McLaren struggling to find balance in German Grand Prix weekend

A lack of balance was a key factor as McLaren failed to get one of its cars into the final phase of Formula 1 qualifying for the first time in four races at Hockenheim

McLaren struggling to find balance in German Grand Prix weekend

Both Jenson Button and Fernando qualified inside the top 10 in Hungary last weekend, with Alonso making Q3 at Silverstone and Button at the Red Bull Ring.

That form prompted Williams technical chief Pat Symonds to recently suggest McLaren was now in the fight to be F1's fourth quickest team behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.

But with Button qualifying 12th and Alonso 14th for the German Grand Prix, it is the first time since the Baku race in June that a McLaren has not featured in Q3.

"We couldn't find the right balance properly, we have struggled all weekend so far," racing director Eric Boullier explained.

"With our pace, a couple of tenths [of a second] is four or five positions, and we couldn't develop a proper lap and exploit the full potential of the car.

"It's a sign of the progress we've been making recently that we're disappointed that neither driver was able to make it into Q3 this afternoon."

Button felt the time lost after sustaining an eye injury in second practice did not help his cause, which was compounded by a brake-component assembly problem in Saturday morning's third practice session.

"Obviously yesterday I stepped out of the car early because of my eye, and this morning I had a couple of problems which meant I just did two laps on the softs, and I didn't run the super-soft," he said.

"So it was all a bit unknown going into qualifying, and it still wasn't that great.

"P12 is okay, but I'm still not there with the balance of the car.

"It's about having time with the car, which I've missed, and it's always tricky around a place like this if you've not had any mileage

"It's not so bad being 12th, but if you look at it, even if we'd got everything together, to beat the Williams and get into the top 10 was going to be very tricky."

Alonso believes the nature of circuit played against McLaren-Honda, while he also conceded to making errors throughout the qualifying session.

"We know in qualifying some of our opponents turn the engine up a little bit, and we lose some performance compared to practice mainly," assessed Alonso.

"Compared to one week ago [in Hungary] we are less competitive, and the track is not the best for our package.

"We know that when people turned the engine up in Budapest the difference was one or two tenths, and here it is even more.

"I also didn't have a clean lap, I had mistakes on all my laps, so definitely I think there is more pace to come in the race."

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