Jenson Button has blamed clutch issues for his tardy start in Italy today, and while he is convinced McLaren has what it takes to win and beat Red Bull Racing, he has conceded 'little problems' are holding them back.
Button enjoyed a good race and despite slipping to seventh in the early stages, he came back. Indeed he passed his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher one after the other on lap 16 and then later on he got ahead of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari to move up to second. However by then, Sebastian Vettel had already pulled out an unassailable lead and so there was no chance to battle for the victory, much to JB's annoyance.
“It's nice to have fought my way back through to second,” Button reflected, “but it's frustrating to have had a problem at the start with the clutch, because it cost me dearly. I dropped back to sixth, then, at the restart, I had no way of keeping Mark [Webber] back, because his straightline speed was so strong, so I slipped to seventh.
“Obviously, that enabled the leaders to get a long way out in front, and I was delayed by a further four or five seconds when Mark and Felipe [Massa] tangled in front of me at Turn One.
“After that, I was able to get my head down and passed Lewis and Michael within the space of about five corners, which was really satisfying. After that, I set about closing down Fernando, it was great to be able to secure second because we got some good points for the team.
“On the whole, the team's done a great job this weekend, but it's the little problems that are frustrating: if you have one of those, then you're not going to beat Red Bull and Sebastian. Hopefully, we'll have no problems at the next race because if we can get everything together then we can challenge for a win.”
“Today our cars were the quickest of the lot,” added team boss, Martin Whitmarsh. “Lewis posted fastest lap, while Jenson took second-fastest lap – but unfortunately our drivers didn't get off to good enough starts.
“The result was that they spent much of the race stuck behind Michael, whose Mercedes-Benz was remarkably quick in a straight line and extremely 'wide' on the approaches to the corners.
“Meanwhile, Seb was able to pull away, which was deeply frustrating for us because we knew we had the pace to take the race to him, had our guys got off to better starts.
“But that's motor racing: you've got to qualify well, start well and race well. Well, this weekend we qualified pretty well, we raced very well, but we just didn't start well enough.”