• Monaco Grand Prix

McLaren error caused Button retirement

ESPNF1 Staff
May 17, 2010 « Schumacher demoted to 12th after safety-car penalty | »
Jenson Button's engine blew early in the race © Getty Images
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Jenson Button has confirmed that his engine failure and retirement from the Monaco Grand Prix was caused by a cooling cover being left on his left-hand sidepod during the formation lap.

Button's engine finally let go under the safety car and he parked his McLaren on the hill going up from Sainte Devote.

"It is disappointing for everyone in the team and for the person responsible," Button said. "I know these things happen but it is just hard to accept when it does. Obviously he is devastated. When you are trying to do your best and you make a mistake it is devastating.

"It is a cooling cover usually used in the garage or in transport. It was left in. The car went to the grid with no airflow and was cooked. You do what you can but you cannot recover from that. These cars don't have fans, they rely on airflow, so if you deny that you are not going to survive very long.

"It's a mistake that you would think shouldn't happen but it does. I'm sure the guy who did not pull it out is gutted. I feel sorry for the guy. We all make mistakes. We just have to make sure we don't make them again. It's done now. Last week was annoying because I lost everything on the steering wheel. But this one was a race stopper.

"We thought everything was going to be okay, and it would probably have been fine if we hadn't had a Safety Car. My car quickly began to overheat and I started losing engine power, so I turned the engine off pretty sharply because the last thing I wanted was to leave engine oil on the racing line."

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton picked up 10 points in fifth place after nursing his brakes for the second half of the race to avoid a second retirement in a row.

"I got quite a good start, and was challenging the guys on the second row into turn one, but it just wasn't possible to make a move stick," he recalled. "It's virtually impossible to overtake around here, especially when the guys in front of me were as fast as I was. After the result in Barcelona, I didn't want any further mishaps, so I just looked after the car and went for the points. It was quite a straightforward race for me, and fifth was the maximum possible, but I'm not complaining; we need those points. I know we're working hard to bring improvements to the car for Turkey, and I'm sure we'll be able to make up the gap to the front at some stage soon."