• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

McLaren won’t improve overnight, says Button

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Jenson Button warns that the McLaren MP4-31 has punched above its weight by finishing sixth in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Having put his car third on the grid in mixed conditions in qualifying, Button ran second for six laps before eventually surrendering a few places and pitting for softs on lap 9.

The McLaren driver then switched to another set of softs when the safety car came out for Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure and was up to as high as fifth, before being passed by Daniel Ricciardo.

“It’s definitely as good as it was going to get,” Button said after the race. “Not bad at all. We got the maximum of what we have at the moment.

“It’s so nice fighting at the front again but our pace isn’t there, as you saw. For us to try and keep cars behind is impossible – and for us to overtake is almost impossible.

“Still, we beat every car that we hoped to beat and the cars in front were way faster than us.”

Button then conceded: “We got areas that we need to improve, and they’re not going to improve overnight, which is a shame.”

Button also admitted he was unsure about the strategy chosen for the race, as it required the famously power-deficient McLaren to overtake many mid-pack cars.

“With the strategy we had in mind, which we executed… I pitted and I came out behind five cars and trying to overtake cars is unbelievably difficult for us.

“I had to take a lot of risk. And when they all have DRS, it’s impossible.”

He also said that the starting position was a big help in getting the result.

“I think starting in that position makes life easier – you’re in clear air, you can do the strategy a bit better.

“I don’t think our outright pace is that great – I think we’re very similar to Haas, Force India; I think that’s our area at the moment.”