left of Q1. He found enough speed to get into Q2 and then settled down and produced a strong lap to proceed to the top ten shootout.
Jenson Button could not quite find the speed that Perez displayed. Button explained his difficulties: “When we run fresh rubber, I can’t get enough front-end in the car – we’re maxed out – so I’m struggling. In a way, that’s a positive – because it means we’ve introduced downforce to the rear of the car." Button was referring to persistent understeer that is the result of upgrades to the rear of the car. It seems that McLaren must now focus on producing more front downforce to balance out the car and make it more driveable.
Nonetheless, Button was optimistic about the race. He said: “I’m sure we can still have fun tomorrow.”
McLaren have struggled all season, the best result for the team being fifth place for Button in China. But in Hungary, there is a noticeable improvement. Both drivers have commented that the car is better after some recent upgrades, which bodes well for McLaren's race result tomorrow. They are unlikely to challenge for victory, but a strong double points finish or perhaps a podium would be a welcome boost to the team.