Belgian F1 GP: McLaren's Button and Alonso resigned to lonely race

Jenson Button fears he and McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team-mate Fernando Alonso face a lonely battle with each other in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa

Belgian F1 GP: McLaren's Button and Alonso resigned to lonely race

Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai had suggested his company's upgraded engine would come close to matching Ferrari's power output.

Yet Button and Alonso qualified 17th and 18th at Spa-Francorchamps, with the former finishing a second adrift of Felipe Nasr's Ferrari-powered Sauber just ahead.

ANALYSIS: Why Honda's new engine is a letdown

With grid penalties to come for a double engine change, amassing a record-breaking but meaningless 105 places combined (Button 50, Alonso 55), the duo will start from the back row of the grid.

"Beating Fernando is probably the only positive," said Button.

"I felt I got everything out of the car, that it was as good as my qualifying lap in 2012 when I put it on pole, except I'm 17th and a few seconds off the pace.

"I actually enjoyed driving the car, and when you cross the finishing line and you see the time you think 'That's not bad'.

"But then when you see where you are, a second off the guy in front of you, it's a massive margin, it hurts.

"That's puzzling and disappointing, and shows there is a lot of work needed to close that gap, and a long way to go before we feel happy with the package we have.

"There's definitely more power with the engine at least, but you always want more than you see, and we're still a long way off."

As for the race, Button is not expecting to see too much action.

"It's not going to be easy to make up any ground," he said.

"The only people we are going to be able to overtake are the Manors, and the rest will be gone.

"It will be Fernando and myself battling it out, and I don't think we'll be seeing another car until they lap us.

"The challenging part will be driving around for 44 laps on our own. Hopefully we'll be able to keep each other company and make it a bit more fun."

Alonso is only concerned about trying to put mileage on the new power unit and hoping the team can learn from it.

"I need many things to happen tomorrow," said Alonso when asked if was considering a points finish.

"I talk before about rain, but probably we need more than the rain. We need a very chaotic race, let's say.

"But I think the target tomorrow cannot be the points to be honest. We have to be realistic, we are not competitive at all.

"The target tomorrow is to learn about the car and keep putting mileage."

shares
comments
Belgian F1 GP: Nico Rosberg not reassured over tyres after blowout

Previous article

Belgian F1 GP: Nico Rosberg not reassured over tyres after blowout

Next article

Belgian F1 GP: Sebastian Vettel admits 'costly' qualifying mistake

Belgian F1 GP: Sebastian Vettel admits 'costly' qualifying mistake
Load comments
Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021