Jenson Button explains McLaren-Honda's speed problem
McLarens around 18mph down on quickest cars through speed trap; Button highlights battery deployment as issue
By William Esler
Last Updated: 28/11/15 5:12pm
Jenson Button says McLaren are still being hindered by a lack of battery deployment from their Honda power unit.
Button and team-mate Fernando Alonso were the slowest cars through the speed trap in Abu Dhabi qualifying, around 18mph slower than the Williams of Valtteri Bottas who achieved the highest speed in the session.
With the energy recovery system providing around 20 per cent of the horsepower delivered by the engine, not being able to deploy that power from the battery is a major hindrance.
"A lot of our problems come from deployment," Button told Sky Sports F1.
"We are not 28kph slower on the straights, it is because we are cutting off the deployment on the straights even in qualifying and it makes it look worse than it is and obviously it costs us a lot of lap time."
Nevertheless, 12th equalled Button's best qualifying performance of the season, which had come on the non-power dependent streets of Monaco.
"We changed the car to where it should be overnight, we were trying some things and ideas for next year, but it lost me a lot of downforce which they realised," he added.
"So the car is sort of back to normal and the car feels the best around here it has all year which is always promising at the end of a season.
"But we are disappointed being 12th as we felt we could have got through to Q3 which would have been the first time this year. I think we were 0.18 off, but I didn't leave anything on the table. The feel of the car is good, the final sector is reasonably strong, the middle sector I was second to last so a lot of work to do in that area as we know."
But despite the positives of qualifying, Button believes it won't be long in Sunday's race until he slips back in the pack to join Alonso, who was 17th.
"It will be more painful than qualifying," Button said. "Nothing has changed in that respect, it is going to be a tricky one, I'm sure Fernando is going to the car behind me after a couple of laps, or rather I'll be the car in front of him."
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