A perplexed Jenson Button said that he was frustrated by McLaren’s pace deficit after a promising practice session.
Button was sixth quickest in final practice but could set only the 13th fastest time in qualifying.
“Today was a puzzling session,” he said. “I think we struggled to get the tyres working because of the cooler temperatures – I had to take so much rear wing off to try to help balance the car, but it wasn’t enough.”
“We were maxed-out on the front wing, too. There wasn’t anything else I could have done with the car to help the front end, since we were already running very low downforce on the rear – as could be seen by our straightline speeds.”
“It’s quite frustrating, because in FP3 this afternoon we looked really promising – sixth-quickest – and the car felt very good.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez progressed through to Q3 and will start from ninth place.
“The car felt great today. If we’d found a couple of extra hundredths, we might even have been seventh – it was achievable,” he said.
“It was important to stay calm after a disappointing FP3. I think we’ve made the right steps forward for the race, particularly as we knew how much the track would change from the afternoon into the evening – we reacted well.”
“Overall, it’s been a weekend of improvement for the team, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”