McLaren drivers set to focus on race
6 September 2013 – McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Pérez have suggested that they will focus their efforts on an improved race day set-up and strategy, as opposed to an optimal qualifying performance, following the first day of practice for the Italian Grand Prix.
After rounding out the top ten positions in Friday afternoon's session at the Monza circuit, both men alluded to qualifying being less important than at other venues, with overtaking opportunities common if suitable gear ratios and wing levels are chosen.
"FP1 was actually better for us than FP2, when we weren’t quite as competitive," explained Button, who edged out his team-mate by 0.095 seconds. "We changed quite a bit between the sessions today, and we think we know what works and what doesn’t. It was a positive day in terms of understanding the car.
"There are a lot of cars only narrowly ahead of us – it’s extremely close out there. So we’re going to work as hard as we can overnight. Having said that, we know that the race will be more important than qualifying."
"We need to make the right call for Sunday," added Pérez. "In fact, as Jenson says, I don’t really feel that qualifying will be quite as important as it usually is; the key for us will be to engineer ourselves a good set-up, with a good strategy, for Sunday.
"So, in actual fact, we’ll spend more time thinking about the race on Sunday, and not so much looking at qualifying tomorrow. I’m not even too focused on getting into Q3, because I know our main aim will be about how we manage everything on Sunday."
McLaren heads into the Monza weekend battling with Force India for fifth in the Constructors' standings; at present, the Woking-based outfit leads by four points.