HOCKENHEIM, Julio 18, 2014 (F1plus/Graham Keilloh).- While on the face of it the headline times in Hockenheim’s Friday practice looked very encouraging for McLaren, with Kevin Magnussen finishing up in P5 and Jenson Button P7, both drivers admitted afterwards that it was all a little illusory. With Hockenheim’s sky-high track temperatures the Woking cars struggled to keep the tyres in good working order for longer runs.
“If you look at the times you think ‘that looks quite good’ but the long runs we’re finding it very tough at the moment with overheating” said Button afterwards.
“It’s so difficult in this temperature, especially the supersoft tyre, we find it very difficult to get it working correctly, not overheat it.
“It’s tricky – we’ve just got to best out of what we’ve got. Our long runs are not looking that special…We’ve always struggled when it’s been very hot.”
Button also stated that nevertheless the supersoft will be the likely tyre to go with in qualifying. “As long as the supersoft doesn’t grain it’ll always going the much quicker tyre for one lap” he said. “It’s really hard to get a lap…when the tyre degrades so much, but in the race it’s even tougher.”
The Englishman also refused to be critical of Pirelli: “When they made the decision to bring the tyres I don’t think they expected it to be so hot this weekend, it’s a very difficult call, there’s only four different tyres that they can use. It’s tricky but it’s going to be tough tomorrow”.
Kevin Magnussen was less forthcoming on McLaren’s hopes for the weekend, but like Button was being cautious: “It’s (the temperature) the same for everyone. Can’t really explain it (McLaren’s good headline times), it’s practice, everyone’s running different fuel loads.
“The car feels good still, so that’s a positive, and with the higher temperatures I think we did an alright job getting the tyres working, especially the option, I think the tricky one is getting the prime tyres working in these conditions. Sunday could be different temperatures.
“I’m kind of just hoping for cooler conditions”.
Magnussen – having tried out a new and radical-looking rear wing today –was more positive however about the Woking team’s progress more generally. “We’re moving forward, just moving quite slowly, it’s going to take time to get back to the front. We’re showing signs of improving and that’s very positive.”