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McLaren backs Button amid Montreal misery

McLaren has taken the blame for Jenson Button's poor result in Canada, accepting that it failed to give the Briton a competitive car.
McLaren management have accepted that Jenson Button's poor showing in the Canadian Grand Prix was down to problems with his car, and not a loss of form from its driver.

While team-mate Lewis Hamilton was overcoming both Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel to claim his first victory of the 2012 F1 season, Button was - literally - sliding backwards from an already disappointing tenth on the grid, making three pit-stops for fresh tyres as he struggled for grip on either the soft or supersoft Pirelli. The Briton eventually came to rest in a lapped 16th position, sandwiched between Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso and Bruno Senna's Williams.

"I'm not two seconds slower [per lap] than Lewis," Button insisted immediately after the Montreal race, "I'm pushing the car to its limits and I'm one-and-a-half to two seconds off the pace of the leaders - and one is my team-mate. It's not tyres, I can't be the only person who can't drive the tyres, it's impossible. But I don't know what's going on. I'm confused and very lost."

Now McLaren appears to agree with its driver, with various members of its senior management accepting that the team had let Button down, first with mechanical gremlins that cost him vital time in opening practice, and then failing to tune a revised suspension set-up to his MP4-27.

"As a team, we've let him down in a few areas," sporting director Sam Michael conceded to Sky Sports F1, "He lost so much track time here because of a gearbox issue and we ended up going in quite a different route and didn't get enough long-running data. I think that really affected him.

"Lewis can drive a car a little bit differently, he can adapt his style around it, whereas Jenson tends to need a rear-end grip car. Overall, though, it's not a huge difference. If we turn up with a car that is competitive, then he can deliver. Look at the way he drove in Melbourne. When everything is going right, he's a world champion. There's no doubt in our mind that he will turn the corner and we're 100 per cent behind him. He'll be back very soon at the front."

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh had already hinted at the suspension problems in the team's post race statement, and confirmed that that was the area being focused on as he too lent his backing to his beleaguered star, who has added just two points since finishing second in China. Indeed, the Briton's results this season have been either feast of famine, with his victory in Australia and podium in Shanghai combining with ninth in Spain, 14th in Malaysia, 16th in Monaco and 18th in Bahrain.

"Jenson is a great racing driver, but we served him badly over the weekend," Whitmarsh acknowledged, "His rear tyres were completely shot because we didn't long-run with his suspension set-up on Friday. That was our fault. We didn't give him a car he could perform in. Looking at what is happening with the rear tyres, I think the car was excessively hard on them. It was killing the tyres."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The McLaren team celebrate Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes win with John Button, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), McLaren, Chief Executive Officer, Jessica Michibata (JPN) girlfriend of Jenson Button (GBR) and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes
24.05.2012- Free Practice 1, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren
12.04.2012 Sam Michael (AUS), McLaren
10.06.2012- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 leadsKimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E20
10.06.2012- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 and Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
08.06.2012- Free Practice 1,  Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
10.06.2012- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
22.11.2014 - Qualifying, Eric Boullier (FRA) McLaren Racing Director
22.11.2014 - Qualifying, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
22.11.2014 - Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-29
22.11.2014 - Free practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-29
22.11.2014 - Free practice 3, Eric Boullier (FRA) McLaren Racing Director and Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Executive Chairman
22.11.2014 - Free practice 3, Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Executive Chairman
22.1.2014 - Free practice 3, Pirelli tyres
22.1.2014 - Free practice 3, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
22.11.2014 - Free Practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
22.11.2014 - Free Practice 3, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
22.11.2014 - Free Practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-29

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nonbias - Unregistered

June 12, 2012 1:21 PM

Granted Jenson has had gearbox and clutch issues in Canada leading to reduced practice time, but in the other couple of races pre this one his quali has been poor leading to poor races. I think Sam Michaels sums it up when saying one driver can adapt where the other needs the car setup to be exact. We have seen Vetel and Alonso get to grips with there cars throughout this season when the Ferrari and the RB8 was not performing the way they would of liked but yet pre Canada they were leading the championship and as for Lewis he has been driving well all season and as DC said it has not been his fault that he had not won a race pre Canada. Hamilton has been a victim of some poor Mclaren calls and errors but as just got on with it, i feel Jenson needs to do the same and he will come good again.

Slickmagic - Unregistered

June 12, 2012 10:27 PM

Jenson has always been an ordinary driver only magnified by the British media into what he is not. Unfortunately he hasn't got the skill to back that cred up. It is funny how people find excuses for the poor performance of Jenson yet bash Lewis at the slightest opportunity. Jenson's performance has been awful and it has nothing to do with Mclaren. Jenson is slow. Period! The fact is, Jenson Button will always be an overrated driver. British people prefer Jenson to Lewis. But Lewis Hamilton is the most talented with skill and talent that is plain for the whole world to see.



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