Jenson Button was happy to achieve a top five result in the United States Grand Prix after being forced to start from the sixth row of the grid at the Circuit of the Americas.
The Briton appeared on course to make pole position shoot-out when he suffered a throttle problem in the second phase of qualifying on Saturday, and was even denied a start from the cleaner side of the grid as Bruno Senna posted a late improvement to demote the McLaren to twelfth spot.
Even penalties to Romain Grosjean and, more controversially, Felipe Massa, failed to help Button, as both came to rest ahead of him in the order, and the Briton opted for an alternative race strategy by running the harder Pirelli from the start.
That, combined with the lack of grip on the even-numbered side of the grid, appeared to have been a mistake as Button languished even further down the field through the opening laps but, as his tyres picked up performance, so he picked up places, running longer into the race than all of his rivals, before battling back into the top five by the chequered flag.
“Starting on the dirty side of the racetrack was very tough – I ended up 15th by the end of the first lap,” Button reflected, “Fifth was probably the best result I could have had, but I had a lot of fun this afternoon, and fought a lot of good battles on my way through.
“There was lots of action and lots of overtaking – and most of it was very clean, which was good to see. Obviously, fifth place wasn't the result I'd have ideally liked, but the car was working really well, and, with a better grid position, I could definitely have been right up there.”
Congratulating team-mate Lewis Hamilton on his victory, McLaren's sixth of the year, Button admitted that the team would miss the 2008 world champion when he departs for Mercedes at the end of the season.
“Big congratulations to Lewis and the whole team,” the 32-year old commented, "It's been a great partnership the last three years. He's unbelievably quick, he really is.
“We've had a lot of good battles this year, and I'm sure everyone in the team is sad to see him go because, obviously, he produces great results like today. But things change, you move on - change is exciting."