McLaren-Honda's Jenson Button put a “pig's ear of a start” behind to come back to finish twelfth in the Italian Grand Prix, on an “emotional weekend” when it was announced he will take a sabbatical in 2017.
After confirmation on Saturday that the Briton will not race next season, but could yet return in 2018, Button lined-up 14th on the grid. However, he found himself last at the end of the first lap, and freely conceded it was his own fault.
Button replaced by Vandoorne at McLaren for 2017
“The first lap was a mess and I made mistakes I shouldn't have,” Button admitted. “Hopefully I can be let off for that, it's been an emotional weekend and not the best preparation at all.
“I'm glad yesterday is behind me and once I got the first lap out of the way I sorted myself out.”
Asked precisely what happened on that first lap, he replied: “I made a pig's ear at the start. Sat there with the wheels spinning it was totally my fault. Annoying because the initial getaway was good.
“Then through Lesmo I got pushed off by one of the Saubers, he just drove me straight off the circuit and I ended up in the gravel trap and last so I thought this is going to be a tough afternoon and it was but also a really an enjoyable afternoon [too]. I don't think it was a bad day at all [in the end].”
to P12, Button made a good late move on team-mate, Fernando Alonso into Turn 1, with the Spaniard eventually finishing back in 14th, having opted to stop an extra time so he could bag the fastest lap.
“Fernando didn't cover the inside which is good, it's always tough getting passed him. He's pretty late on the brakes, but I was a touch later,” Button recalled.
“So [overall] to come through and finish twelfth – is not great – but to be that close to eleventh I don't think is too bad from last.”
Dennis: This is not retirement for Button
Quizzed on what might have been possible, but for that error strewn start, Button added that he thought tenth was probably the maximum.
“I think we could have challenged [Nico] Hulkenberg for a point, but that would have been it. He was only 13 seconds in front so I don't think that was unreachable.”
Meanwhile, looking to Singapore later this month, Button thinks it should definitely be better for McLaren-Honda.
“Hopefully going to Singapore it will definitely suit as a bit more. I think we still struggle a bit with traction, but it will definitely suit us better than here, this is our toughest circuit of the year.
“I think we're still down [on power]. But we're working on it and there's improvements all the time and that's all we can hope for. We're racing against the best teams in the world and it takes time. You're not just going to find 30kw, so we weren't quick enough today, but I don't think it was as bad as we thought.”
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