Jenson Button admitted he was too conservative through the early stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix after starting the defence of his F1 title with a seventh place finish.

The McLaren driver qualified eight for his debut with the team and maintained his place at the start following Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber on track during his opening stint.

While he was able to get ahead of Webber during his pit-stop, the Briton was unable to find a way past Schumacher through the remainder of the race and was forced to settle for seventh place - admitting afterwards that he should have pushed harder during his opening stint when he was concerned about possible tyre wear.

"At the start of the race, I didn't know what was going to happen to my tyres so I took it a little easy," he said. "I was a bit disappointed that we pitted when we did, because I'd probably looked after the tyres a little too much - because, in the last five laps of the stint, I was able to push to catch Mark and Michael. At the stop, I jumped Mark, which was great. It was a really good pit-stop from the guys - both for Lewis and myself actually, because we each jumped the car in front.

"I then paced myself on the tyres until there were about 20 laps to go. I caught up with Michael, but didn't have enough pace through the middle sector to stay with him and have a go at him in the last sector, which was disappointing. But it was fun all the same.

"Overall, I think our car is pretty good at looking after its tyres, but there's always room for improvement and I think everybody in the team wants more speed and more downforce."