Button provides 'tough' answers to tyre riddle and finishes fastest

 

Circuit de Catalunya

If anything highlighted Formula One's peculiar tyre situation it was Jenson Button's experience yesterday in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. On Pirelli's hard compound prime tyre he struggled to be competitive; on the soft compound option tyre he was fastest.

"It was a good afternoon, but a tough one, trying to understand the tyres," the McLaren driver said after beating Bahrain winner Sebastian Vettel by 0.164sec. "On the hard tyre I just can't get the car working, I just can't get the temperature into the tyres. It's something we need to sort out for Sunday. There are a lot of quick cars out there, but, aerodynamically, I think we've got a strong one. We've just got to make sure that the four things touching the road are working properly for us too."

Pirelli have deliberately brought tyres here separated by two compounds, rather than the one-step difference that has been the case in the first four races. Thus they have hard and soft rather than hard and medium, or medium and soft or soft and supersoft. Button said the gap between the two was "massive." Yet team-mate Lewis Hamilton seemed quicker on the harder prime tyre than he was on the other option, as he set the fourth fastest time behind Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.

"I still smile, but it's not been a great day," Hamilton admitted after battling inconsistent handling. "We struggled a little bit with the set-up, but the upgrades have worked pretty well." These included a revised, higher nose to promote better airflow down the sides of the car and thus generate more downforce and grip.

"We are in the fight, at least, but we didn't really show it because we had a bit of an inconsistent set-up today, which means it's very difficult to pinpoint exactly what I need to change to make it better," Hamilton added. "But the car already feels better than it did in the last race and we are still trying to work on managing our tyres."

Local hero Fernando Alonso, fastest in the morning, was only 14th in the afternoon, three places adrift of Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa. "We tried to adapt the car set-up to the track conditions, but we are not yet completely satisfied," Alonso said. "Actually, it was a rather different Friday to usual, with the times even more mixed up than we have seen at the first four races this year. The tyres? No surprises for me."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee