Jenson Button says McLaren heads in to the Malaysian Grand Prix on a high after its performance in Australia.
Kevin Magnussen finished second and Button third following Daniel Ricciardo's exclusion in Melbourne, leaving McLaren leading the constructors' championship after the opening race. With the car able to challenge for a podium and good strategy helping Button make up positions in the pits, McLaren enjoyed an almost faultless weekend and Button said it had provided a noticeable boost to the team after a podium-less 2013.
“Australia was a really motivational race for the entire team – even though we still have work to do, it feels like we've turned a corner, and that we have a racecar we can definitely work with this year,” Button said.
“It's important that we keep pushing hard on the development front – we brought some useful upgrades to Melbourne, and it was encouraging that they worked straight out of the box, but it's essential that we keep pushing new items through the development pipeline, especially at these flyaway races, where it's harder to bring new parts to the circuit.”
Looking ahead to this weekend's race in Malaysia, Button believes McLaren is still lacking the outright pace to challenge at the front.
“Sepang is a great driver's circuit, and even if we don't have the overall downforce we want, we should have the balance and driveability to make the car work. And that's really encouraging, because it means we go into a race weekend knowing that we can usually get the maximum from the car during the sessions and the race.
“Even if we don't yet have the pace to take the fight to the frontrunners, we should have a car that's decent in every sector, and which we'll be able to hustle through the race – and that definitely counts for something.”