Sam Michael: “I don’t want to predict anything…”

McLaren sporting director Sam Michael says that the Hungarian GP indicated that the team is making progress – and adds that the race could have been better had the team been able run its preferred strategy.

Jenson Button finished seventh after running ahead of top three qualifiers Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean before his late first stop, while Sergio Perez overcame a bad first lap to take ninth. Both men started on the prime tyre and stopped only twice.

“It was good, but I think it could have been a lot stronger if we’d been able to run our strategy and run a three-stop, Michael told this writer. “We couldn’t run a three-stop because of traffic, whereas some of the front guys could. They just happened to sneak into the right windows to do the lap times.

“If we’d tried to do it, we would have dropped into traffic, and we wouldn’t have been able to pursue it. We stuck to a two-stop, but I think as the heat went up it looked like it would have been better to do three, because we would have had to save the tyres a lot less – we had to do a lot of tyre saving.

“So, positive signs, but seventh and ninth is still not where we need to be. We’re doing the right things, but we’re not there yet, there’s still a long way to go. We want to be back at the front soon.”

Jenson Button has made it clear that he’s optimistic about Spa, and Michael agrees.

“You can run your own strategy, because you can overtake easily. As soon as you get to tracks where you can overtake you can then just run to optimum performance, and you get a better picture of where you are then.

“I think there are signs that it will be more positive in the upcoming races, but I don’t want to predict anything. We’re not where we need to be. We’ll just keep our heads down and wait until we’re back up there.”

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