McLaren still long way off pace - Button
McLaren are still a hell of a long way off the pace despite introducing a major new upgrade package for their Formula One car at the Spanish Grand Prix, Jenson Button said on Friday.
The 2009 world champion told reporters after practice at the Circuit de Catalunya that hopes of a sudden improvement in performance were unrealistic.
"We do have a lot of visible new parts on the car and there are some positives to take from it and some other areas that aren't working so well with the balance of the car," said the Briton.
"The problem with this sport is everyone is improving every race you go to so you have to make a bigger step than them and I don't think we have done that.
"You will see four teams very competitive at the front and I don't think we will be one of them. Hopefully we'll be just behind," said Button.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso topped the timesheets in a damp morning session before Red Bull's triple champion Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the afternoon.
Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes were all quicker with both Toro Rosso cars and the Force Indias also ahead of McLaren in the dry second practice. Button was 12th and Mexican teammate Sergio Perez 13th.
"There is a lot of data to go through and things to change tomorrow and look at what is working and what is not helping our balance," said Button.
"We need to work on some areas, areas I didn't think we would have to, but hopefully we'll sort that for tomorrow.
"It's great we're able to turn things around so quickly in terms of bringing parts to the circuit but we're still a hell of a long way off the pace."
Button has yet to finish higher than fifth this season after ending last year with a victory in the final race in Brazil.
He has however managed to start all four races so far in the top 10 and hoped he could at least continue that trend in Spanish qualifying on Saturday.
"Tomorrow, with getting the right set up with the car, we'll see some improvements but not to be fighting at the front. It's going to be quite a big gap," he said.