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Button Aiming Low after Poor Showing

Jenson Button says that he is already approaching the Bahrain Grand Prix as a damage limitation exercise after claiming that his BAR team do not have the pace this weekend to challenge at the front

The Briton, who is chasing his first points of the year, could manage no better than 12th place on the provisional grid - just one slot ahead of his returning teammate Takuma Sato.

And although the team's performance was hindered in part by the fact that Button and Sato had to go out early in the session when the track was at its dirtiest, they are well aware that the BAR 007 is still lacking in overall performance.

"The lap wasn't too bad but it was a bit off the pace really," said Button. "The car felt reasonably good, the balance wasn't too bad. It didn't help going out early in the session but we just didn't have the pace.

"Today we haven't been quick, we haven't been slow either. I thought we lost a few tenths going out first. It never helps going out early, especially with how strong the wind was, but Pedro de la Rosa is still ahead of us and he went out before us.

"If we knew how to make the car quicker we would have done it. There are people very close to me in front, Massa and Ralf, so there's a possibility of getting ahead of a couple of people in final qualifying but that's it."

Teammate Takuma Sato added: "It was a bit difficult to achieve good stability because we were one of the early runners on a dusty track, and because of the wind, especially when I was braking under the tail wind.  It is also incredibly hot out there!

"The balance was much better today and obviously I achieved a lot more running than yesterday, so I am happier in the car and looking forward to tomorrow's final session and then a stronger race."

With the team hoping to introduce major new aerodynamic parts for the San Marino Grand Prix, it is clear that the focus has switched to ensuring that both cars finish in a decent enough position in Bahrain to capitalise on their qualifying slots at Imola.

Button said: "Really we just want to finish a race to be honest and get reasonably near the front for qualifying at Imola, where we have some new parts. It's just about getting a reasonable finish so we can get to the front and do some good qualifying.

"We have to wait and see for the race but in practice it's been reasonable but I don't think we are as quick as we were in Malaysia."

The focus on getting to the finish of the race was echoed by technical director Geoff Willis. He said: "Given our early qualifying slots, our result today was much as we expected. We have not been as happy with the car's handling here as we were at Malaysia, so during this morning's running we ran through a busy programme of set-up changes on both cars.

"The important thing for us this weekend is to get a good race finish, so we have concentrated on getting a consistent balance for the race tomorrow."

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