F1: McLaren suffers humiliation at Australian GP

McLaren, the most successful team in the history of the Australian Grand Prix, will start Sunday's race with its two cars on the back row of the grid after a predictably bad, but nonetheless humiliating, qualifying session on Saturday.

hidden March 14, 2015 14:32:30 IST
F1: McLaren suffers humiliation at Australian GP

McLaren, the most successful team in the history of the Australian Grand Prix, will start Sunday's race with its two cars on the back row of the grid after a predictably bad, but nonetheless humiliating, qualifying session on Saturday.

Jenson Button qualified 17th and Kevin Magnussen 18th, with their best times almost three seconds off the top cars during the first session of qualifying.

F1 McLaren suffers humiliation at Australian GP

McLaren driver Jenson Button of Britain arrives with his wife Jessica Michibata. AP

It was only three years' ago that Button won this race for McLaren for the team's record 11th victory in Australia.

Little was expected of the team this year, though, after a preseason punctuated by a series of problems with its new engine supplied by Honda, which is playing catch-up to the established engine providers as it returns to the sport after six years away.

Button had quipped on Friday that: "I am hoping it won't be the last row of the grid — hopefully 20 cars will run."

Alas, 20 cars did not run as Manor did not even make it out onto the track for qualifying and will therefore miss the race as it scrambles to ready its cars only two weeks after coming out of financial administration.

Button's 17th place in qualifying was his performance in five years.

"This level of performance wasn't a surprise for us: we knew from winter testing that the pace wasn't there, so we knew we weren't going to be competitive here," he said.

"It's going to be a really difficult race for us. We haven't done a race distance yet, and my longest run is 12 laps, but we want to do the best we can because there's so much learning to be had."

Team racing director Eric Boullier said, "Everyone at McLaren-Honda is enormously dissatisfied with today's qualifying result."

"We've got a mountain to climb, but all I can say is climb that mountain we certainly will," Boullier said. "McLaren exists to win. That ambition burns as brightly now as ever."

AP

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