• Malaysian Grand Prix

Button was on for podium finish

ESPN Staff
March 24, 2013 « Lotus perplexed by lost pace | 'Ruthless to the point of immorality' »
Jenson Button had to be wheeled back to the McLaren pit box with a loose wheel © Getty Images

Jenson Button believes McLaren was in good shape to challenge for third place when he was force to retire from the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Having started the weekend in crisis, McLaren showed good improvement on Saturday morning to be more competitive in dry conditions and Button was running fifth for much of the race. Having led before his third pit stop, Button then had to stop in the pit lane as his front right tyre was fitted incorrectly, and he believes he would have been in the mix for third place but for that mistake.

"It was a good race, I think we did everything right; called the conditions correctly and pitted on the correct laps and looked after the tyres as we should," Button said. "We would have only had to have done three stops instead of four which would have made it interesting with the Mercedes I think, but there you go.

"It is what it is; we had a problem in the pit stop. Once you've turned the car off, pushed the car back and changed a wheel you're never going to get a result. We had a chance of getting a point in the end but I was struggling with the front left, kept locking up and I had such a bad vibration I think they were worried about the front left suspension because of the locking so they called me in."

Button's team-mate Sergio Perez brought home two points in ninth place after a very late pit stop as he failed to complete the strategy Button was targeting. Perez said that explained his fastest lap, but if the team had timed his third stop better he could have held on to eighth place.

"We stopped with two laps to go and we managed to put in a good lap," Perez said. "It's a shame, pretty much we lost a position; we should have finished eighth but we didn't stop at the right time. Anyway it's good points for the team and we have to keep improving. We are going in the right direction so hopefully for Shanghai we can be better."