Jenson Button insisted he was delighted to finish his F1 title winning season with a podium finish after taking third in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Button, who had picked up just one podium finish since winning his sixth race of the season in Turkey, was on the pace throughout the race and came close to stealing second place after closing onto the rear of Mark Webber in the final laps.
Despite trying to find a way past the Red Bull man on the final lap around the new Yas Marina circuit, Button was unable to make a move stick and while he said there was some disappointment at not securing the position, the Briton admitted it was fantastic to end his year on the podium.
“It was a fun race today and to be on the podium for the last race of the year is fantastic,” he said. “I've really enjoyed driving here at the Yas Marina Circuit this weekend and Abu Dhabi has done a fantastic job for its first Grand Prix. We expected the prime tyre to be the better tyre in the race but I was struggling for balance especially as the track temperatures started to fall and it became more difficult to get heat into the front tyres.
“The car felt great when we switched to the soft tyre for the final stint. It really felt transformed and suddenly I had a great front end and could carry more speed into the corners. The last few laps were really exciting and I was giving everything to take second place from Mark. I couldn't quite make the moves stick and he's a very difficult guy to overtake but it was a good clean fight and we were really on the edge. I'm a little bit disappointed not to get second but it's still great to finish on the podium.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at the team in Brackley and at Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines. It really has been a fantastic year and they should all be very proud of what we have achieved together. It's nice to end the year on a high after what has been a very competitive and challenging season.”