Formula 1 News

McLaren positive despite pitstop 'hiccup'

Button had to retired in lap 54, but Sergio Perez collected his first points of the season with 9th place finish.
Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 24, 2013 (F1plus) - Jenson Button shrugged off a pitstop "hiccup" which ruined his Malaysian Grand Prix Sunday and insisted McLaren –which a some point had both cars in the points- had made great strides in improving their under-performing car.

Button retired on the 54th lap with vibration problems, but new teammate Sergio Perez came home in ninth.

Button's challenge was effectively ended by the botched pitstop, when he drove off before his right front wheel had been properly attached on lap 36. But he said the race could have been "interesting" if he had been able to finish it.

"We had a problem with the pitstop and once you turn the car off, go back and change the wheel, you're never going to get a result," he said.

"We had a chance of getting a point in the end, but I was struggling with the front left. It kept locking up and it produced such a bad vibration. I think they were worried about the front left suspension because of the locking, so they called me in."

However Button, who briefly led before the pitstop, said McLaren had already improved since last week, when the celebrated British team were shocked at their performance and admitted they could go back to last year's car model.

"Apart from the hiccup in the pitstop, I think (it was a) great job this weekend from where we were in Melbourne," he said, referring to last week's season-opener.

"It's not so bad, but it's a lot of points to throw away, when they are not easy to come by for us at the moment," Button added.

“This afternoon my engineers sorted out a very good race strategy that enabled me to pass the cars immediately in front of me early on – so thank you and well done for that, guys.

The Mexican drove a particularly well and administered his tyres well despite the degrading issue he had to face towards the end. His ninth place gave his first points as a McLaren driver and for sure it will boost his confidence.

“Unfortunately, towards the end of the race, my tyres began to degrade a bit too much, especially my front left, and we therefore felt it would be too risky to try to drive to the finish on that set.

“Consequently, we had no real option other than to make an extra pitstop, which caused me to lose position.

“I still ended up ninth, which is two places better than I finished in Melbourne last weekend, so I think it’s fair to say that we can see that progress is being made.

“In Shanghai in two weeks’ time let’s hope that that upward trend continues.”
 

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