Jenson Button says McLaren's strategic calls were the reason he was able to finish a provisional fourth in the Australian Grand Prix.

Having started the race in 10th place, Button made progress at the start but was stuck in traffic when Valtteri Bottas hit the wall and caused a safety car. On that occasion Button immediately pitted and jumped up to sixth place, before an early second stop promoted him ahead of Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg in to fourth.

Late in the race, Button was closing on Daniel Ricciardo and team-mate Kevin Magnussen but had to settle for fourth place, which became third when Ricciardo was excluded for a fuel flow issue. Having made the majority of his positions up in the pit lane, Button was full of praise for his McLaren team.

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"It was a great drive by Kevin today - I had a lot of fun chasing him and Daniel down at the end of the race, but my tyres were several laps older than theirs, so it was always going to be tricky," Button said. "Still, I had a good race - the car's balance wasn't quite right when I was in traffic - I struggled with understeer when I was behind people - but the car worked very well in clear air.

"For some reason, it seems to be more difficult to overtake now than it used to be, so we had to do it during the pit stops. During my second stop, we damaged the nose - which made it a bit cooler in the cockpit! - but the guys did a great job of putting me in the right place at the right time. When the Safety Car came out, I quickly dived into the pit lane at the last second - which gained me a couple of places. And then the second stop gained me a couple more. They were both great calls."

Button added that he was confident McLaren will be strong in upcoming races after the way the car performed in Melbourne.

"As a team, I think we can be very proud of the job we did today. I don't think we expected to be leading the constructors' world championship at the end of this weekend, but I think the pace in the car is generally there: in clear air, we seem capable of fighting every team except one. I'm really looking forward to getting back in the car in Malaysia."