Reigning F1 world champion Jenson Button has revealed that a dashboard display failure hampered his efforts during Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
Button eventually finished in fifth place, trailing home Michael Schumacher's Mercedes after he lost out to the German following a problem with the right rear during his pit stop.
While P5 was enough to keep him top in the drivers' championship, taking his tally to 70 points, 3 more than Fernando Alonso, it was still a frustrating afternoon for the Englishman.
Indeed while the McLaren MP4-25 definitely had the pace to do better – as shown by team-mate Lewis Hamilton's fastest lap - Button was unable to exploit the cars full potential, in part because of the technical problem and also because he was unable to pass Schumacher.
“During the opening laps, my dashboard readout stopped working. The team was telling me over the radio to do things on the steering wheel but I couldn't see if I was doing the right things,” Button explained. “And I couldn't see the rev lights either: most of the time I was pretty close with my gear-changes, but I was hitting the limiter quite a lot, which happens when you're getting a tow and you're shifting at different places.
“Then I was delayed at the first pitstop: there was a problem with the clutch dragging, so the guys couldn't get the wheel on, and then I had wheelspin. When I rejoined the track, I didn't know where Michael [Schumacher] was. Into Turn One, he turned in – and if I hadn't backed out of it, we would probably have crashed.
“As everyone knows, it's almost impossible to overtake around here, and Michael was moving about a bit to make sure I couldn't get past. That was frustrating because the pace of my car was really good this afternoon, but that doesn't make any difference if you can't overtake. I was trying so hard to get past that I damaged my tyres quite a bit; I flat-spotted a front and hurt the rears under traction.
“Fifth wasn't the result we'd wanted, and it wasn't the result we really deserved either because we were pretty quick. I guess you could say that was both a positive and a negative, because I couldn't get to use that pace fully today.”
McLaren team boss, Martin Whitmarsh added: “Jenson drove a very good race, but was hampered early on by a dash display failure that prevented him from being able to follow our normal launch procedure during his pitstop.
“As a result he was slowed by wheelspin which allowed Michael Schumacher to slip ahead of him. Thereafter he wasn't quite able to overtake him, despite clearly having the potential to lap faster than Michael had he had a clear track in front of him.”