Jenson Button was delighted to leave Hockenheim with points eighth place in the German Grand Prix after a tough weekend that left him with less track time than he would have liked.
The Briton's build-up to qualifying and the race was highlighted by a trip to Mannheaim hospital to have debris removed from his eye, but he set his sights on a top ten finish to take into the impending summer break and made the most of a good getaway to ensure that he achieved his aim.
Having out-qualified McLaren team-mate, Button gained immediate places to move up from twelfth on the grid and into the points positions, but he admits that it was still a tough afternoon as he battled fuel and tyre concerns throughout the 67 laps.
RESULTS: German Grand Prix – Race results
“It was a very good start and I made up most of the places there,” he confirmed, “After that, it was just looking after the tyres as they were degrading quicker than I expected them to, and a lot of fuel save as well…
“It's tough on tyres this place, rears especially, so a tough weekend all round really. Not having enough time in the car, to find a balance that sort of worked was good. I went off the circuit towards the end as I was doing so much fuel saving that I hit the brakes and they were stone cold because I hadn't been braking hard!
“I don't know if other people struggled [with fuel consumption], but we struggled more than I expected. Maybe we're quicker than we expected, but I was struggling [at the end] because [Alonso] was pushing me… I was like 'he must have the same problems as me…' and he was actually having them worse, but he wasn't lifting off as much!”
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While Alonso – who had closed from six seconds back to nearly nothing as Button nursed his car – eventually 'went out the back and finished twelfth' as the 2009 world champion put it, the Briton was actually able to make up another place in the closing laps.
A lot of work with the brake bias and engine braking to solve the issues and, near the end, I was able to pick off the Williams, which was struggling with tyres,” he explained, “It's always the great comment isn't it – 'you're catching the car in front by three seconds a lap – but don't forget to save fuel...'. It's not something you want to hear, but I'd saved enough on the previous lap so I was safe to mount a challenge.”
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Given the circumstances, Button was delighted to come away with four points, admitting that, despite the stellar progress being made by both McLaren and Honda, challenging much further up the order remains a dream for now.
“There's been a few races that have been tough to stomach by not finishing, so I'm happy to get some points here,” he conceded, “There's still a long way to go before we're catching those six cars at the front, to race at the front – and not get lapped – so this was as good as it was going to get this weekend. We were 20secs behind the car in front, so I don't think that's too bad a result. We executed the race perfectly - 20secs behind the Force India is not where we want to be but, on another type of circuit, we might beat them.
Button also admitted that he was 'looking forward to a holiday', which he intended to spend on a beach lounger with a guilt-free beer, but noted the gains that his team had made in the twelve races to date.
“There's good progress,” he concluded, “We're consistently fighting in the points - getting sevenths, eighths, sixths - so it's getting there, but it's just nowhere as quick as you'd hope. The team are doing a fabulous job though, they really are, and bringing something new every race. I bet there's no other team like that so I'm happy with the way things are going.”