The Danish driver produced a mature and strong drive at the Albert Park Circuit to score a podium finish on his F1 debut. He took the chequered flag in third but was promoted to the runner-up spot thanks to Daniel Ricciardo’s post-race exclusion, which also moved Button up to third.
“The team wouldn’t have employed someone they didn’t think was going to be good,” the Brit said in an interview with the Press Association. “You are always going to have a competitive team-mate, but I’ve never been scared of a team-mate. It’s exciting to have someone that competitive.
“And in the first grand prix of the year, to finish second and third, to have two guys pulling their weight and getting the best out of the car, is fantastic for the team.”
McLaren now leads the constructors’ standings with 33 points. “I can’t remember the last time a team other than Red Bull were leading the constructors’ championship,” Button said. “Although we know it’s not through outright speed, it is through a lot of good team work, and it might only be one race, but it has put a smile on our faces.”
He confirmed that updates will be taken to the second race of the season in Malaysia, but he doesn’t believe the new parts will be enough to close the gap to Mercedes. Nico Rosberg dominated the Australian Grand Prix for the Brackley-based outfit and could have been closely challenged by team-mate Lewis Hamilton had the 2008 world champion not retired on lap three.
“We have upgrades for the next race, but I still don’t think it will be enough to challenge them just yet,” Button added. “If it can put us into the gap between them and everyone else then that will be a good step forward. We just have to keep pushing the team for upgrades, but they have already got their heads down and there is some good stuff coming in the pipeline. I don’t know when a win will happen, but it’s what we are working towards.”
Image courtesy of McLaren Mercedes