Button secures 'badly needed' points for McLaren
8 July 2013
McLaren's Jenson Button has said the points he picked up at the German Grand Prix were 'badly needed'.
Button opted for a two-stop strategy in contrast to virtually all of the other front runners and looked set to equal his best result of the F1 2013 season and finish in fifth, until late on, when he was held up by the Caterhams of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. That allowed former team-mate, Lewis Hamilton to close up and Button was then passed by the Mercedes driver on the final lap.
Despite slipping back to sixth, however, Button was still pretty happy, especially after a miserable two races in Britain and Canada.
“There are a lot of positives to take away from this weekend; our pace was reasonably good; it's nice to be racing cars closer to the front, such as the Mercedes; our laptimes compared to the four cars at the front weren't too bad either; and today's points are badly needed right now,” confirmed the 2009 F1 world champion.
“Unfortunately, the two Caterhams fighting in front of me in the closing laps probably cost me fifth place. When you're fighting for position, you expect the backmarkers to move over, even if they're fighting for position themselves. It's a shame – those points could be so important for us later in the season. The Safety Car also didn't help our strategy – but we were a lot stronger this weekend than we've been for the past few races.”
“We can be positive – as a team, we didn't put a foot wrong all weekend, and we got the best out of what we have,” Button continued. “Overall, it's a positive day for the team – now we just need to find some more pace in the car.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez also had a good race and he two-stopped his way from 13th on the grid to 8th, although like Button, he lost a place late on, when Mark Webber sneaked ahead at the final corner.
“My car performed a lot better today than it did yesterday. We had better pace and degradation than we'd expected: we managed a very long final stint, and I think we maximised everything. We should be happy,” Perez stated.
“After the Safety Car, it was like the start of a second race. I just focused on preserving the tyres over that long stint – the car and tyres performed very strongly, but we just lost out on the final corner. It was always going to be difficult to hold Mark back. This is a good step on from Silverstone though – it's been a very promising weekend, and I hope we can take another step forward for Hungary.”
McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile echoed the sentiments of his drivers', although he admitted it was frustrating to see both lose a place so close to the finish line.
“Both drivers did a fantastic job this afternoon – they managed the limits of the tyre, pushed aggressively when it was needed and were always able to maximise the pace of the car,” Whitmarsh summarised. “It's just a pity that they each lost position on the final lap.
“That was a little bit frustrating: we had terrible traffic at the end, so Jenson lost a couple of seconds at a critical point in the race. That enabled Lewis to close him down quicker than normal and take a position that we felt we could have kept.”
“The whole team did an extremely good job today though: our strategy was perfectly managed, our pitstops were faultless, and the engineers maximised the pace of the car. We raced well,” Whitmarsh added.
“But we're still not where we want to be, although there are positives to take away from today. We'll be putting out heads down during the three-week break before Hungary and will be aiming to capitalise on the momentum we've gathered this weekend.”