Friday, March 25, 2011

Button blows away the blues

JENSON BUTTON banished McLaren's winter blues by setting the fastest time in Formula One's first practice session of the 2011 season.

Team-mate Lewis Hamilton was second to complete a hugely encouraging day for the British superteam at the Australian Grand Prix meeting.

McLaren's performance was a shock following a pre-season dogged by a lack of pace and reliability issues.
But Button was not getting carried away ahead of qualifying in Melbourne.

He said: "It's great we have reliability — that's something we haven't had in the winter.

"It was a positive day because we've been able to do so much running and get a good feel for the car in many different fuel loads.

"But I still see no use in looking at the times. People are doing different things and there are so many variables now with KERS and rear wings and what have you."

Hamilton admitted his car showed "a bit of an improvement from testing".

But he added: "We were just focusing on our programme and I have no idea what the others are doing.
"We will have to wait and see if we are as competitive as the others tomorrow."

The sentiment was echoed by third fastest man Fernando Alonso.

The Ferrari star said: "The free practice sessions have not actually revealed the real relative strengths of the teams.

"There are so many teams who could be in with a chance of going for the win."

The highly-fancied Red Bulls of world champ Sebastian Vettel and home favourite Mark Webber were fourth and fifth, with Michael Schumacher showing his hand in sixth place.


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