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Button grateful for freedom as upgrade looms
1 May 2013
Jenson Button has admitted that he is glad to be a team that believes in allowing its drivers to battle for position, but insists that he and Sergio Perez need to be sensible as McLaren attempts to turn its year around.
With the Woking team planning its latest significant upgrade for the troubled MP4-28 at next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, Button and Perez are naturally hoping that the changes will allow them to be challenging the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes rather than simply trying to hang onto their coat-tails as has been the case in the opening four rounds of 2013.
While some of their rivals have already tried to implement 'team orders' in one form or another, McLaren has always allowed its drivers to fight between themselves, but the policy came close to backfiring as it enjoyed one of its more competitive outings, in Bahrain, a couple of weeks ago.
Button and Perez touched on more than one occasion as they battled over fifth place during the second half of the race, prompting Button to call the pit-wall and tell them to get his team-mate to calm down. Perez hit the back of the Briton's car at turn four, before subsequently being pushed off track as he attempted to bang wheels and make himself a gap to pass. The Mexican eventually came out on top, aided by Button needing to make a fourth pit-stop for tyres, but there was tension in the air some time after the race had ended.
Button has since reported that the pair have discussed the matter and insists that it is vital that they don't abuse McLaren's 'freedom' policy.
"After the race, it was important to sit down with the team and 'Checo' and for us all to talk about the race, get it out and move on," Button told the media during a promotional visit to Hungary, "I think we're very lucky that we were allowed to race - there are a lot of teams where team-mates aren't - but we'd better respect that decision and not take advantage of it.”
With Button's fifth-place finish in China representing McLaren's best result of the year, the upgrade planned for Barcelona can't come soon enough for the Briton
"We have some new parts for Barcelona which should help us, and hopefully we can build on them in future races,” he noted, “The points need to start coming soon, as our results haven't been good, but in terms of the direction we're going with the car I think it's very good.
"Hopefully we can be racing in Barcelona, fighting cleanly and hopefully [challenging] for the win, not for sixth or seventh."
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