• Bahrain Grand Prix

Button confused by lack of pace

ESPNF1 Staff
April 22, 2012 « Fifth the maximum recovery for Rosberg | Webber satisfied with opening races »
Jenson Button: "Most of the time we were 1.0s or 1.5s off the pace and we really don't know why that is" © Sutton Images
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Jenson Button was at a loss to explain why McLaren were off the pace during the Bahrain Grand Prix, but felt he could have had a strong finish had he not retired.

Button pulled into the pits with differential and exhaust problems two laps from the end, but admitted he was concerned about his car's pace after running in seventh towards the end of the race.

"I don't understand why we were so far off the pace," he said. "You don't expect to win every grand prix with the way Formula One is at the moment, but most of the time we were 1.0s or 1.5s off the pace and we really don't know why that is."

He added: "I didn't have a very good balance today: I was struggling all afternoon with oversteer. We were taking front wing out of the car all the way through the race, in fact."

Button said his pace relative to the cars ahead improved towards the end of the race after he looked after his tyres, but he was not able to reap the rewards.

"My final stint was a long one, and, if I hadn't struck trouble, I reckon things would have got quite interesting in the final laps," he said. "Some drivers had pushed harder at the start of that stint, but I'd been looking after my tyres. Into the last five laps, I started pushing pretty hard, and I caught up with Paul [di Resta] and Nico [Rosberg]. But, just as I braked for the final corner [on lap 53], the right-front corner lifted up in the air and I realised I had a [left-rear] puncture. So I quickly radioed the team, and pitted.

"In the last few laps, the car sounded really noisy. I think the initial problem was an exhaust failure, then my puncture, and then a differential failure; so I had to retire.

"It's been a pretty difficult weekend for the whole team."