- Spanish GP - Race
Pit stop gamble cost us points finish - Button
Jenson Button believes a slice of misfortune during his second pit stop ultimately cost him the chance of marking the improvements made by McLaren with a points finish.
Button finished 4.4s down on Nico Hulkenberg, who took 10th place, after attempting to undercut the Force India pair by following Sergio Perez into the pits at the end of his middle stint, in anticipation of the German's stop a lap later. Button had to wait to be released from his pit box and then found himself stuck behind the unusual sight of a slow lapping Lewis Hamilton, who was on old tyres, and he feels that was ultimately the decisive factor in finishing out of the points for the third straight race.
"The start and the first lap cost me a lot of time and my second pit-stop compromised my strategy. During the first two stints, it felt like we were making progress, because we were faster than the cars in front.
"But we gambled on taking the second stop early, thinking we could jump one of the Force Indias, but Daniil [Kvyat's] Toro Rosso followed me in, and caused my release to be delayed by a few seconds while he came past me in the pit-lane."
"Then I came out of the pits just in front of Lewis , who was lapping me. He was running old tyres, while I was on fresh rubber; I had to let him past, but it delayed me a bit more."
Button also felt he was facing an uphill battle after a slow getaway off the line.
"The first lap made all the difference really. It can put you in a good position or a bad one, it's so difficult to overtake around here. The first lap really cost us a lot. I just got swamped down the straight and then was at the back of a long line of cars."
Despite Spain being the third race in a row where McLaren failed to score a single point, Button believes the team has made progress it can build on in Monaco.
"A lot of work to do but the car did feel a lot better in the race, we just couldn't do anything with it. We won't be challenging for a victory any time soon, but we're pushing hard. I don't think the teams are that far in front of us, the Williams and the Ferraris, and [catching them] puts us fifth which is good."