McLaren Honda's Jenson Button reckons he could have got some points in the Canadian Grand Prix, had his engine not gone “pop”.
Button started twelfth on the grid at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and was running eleventh until he had to pull off the track on lap nine, with smoking and flames coming from the back of his MP4-31, triggering a virtual safety car period.
“The engine just went pop, as I was coming out of the hairpin!” Button said. “I told the team I was losing power, looked in the mirrors and saw all the smoke and sparks, so I understood quickly and I stopped. The engine was still running, so I turned it off.”
“This is the engine we had been using for the last few races, so we may have pushed it a bit too far. I don't think reliability was an issue, we just pushed it a bit too much this time,” he added.
“It's a shame because I was saving a lot of fuel while I was stuck behind [my team-mate] Fernando [Alonso], using the DRS in every lap and that was putting me in a good position, because we have to save a lot of fuel around this track.
“Anyway… I think I was in 11th place, saving fuel behind my team-mate… It's always like that when you are in a good position and saving fuel that you don't finish…
“It's a shame as we could have got some points today, but I didn't get to see what we could do.”
Meanwhile, McLaren Honda said it is still investigating the exact reason for Button's exit.
“At the moment, our ICE data on Jenson's car isn't showing any signs of issues, so his retirement cause is unknown. We'll investigate this once the car is back in the garage,” said Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda's F1 project head and executive chief engineer.