Jenson Button will mark his 300th grand prix start at Sepang, a race in which McLaren are hoping to be in the points.
Jenson Button: “Sepang is becoming a modern classic – although it’s a relatively new circuit, it’s one of those tracks that drivers enjoy going back to. The conditions are like nothing else we experience, the circuit is quite technical and fun to drive, and the atmosphere is always great. Although it’s traditionally seen as a high-speed circuit which isn’t usually something that our package favours, we do have a good car under braking which is necessary to handle the tight corners after the long, fast straights.
“We always think of Singapore being tough because it’s the longest race of the year, but Malaysia will almost certainly be the hottest race on the calendar. Not only that, but the humidity is immense and the cockpit reaches very high temperatures.
“As drivers, we’re all well equipped for these conditions as part of our training, but it does take its toll by the end of the weekend. You definitely need to be in peak physical fitness to cope with the heat. I’m ready and excited to get out there and start my 300th grand prix, and hopefully have better luck than I did in Singapore.”
Fernando Alonso: “I’m looking forward to heading back to Malaysia after 18 months since the last race there. It’ll be interesting to see how the cars cope on the newly-resurfaced track, and I imagine the weather conditions will be different from our last visit. Still, we expect it to be a tough race in the heat and humidity, but there’s a good combination of slow and high-speed corners and fast straights, so it has a little bit of everything.
“It tests every part of the package, and the driver too, so hopefully there’ll be some close racing and an entertaining weekend for the fans.
“The Malaysian Grand Prix is always a fun event and among the drivers’ favourites on the calendar. There’s great food, lively fans and good racing so I hope we can put up a strong fight there. I’ve won this race three times before so I have happy memories, and we’ll be aiming to continue the momentum from the past couple of races and get a strong result there again this year.”