McLaren man Jenson Button has said that he just didn't have the pace today to win the F1 2010 Italian Grand Prix at the historic Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

Button took the lead at the start and held off Fernando Alonso until the pit stops. After though he emerged just behind the Spaniard and he was powerless to get back ahead, eventually finishing just 2.9 seconds adrift.

Despite having to settle for second though, he wasn't too disappointed as it now puts him right back in the championship fight, increasing his tally to 165, 21 points less than the new leader, Mark Webber.

"It was a very tough race mentally," Button reflected, "and it was tricky holding off the challenge from behind. I spent the first half of the race either looking in my mirrors or at the TV screens to see where Fernando was.

"I didn't know until after the race that I'd damaged my diffuser as a result of contact with another car on lap one, and I don't know whether that affected my pace or not. But, with the downforce level I had, I expected to pull ahead more through the corners. Instead, the car was moving around quite a bit; so I had to drive as smoothly as I could and not make any mistakes.

"Maybe it was the wrong call to pit when we did, but the team felt the new prime tyres were faster than the options. But I couldn't find any grip on the new tyres, and lost a little bit of time on them. When I saw Fernando emerge just of me, I was very disappointed.

"Overall, then, we didn't quite have the pace to win today. But this weekend was definitely a good one - I scored some good points, and this second place is very useful for my world championship hopes. There's still everything to play for over the next five races."

McLaren boss, Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile was impressed with Button's dogged defence of P1 in the first half of the race, even if it did ultimately come to nothing: "Today Jenson drove a truly fantastic race, coolly and consistently absorbing enormous pressure all afternoon, and holding a secure but slender lead until the pitstops.

"The timing of pitstops is always an inexact science - but, once we saw that Robert [Kubica] was immediately lapping quicker on prime tyres after his pitstop, we resolved to put Jenson on primes straight away. That was a logical and therefore sensible thing to do.

"But, even so, Fernando was just able to squeeze ahead when he in turn made his pitstop. It was incredibly close, and I'm sure it made edge-of-the-seat TV viewing, but on this occasion it went our opponents' way rather than our way. But that's racing," he summed-up.

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