Jenson Button was 'encouraged' after taking the runners-up spot today at the F1 2011 Malaysian GP.
Button, who had qualified fourth, ran near the front throughout the race, and while he struggled a bit early on, he managed to jump his McLaren team-mate, Lewis Hamilton and move up to second following his third and final stop on lap 37. JB then set about chasing eventual winner, Sebastian Vettel and in the end finished the 56-lap race just 3.2 seconds adrift. The result moves him up to second in the battle for the drivers' title, 24 points adrift of the German.
“This has been an extremely encouraging weekend for us. It's very satisfying to come away with a good lot of world championship points – everyone in the team has done an amazing job and we should feel very proud of ourselves,” Button said.
“Today's race was all about looking after the tyres. On the way to the grid, I purposely took a lot of front wing out of the car, which was a mistake because I had massive understeer for the first stint, which also hurt the rear tyres. I just got the balance wrong.
“So at each pitstop, I dialled in more front wing and my pace kept getting better and better. At the end, the Prime tyre was really working for me. I knew Lewis had a problem in one of his pitstops and that I would be able to come out in front of him, but my pace was very good anyway. It was a great afternoon.
“In the closing laps, the team told me to take it easy on the tyres, but I chased down Sebastian as much as I could all the same – still, it wasn't quite enough.
“We should all feel very encouraged that we have a good, strong package. I still don't think we're getting the best from it yet – but I hope we will in China, and that Lewis and I will both have great races.”
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile reckoned second was a just result for JB: “Jenson drove a truly excellent race today,” Whitmarsh added, “pushing hard when it was appropriate to do so but also conserving his tyres when necessary, and the result was a very well deserved second place.
“The team has done a fantastic job over the past few weeks – well done again, guys – and, if we can maintain that momentum from here on in, then we can definitely take the fight to Red Bull Racing next weekend in Shanghai,” he summed-up.