Formula 1 News

Button clears air with teammate Perez

McLaren allowed its drives to race each other wheel-to-wheel at Bahrain for several laps, with the Mexican coming on top.
Saturday, May 4, 2013

LONDON, May 04, 2013 (AFP/Tim Collings) - Jenson Button made clear this week that he has cleared the air with his McLaren team-mate Sergio Perez and will not have any concerns about racing against him again in next week's Spanish Grand Prix.

The 2009 world champion said also that he was suprised at how exaggerated the tension between the two McLaren drivers was made to look -- and reiterated that he had not intended to broadcast his immediate emotions of their clashes during last month's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Button, 33, said he felt glad, on reflection, that he and Perez had been allowed to race one another in a genuine and unfettered fashion.

"I think we're very lucky that we were allowed to race. There are a lot of teams where team-mates aren't allowed to race, but we'd better respect that decision and not take advantage of it," he said.

"That's something that we all understand now. Hopefully we can be racing again in Barcelona -- fighting cleanly and hopefully for the win, not for sixth or seventh."

He said any ill will or bad feelings between them evaporated after the Bahrain race.

"After the race it was important to sit down with the team, and 'Checo', and for us all to talk about the race, get it out and move on," he explained.

"The problem with the radio (broadcast) is that my message is not meant for the masses -- it's meant for the team.

"In a way it's a pity that TV companies just choose the messages they want, because they can come across in the wrong way. I was obviously angry, but the anger was supposed to be kept within the team, because I am radioing the team, I'm not radioing TV companies."

The clashes in Bahrain followed an ill-starred and disappointing start to the season for both drivers and the McLaren team.

The domination they demonstrated in the final part of 2012 was lost as they brought in a new car for 2013 and found that it lacked competitive performance.

As a result, both men were under pressure with Perez, 23, reacting by adopting a far more aggressive approach.Button, on a promotional visit to Hungary this week, said he remained optimistic.

"In terms of our results, they haven't been good," he said. "But in terms of the direction we're going with the car, I think it's very good."

"We have some new parts for Barcelona which should help us and we can build on them in future races, but the points need to start coming soon... We understand that."

Many critics have suggested already that McLaren would be wiser to abandon developments of their 2013 car and move to the 2014 machine and the future.Perez believes his drive to sixth in Bahrain was proof he can be successful at McLaren.

"We've been through some very difficult moments but I think this is the start of our season," he said.

"I never lost my confidence, I always believed in myself. I've shown the critics that I can do a good job."  

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