15 March 2015
F1 Australian Grand Prix: Button two laps down but staying upbeat
Jenson Button says finishing the Australian Grand Prix is a significant step forward for McLaren, despite doing so two laps down on the leaders
Jenson Button says he is taking positives away from reaching the finish of the Australian Grand Prix, despite completing it more than two laps down on the leaders at Albert Park.
A significant weekend for the new McLaren-Honda project, though the disappointing pace of the MP4-30 in the run up to the race prompted limited expectations, the more immediate fear was that it wouldn't reach the finish line either having completed no more than 12 consecutive laps in testing.
However, though team-mate Kevin Magnussen didn't reach the starting grid at all after stopping on the sighting lap, Button enjoyed a steadier afternoon, completing the 56 laps to make it to the chequered flag.
Though it consequently meant he would finish in 11th place – and last -, two laps down on leaders Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Button was nonetheless pleased to see the chequered flag and feels finishing the first race is a big step forward.
“It has been a good day,” he said. “We're still a long way off, but this is a good starting point – and I enjoyed the race. I even had a good little battle with Checo [Perez]. Today also really helps in terms of development: if we'd done three laps, we'd have learned nothing, so we've learned a massive amount by completing a race distance.
“It was also a good opportunity for me to get used to the car and to play around with it, making adjustments in the cockpit. There's a lot of work still needed – on power, driveability, downforce and set-up – but we can make big strides. And, by improving one area, it tends to snowball; more and more areas start to improve, too.
“There were more positives: we're as quick as the Force Indias in the corners, and we look similar in speed through the corners to the Red Bulls and Saubers, too.
“It's been a tough winter – our longest run in testing was just 12 laps, so today's 58-lap run was a good step forward – but we know we've got a lot of work to do. But, with all of today's learning, there are many areas we can improve for the next race.”
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