Jenson Button had no answers when asked where the pace of the McLaren car had disappeared to in Bahrain.

After a tricky Friday, the team seemed to be getting on top of their troubles with a decent Saturday qualifying - only for the race to inexplicably slip through their fingers on Sunday.

"It's very difficult to understand where the pace is and why we didn't have it around here," said Button on Sky Sports F1. "In the last races, whether we've won or not, we have had good race pace but we just didn't have it here.

"I didn't have a very good balance today," he admitted. "We were really struggling with oversteer and all the way through the race we were taking front-end out of the car, but we just didn't have the pace here and we don't know where it's gone."

"My view is that we were just too hard on the rear tyres and that really gave a great challenge to both of our drivers," McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said after the race. "We didn't lose 50 points of downforce from yesterday to today - clearly we are beating the tyres much too hard here."

As if understeer, oversteer and excessive tyre wear wasn't enough, Button's day at the Bahrain International Circuit ended prematurely when his car suffered a series of technical problems toward the end of the race, including a puncture to the left-rear wheel.

It was as he closed up on Paul di Resta and Nico Rosberg at the end of lap 53 and prepared to make a DRS-assisted move that Button realised that his car suddenly had a big problem.

"As I braked for the final corner, the right-front corner lifted up in the air and I realised I had a puncture," he said. "So I quickly radioed the team, and pitted.

"In the last few laps, the car sounded really noisy," he continued. "I think the initial problem was an exhaust failure, then my puncture, and then a differential failure; so I had to retire."

"Jenson had a frustrating run," agreed Whitmarsh. "[It] was finally curtailed by a puncture and a problem with both his differential and his exhaust, the combination of which forced us to retire his car.

"We'll investigate what caused those problems in due course," he added. "More of a concern is generally we weren't quick enough."