• Australian Grand Prix

Downbeat Button expects 'tough week'

ESPN Staff
March 17, 2013 « Rosberg looks at positives after retirement | 'It was tough ... we lack pace' admits Perez »
Jenson Button admitted two points for ninth place is better than he expected to be able to score © Sutton Images

Jenson Button believes McLaren is facing "a tough week" leading in to the Malaysian Grand Prix after finishing ninth in Australia.

After qualifying tenth, Button was never in contention with the front runners and finished the race one place further forward but a massive 1m20s behind race winner Kimi Raikkonen. Button believes he was actually slower than ninth place suggests and was able to defend at Melbourne but that McLaren will struggle to repeat the performance in Malaysia.

"You can overtake in Malaysia..." Button said. "You look at it one way: Silverstone last year I finished tenth, so I'm one place higher here so we had bad spots last year but I think there's a lot more for us to do to get back to the front than last year. Good to get a couple of points but it doesn't really ease the pain, I think we're going to have a tough week. Malaysia is obviously next weekend; we can't really do too much then but hopefully we can understand the car a little bit after the race today and extract a bit more performance."

Button cited the main reason for his lack of pace as a set-up mistake by McLaren which forced him to pit too early at the start of the race.

"I didn't expect to get that many [points] today. I think we should be happy with how we went about the race. People find it very difficult to overtake me - that's why I finished where I did - but we thought the super softs were going to last for about two laps so we set them up to last for three laps and as soon as lap four started everyone else's tyres started getting good but mine were just ... I could see the fronts throwing rubber off everywhere!

"The tyres actually got better through the run as the graining cleaned but that's experience; we'd never seen that in testing so we didn't expect that. So we had to pit very early and that meant I had to have three very long stints on the medium tyre and that was quite tricky."