30 March 2014
Malaysian GP: Button holds off Massa for sixth
A strong start for Jenson Button vaulted him past his team mate and set him up for a sixth place finish - provided he could hold back Felipe Massa.
It wasn't the same impressive result for McLaren as the double podium at Australia, but Jenson Button was nonetheless pleased to come home in sixth place in the sweltering conditions of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
“It was hot out there this afternoon!" he quickly agreed. "And when you've spent all that time watching the two Williams battling in your mirrors, it makes it feel even hotter."
Button got an early run past his young team mate Kevin Magnussen to take seventh place and then gained another position when the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo was delayed by a number of issues in the middle of the race.
"It was an enjoyable race, and I couldn't really have expected more," he said. "I think we got the most we could out of the package this afternoon, and I didn't think I'd be finishing sixth after the way the car had performed earlier in the weekend.
However it wasn't all plain sailing for the Briton, as the closing laps were dominated by the threat from behind from the two Williams cars of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, but the experienced Button seemed well up to controlling the situation and keeping himself out of danger to the chequered flag despite suffering from handling issues.
"There's no getting away from the fact that we're still weak in the high-speed corners," he admitted. "This car does have its strengths, but we've got a lot of work to do. We got the best out of the car today, but we know we still need to improve."
With Magnussen finishing in ninth place after clashing early in the race with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen which left him with a shattered left-hand-side front-wing end-plate compromising his downforce, the team only scored ten points in Malaysia this weekend - a far cry from Australia where they notched up 33 points and went into the lead in the constructors battle - which has now been handed to Mercedes.
"Clearly, we'd expected to be leaving Sepang with rather more than the 10 points we scored here this afternoon," said Eric Boullier, McLaren's racing director. “Having said that, Jenson drove a faultless race, moving steadily from his P10 grid slot to P6 at flag-fall. Had qualifying gone better for him, perhaps he could have finished a little farther up, but probably not much."
"Overall, then, despite having got both our cars to the finish in points-scoring positions, we're far from satisfied - but we're working tirelessly to improve things, and that's exactly what we'll do," he added. "From here we go to Bahrain, where we hope to spice things up a bit by putting on a better show in the home race of our principal shareholder, Mumtalakat."
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