Jenson Button says McLaren-Honda needs to focus on improving its race performances if it wants to capitalise on its upturn in form this year, admitting it has been 'difficult' to maintain race pace.
McLaren has scored just a single point over the opening three rounds – courtesy of Fernando Alonso stand-in Stoffel Vandoorne in Bahrain -, but the MP4-31 is considered to be a solid step forward over its much malignd predecessor regardless.
Indeed, Button says McLaren is yet to 'put together all elements' that would see it fighting for points, but accepts race pace is currently not living up to the occasional top ten flashes of pace seen over a single lap.
“The last couple of races have been a bit like rolling the dice for us, and we haven't managed to hook up the perfect weekend yet. We've seen some promising results on a Friday and Saturday, but over a long Sunday afternoon race we've found it more difficult to maintain our pace.
“The car feels good and we're definitely heading in the right direction, but we need to keep pushing and working hard to bring more improvements and power for us to see further progression.
“That said, we knew China would be a tricky circuit for us over a race distance, and we struggled for pace with our tyres towards the end. Hopefully Sochi will be an easier race to manage tyre-wise; we're consistently putting new parts on the car, and we saw improved reliability at the last race.
“It's easy to say we deserved to take more from the first three races, but we need to pull together all of the elements over all three days to give ourselves a fighting chance of scoring some points.”