• McLaren

McLaren second to Mercedes - Button

ESPN Staff
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Jenson Button's 250th grand prix unravelled after the safety car period © Sutton Images

Jenson Button believes McLaren's double retirement in Bahrain disguises the fact that the team is currently the fastest behind Mercedes.

Clutch problems forced Kevin Magnussen to retire on Lap 40 and they returned to haunt Button late on when he looked well-placed to make a charge after the safety car period. Instead Button went backwards after the restart and eventually pulled into the garage two laps from the end, and he is convinced he could have challenged Sergio Perez for the final spot on the podium.

"It's tough because I think, at worst, we were on for at least a fifth place and I think we could have challenged for the podium, which is a good thing I suppose," he said. "I think there was only one team which was actually quicker than us today and that was Mercedes, obviously that's a different category. But apart from that, I think we raced very well, we could have challenged the Force Indias for a podium."

Button said he is happy to have seen the progress made by McLaren and thinks it sets the team in good stead going forward.

"We didn't finish but in terms of pace during then race, yes," said Button when asked if McLaren had taken a step forward. "Our degradation was positive, I think we've done a very good job understanding the tires, and our pace was there. The only team that was quicker than us today was the Mercedes, Force India was obviously competitive, but I think we would have fought them very well at the end but we didn't get the opportunity."

"It was going really well, the car was working well and there was only one team that was obviously quicker than us, and it was about a second and a half quicker. But apart from that we were looking good - Force Indias we were chasing them at the end of the stints, they struggled more - so I was looking forward to the end of the race on the primes, but we didn't get that opportunity."

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