Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen both retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix due to clutch problems.

During the safety car period - with a little over ten laps remaining - Magnussen pulled off the track with smoke emanating from his airbox, while Button then started slipping out of the points before retiring his car in to the garage on the penultimate lap. Racing director Eric Boullier confirmed after the race that clutch issues were to blame and said the double retirement was disappointing as the team has been trying to focus on reliability early on.

"It goes without saying that we're leaving Bahrain bitterly disappointed," Boullier said. "We didn't have the fastest car this weekend, we know that, but, had our cars not both been afflicted with clutch problems towards the end of the race, triggering their retirements, at least we'd have been leaving with some more championship points on the scoreboard.

"In fact, had Jenson's car run reliably to the flag, there's every chance that he'd have been fighting for fifth, fourth or potentially even third place. Granted, minor placings aren't what McLaren is all about - on the contrary we exist to win - but a third-, fourth- or fifth-place finish would have been extremely welcome in terms of our achieving what we'd set out to accomplish in these early-in-the-season fly-away races: namely, steadily pick up championship points while we develop our car's performance envelope for the beginning of the European season in Barcelona."

Button explained how the problem had manifested itself and said the DNF was all the more annoying due to how competitive the car had been.

"There's something wrong with the clutch," Button said. "Behind the safety car the guys were telling me not to shift and also to try some different settings. As soon as the safety car came in the shifts were terrible, we think we lost about a second and a half on the straights and also under braking as well because every time you shift you just get push.

"The tough thing was there was only one team that was quicker than us today, which was a little bit unexpected really. Fighting for the Force India's for third place - we were in fifth obviously - we felt that our long run pace was very good, especially the last few laps. So we could have raced them very hard."



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