Jenson Button has said that he is pleased with the “small but definite” improvement made by McLaren at the Belgian Grand Prix. The team brought a handful of upgrades to the circuit and they seemed to pay off, Button racing strongly to sixth place after reverting from a one to a two-stop strategy.
The Brit has previously criticised the handling of the McLaren MP4-28 but admitted that he “really enjoyed driving the car” and had “fun” racing around the iconic circuit.
Speaking in a team statement he discussed how his race panned out, saying: “We were trying for a one-stop strategy at the start of the race, then we adapted that to a two-stopper later on. We gave it a go, but our pace still wasn’t quite as good as that of the cars in front of us, so we couldn’t really chase them down at the end of the race.
“In terms of performance there’s been a small but definite improvement, so we should be pleased with the progress we’ve made. I’m pretty happy with the feel of the car now, in fact; okay, there’s still room for improvement in terms of pace, but the good thing is that we know which areas we should be focusing on.”
He added that while he won’t be challenging for victories at the next round in Monza, he is eagerly awaiting the race: “So I’m looking forward to Monza – another great circuit – where hopefully we can take another small step. We’re not going to be fighting at the front, we know that; instead we’re concentrating on ourselves, gradually understanding more about the car, and progressively improving things.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez finished 11th after a messy race that included a drive-through penalty. He said it was always going to be tricky to score points after the unscheduled trip through the pit lane.
Speaking on the incident he said: “What happened with Romain [Grosjean] was unfortunate. I got ahead of him, and took the corner, but I now understand where the penalty came from, even if I’m naturally disappointed for myself and for the team. These things are always difficult, but the team spirit at McLaren is unbelievably strong and now, together, we simply have to move on.”
He added: “What we must now do is look ahead to Monza, and do our very best to make up for the points we missed out on here at Spa.”
Martin Whitmarsh had mixed emotions after the race. He was pleased with Button’s “faultless” race and the improvements made to the MP4-28, but admitted that he was disappointed not to have two cars in the points as he felt that without the drive-through, Perez would have definitely scored points.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic