Jenson Button played down the significance of his rapid lap on the first day of testing which saw him lead the field by eight tenths of a second.
“To be fair I was surprised when I saw it on the dash, but it doesn’t mean anything,” he told media in Jerez. “I think some people run less fuel than others, some people run a lot more fuel than others, so who knows.”
“Lap times mean nothing right now,” he added. “They don’t even mean anything in the last test”.
“It’s when you get to the first race, you’ll have a very different car then as every team will and that’s where we really need to show how quick we are.”
The first test of the year got off to a poor start for McLaren: “It’s been pretty mixed today,” said Button.
“First day of testing there’s so much excitement within the team, the paddock. For us it was very short-lived, doing three laps this morning and having the fuel pump issue.
“It’s never what you want at the start of the test, but better to have it at the start I guess than the end of a test so we can solve the issue.
“Got out this afternoon and did basic work – brake work, flow-vis for the aero testing. And then we were able to do som runs. Not long runs, not short runs either, on different tyres to just get a feel for the car and tweak things here and there in terms of feel.
“In terms of the feel of the car it’s a nice starting point but the not the mileage that we obviously hoped for the first day of testing,” he concluded.
Button added he was pleased with how well the real MP4-28 corresponded to the version he had driven in the team’s simulator. And he was also happy with how the revised Pirelli tyres felt:
“We were able to get the tyres working on lap one. I think that’s good to see. We always struggle here in the winter, I think every team did.
“I think for all the teams going into the season it’s nicer to know that they can concentrate on their cars and developing their cars in a direction rather than trying to work out why the tyres are not working and why they’re on a knife’s edge.”
He said the new specification tyre is quicker: “but the problem is, for how long?”
“As we saw today there’s a lot of degradation, a lot of people are struggling with graining and I don’t think it’s what we normally see in terms of rear graining, it’s a lot of front graining, and that’s such a difficult thing to get rid of.”
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