Jenson Button says he was disappointed by the lack of pace he felt from his McLaren Honda machine despite achieving his best result of the season with sixth place in Austin.
The former F1 world champion has admitted he expected much more in terms of race pace in the testing weather conditions and left the Circuit of the Americas feeling downhearted even though he notched up his best finish since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last season.
“I have to say our pace here was nowhere near what we were expected,” Button said. “Compared to Toro Rosso, they were so much quicker, a lot faster than I expected around here, especially on the medium and faster corners, as were weren't nearly as fast as we were expecting. We need to go home and look at the reasons for that.”
Despite feeling like he missed out on a potential top four result – with Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen finishing P4 narrowly behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel – the British driver says his own performance and the team's strategy work ended up putting a smile on his face.
“It was a tough day, so I'm happy to come away with sixth place, thanks to good strategy,” he said. “I think we did a good job with that but apart from that the pace of the car was not exciting. While the track was drying I really enjoyed myself, as always, as I could make a bit of a difference there.
“But as soon as it's dry, everyone knows where they can brake, so it's more difficult for us. It's great to get some points and the end of an interesting race. There were a lot of calls to be made and I always enjoy that, but I didn't enjoy the pace. And it was completely dry for most of the race, so we also had quite a bit of graining for us.”
The 2009 F1 champion also paid tribute to his former team-mate Lewis Hamilton who claimed a third F1 world title after winning the United States Grand Prix.
“Also, congratulations to my fellow countryman Lewis Hamilton for his title. Great job, mate, and from what I saw on TV it looked like a great race for everyone,” he said.