McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez say they are encouraged after an improved qualifying performance in Malaysia.
Button set the eighth fastest time in Q3 while Perez was a couple of places further back in tenth.
“I don’t think we can really expect to qualify any better than P8 right now – but, having said that, to be just two-tenths off the guy who won last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix [Kimi Raikkonen] in Q3 can’t be too bad,” said Button.
Button also believes that in spite of McLaren appearing to prefer wet weather, the MP4-28 was more competitive in dry conditions.
“Q3 was wet today, of course, but during Q1 and the first half of Q2 it appeared that perhaps we’re now a little more competitive in the dry than we were this time last weekend. We’re still not quick, but the guys are doing a fantastic job to get everything they can out of our car.”
“As for tomorrow’s race, well, when you’ve got a quick car, you never want it to rain. When you’ve got a less quick car, you do want it to rain. Today, though, we didn’t have great pace on the Intermediates [tyres] in Q3, when it was raining, so all I’ll say is that as always we’ll battle hard and see what the race brings.”
Perez was tenth in all three sessions.
“Considering how our car was behaving at Albert Park just a week ago, I guess you could say that was an encouraging qualifying session,” said the Mexican.
“Jenson and I both got into Q3, which was a relief, but obviously we know we’ve still got a long way to go in terms of car development. Having said that, I can see how hard the team is working to improve our car, and it’s a really good feeling to be a part of that.”
“It often rains in the late afternoon here in Sepang, so I guess tomorrow’s race may well be affected by wet conditions, given that it’s scheduled to start at 4.00pm.”