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Spanish F1 Grand Prix: Button: McLaren further off than 2013

Jenson Button admits McLaren is further away from being able to win races than it was last year due to Mercedes' dominance in 2014
Jenson Button admits McLaren is further away from being able to win races than it was last year due to Mercedes' dominance in 2014.

McLaren started the season with a double podium – already an improvement on the podium-less 2013 – as it looked to recover from a poor season. However, while the early signs were promising, the team was over two seconds off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix and Button conceded wins look even less likely at this stage of the season.

“I think compared to the car that's on pole then yes I think we are further behind them than last year, that's obvious to see by the lap times,” Button said. “But I think everyone is a long way off of that team; Red Bull have made a step forward but still they haven't caught Mercedes. It feels like Mercedes have a very good upgrade for this race and have actually pulled away from the field.

“So, yes, they're doing an amazing job and it's everyone else's job to try and make the racing more interesting by catching those guys. So for winning races it's obvious to see if you look at the facts that yes we are further away than we were at this point last year in qualifying. I'm not sure what the case will be in the race tomorrow…”

However, McLaren has made a step forward compared to the Chinese Grand Prix and racing director Eric Boullier believes the order behind the front two teams is likely to remain unclear for a number of races.

“If you look race after race we have a different pecking order,” Boullier said. “So it looks like most of the teams are struggling to keep consistency, except for Mercedes of course and even Red Bull now who have started to establish themselves as the second-best team.

“So I think it's just a matter of how fast you can make your [power unit] work properly and balance the car, how much downforce you can exploit on the car and I think today there is a different grade of improvement race after race. I think during the summer we should establish a final order and obviously outside Mercedes and Red Bull I don't know.”



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