Jenson Button had to try hard to hide his frustration after a disastrous day for McLaren in Melbourne.
The MP4-28 proved to have some fundamental problems, notably with ride quality, which left the former champion some 2.3s off the pace in 11th place in FP2. Team mate Sergio Perez was over 0.2s slower in 13th.
“It’s going to be a long night, we’ve got to find a way the car working,” said Button.
“I think a racing driver will always say they want more grip, they want more downforce, it’s always the way. There are a few other issues that we need to solve before we start worrying about that, and one of them is definitely ride.
“It’s something we’ve been struggling with today, the front and rear of the car. We’ve been working with a lot today to try and improve it, we haven’t found something that’s helped yet.
“The ride is so important with an F1 car, if the car is moving around a lot, the downforce is not necessarily working in the correct manner. We’ve got to get the ride sorted.
“I don’t think [my expectations] were massively high coming here. After testing the car in Barcelona I felt we had a reasonable set-up, but there was a big gap to the front guys in terms of lap time. I think we can see that gap today, it’s probably a little bit better than what we expected, but I don’t think we’ve done the best job yet.”
Button admitted that getting a reasonable helping of points would be a bonus.
“The way things have gone today, I think points will be very positive. When things aren’t going your way it’s important to get the best out of what you have. At the moment that’s what it feels like, but we have just got out of the car. There’s a lot of work to do tonight.
“It’s always tough for a racing driver, you’re always emotional when you step out of the racing car. But tomorrow morning I’ll be a lot more sprightly after going through the data and hopefully finding something.
“We’ve got to go through the data and make sure the car is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, and make sure the set-up is where we think the set-up is.”
He also made an intriguing admission about the car’s pace on Day One of testing in Jerez: “We had a set-up we didn’t think we had. It wasn’t one we could work with.”