Button's F1 return gets off to a mixed start at Monaco GP

Despite McLaren's problems, Alonso managed to qualify seventh at the previous race in Barcelona and Button saw that as a positive sign that the auto could be competitive in Monaco with new updates coming.

Button admits it is odd to be driving again but he is eagerly anticipating being out on the street circuit in the principality.

The 2017 cars are several seconds a lap quicker this year, with fatter tyres and revised aerodynamics allowing drivers to take some corners flat out.

The extra width of the Pirelli rubber means that there is even less space than usual on a track that Nelson Piquet once described as akin to getting on your bike and trying to ride around your kitchen.

Jenson Button (left) will replace Fernando Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.

It's going to take a minor miracle for Jenson Button to emulate Indianapolis-based team-mate Fernando Alonso's extraordinary fifth place on the grid as he stands in for the Spaniard in Monaco this weekend.

"It's been incredible! Nothing against the paddock but my life away from F1 has been great". I'll obviously get in the vehicle and do the best job I can, that's what I'm here to do.

Alonso has qualified fifth for the Indy 500, impressing viewers on both sides of the Atlantic in the process, and the double world champion can not be ruled out as a potential rookie victor of the anti-clockwise oval race. After a torrid start to the season, Hasegawa hopes McLaren can turn around its fortunes at a track less dependent on a strong power unit package. It's not the best situation to arrive in, and he hasn't had the best preparation either.

But can Button, who came out with the classic quote that "my preparation has been good apart from I haven't driven the auto yet", really be in any sort of shape to just come out of retirement and drive to that standard?

Title rivals Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, separated by just six points and with two wins apiece, will be the favourites in Sunday's showcase race around the metal-fenced streets.

The 32-year-old said: "I feel super deflated".

"So we put it on the auto". "I am carrying them in my heart as we are as a team this weekend, I am sure everyone is", he said. "We have more this weekend".

"Before, there was a big one [kerb] there, and taking it you were losing time anyway, so I was a bit surprised to see that". I think fitness-wise, that's not an issue. You want to be competitive, get the best out of yourself and the team and equipment you are working with.

Button said he had "had a little smile" to himself when he headed out for his first lap in Monaco on Thursday. "It is just respect to other cars and other drivers".

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