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McLaren drivers support postponing decision

Mar 16, 2013, 12:30 PM EST

AUTO-PRIX-AUS-F1-QUALIFYING Getty Images

It’s been a difficult weekend in Melbourne for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes thus far. Still, both drivers voiced their support of the decision to postpone qualifying from Saturday to Sunday.

“A stop-start session like today’s is tough for everyone,” said Jenson Button, who scored his third Australian Grand Prix victory in four years to open the 2012 season. “For us drivers, it means we have to build ourselves up for the challenge of qualifying again and again – a bit like asking Usain Bolt to get ready for five 100-meter sprints one after the other and aborting four of them.

“That level of disruption creates quite a lot of mental and psychological stress for any athlete – but it was even worse for the fans, who’d been waiting excitedly for qualifying all day long and who then had to sit in the pouring rain with no on-track action to entertain them,” he added. “So I’m very sorry for them, because the fans are what all sport is ultimately all about, but I hope we can make it up to them tomorrow by putting on a really exciting race. Even so, I believe the FIA had no choice. It was the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3 until tomorrow, for safety reasons.”

Sergio Perez, who had an off-course excursion during his session, decided to praise the team in advance given the tight turnaround.

“We’ll have to follow a really tight schedule tomorrow – including a very short turn-around between qualifying and race – and that’ll be tough for everyone, especially the guys in the garage. Boys, I appreciate all your hard work in advance, okay?!” he said. “Even so, I think the FIA stewards made the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3. The conditions were becoming too dangerous – in terms of low visibility as well as low grip.”

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