McLaren Honda's Jenson Button says his retirement from the Bahrain Grand Prix was “quite painful” as he felt he was on for a good haul of points.
Button had to park his car on lap 7, pulling off the circuit when it lost power. At that moment he was running ninth and right up with Romain Grosjean and Max Verstappen, both of whom went on to score, finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
“It's one of those races where people made mistakes, there were a few incidents, and you've got to capitalise in races like this. But we didn't have the reliability to do that. It's bad luck and it's got to stop,” Button said.
“I think I was up to ninth place when the car stopped. I was saving loads of fuel, I was just cruising behind the two cars in front of me, as we were going to try something different. Looking at where those cars finished, in fifth and sixth position, it's quite painful to have to retire.
“I still don't know what the problem was, the engine just cut out, so the team still doesn't know what it was. It's a real shame because I think we could have scored a lot of points”
Button also added that the frustration is that much greater as the team is making progress.
“There's a lot of progress but at some point we need to show that progress on track,” he continued.
“In general the car itself is a definite improvement. We were third quickest in FP2, I don't think that's where we are, but it shows we've made a good step forward and we can be really proud of that as a team.
“It's just the little niggly problems like we've had in the race – [as I said] it could have been a good points haul.”
Despite the disappointment, however, Button said he was pleased with the opening lap.
“It was madness [into Turn 1]. I actually got a really good start but Stoffel [Vandoorne, my team-mate] wasn't sure which way to go around the car in front of him, so I had to brake on the main straight which is never so good.
“But I made up loads of places and I ended up passing three cars under braking at Turn 10, I was pretty chuffed with that.”