Button says Suzuka 'very negative' for McLaren after bad qualifying

Jenson Button believes Suzuka is one of the worst circuits on the Formula 1 calendar for McLaren because of the Japanese Grand Prix venue's high-speed layout

Button says Suzuka 'very negative' for McLaren after bad qualifying

Button was eliminated in the first part of qualifying on Saturday, with team-mate Fernando Alonso just one place ahead of him in that session before going on to qualify 15th.

"That's just where the car is round here," said Button.

"Every corner, the mid-speed, high-speed, change of direction, the long Turn 7, it's all very negative for us in terms of what our car is good at.

"This is never going to be a good circuit for us.

"It's got long straights without heavy braking and low-speed corners - we're very strong at that but not in the corners where it's high speed.

"It's a tough weekend, probably a little worse than we expected, but as a team we're not massively quick.

"I'm pretty happy with my performance compared to my team-mate because he's been a lot more competitive this weekend.

Alonso, who famously referred to his Honda power unit as a "GP2 engine" on the radio at this race last year, said he was surprised to qualify even lower than he did in 2015.

"We are not happy with the performance today, we didn't perform as we hoped, especially here in the home grand prix for Honda," said Alonso, who went 0.032s faster than Button to escape Q1.

"All weekend long we have been struggling trying to find the balance, trying to find the speed of the car.

"After some races that we were used to being in Q3 and fighting for points it seems like a step backwards here.

"We need to analyse why we still underperform, circuit to circuit seems to change the performance of the car.

"This one is probably not on our side so we need to understand why."

Both drivers played down their chances of moving through the field in the race, admitting they are hoping for rain to mix things up on Sunday.

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Engine oddities and aero tweaks at Suzuka

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