Button secured victory in Malaysia last year in a race that was cut short due to torrential rain and he returned to the country this week on the back of success at the Australian Grand Prix in only his second race for his new team. And while the 30-year-old admitted he is gradually becoming more and more comfortable in his MP4-25, he still has some concerns heading into this weekend’s race.
“It took me quite a while to get to grips with the car’s set-up in practice,” said Button. “I wasn’t satisfied with it at first – I didn’t really get a balance that I was happy with.”But, towards the end of the session, it started getting better and that was encouraging.
“It was nice to see that we made some improvements right at the end because it was quite a way from what I wanted.”We are steadily getting there, and it’s starting to take shape, which is encouraging.”
Button’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, dominated Friday’s practice by topping the timesheet in both sessions. The 25-year-old is searching for a first victory since the Singapore Grand Prix last September but played down his chances this weekend.
“Sepang is a very special place,” said Hamilton. “It is not a stop-start circuit; it’s a flowing, high-speed track which is all about getting the car to flow from one corner to the next.”You need lots of rear-end grip, a strong balance and a car that can ride the kerbs well while also conserving the tyres. And that’s never an easy combination to achieve.
“I don’t know if we are closer to (our rivals) but I feel we have taken a little step forward, which is the aim for every race.
“We are trying to learn and improve each time.”