Jenson Button’s 250th F1 start ended in disappointment after he retired from the race with a clutch problem. The Brit believes a top five result could have been possible had he not encountered the reliability issue.
The 34-year-old started the race from sixth on the grid and maintained his position during the opening two stints. However, he dropped back after his final pit stop and was eventually forced to exit the race with just a handful of laps remaining.
“In terms of pace, we took a step forward this weekend,” Button said. “Moreover, our degradation was positive and I think we did a very good job understanding our tyres. Only one team were demonstrably quicker than us today – Mercedes – but sadly they were a lot quicker than us.
“It’s tough for all the team, because they all worked really well and really hard. We were set for fifth place at worst and a podium finish at best, and that would have been a very positive outcome for all of us.”
He said the race contained “lots of good racing” and added: “Formula 1 may have new power units and technical regs this year, but it’s clearly every bit as good as it ever was in terms of on-track spectacle.”
Kevin Magnussen registered the first DNF of his F1 career earlier in the race due to an almost identical problem. “That wasn’t a great race for me,” he admitted. “The start wasn’t ideal – I lost three positions – and after that we just didn’t have enough pace to make progress towards the front.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t score points today – two DNFs is never pleasant for any team – but we’ll approach the Chinese Grand Prix with the aim of doing quite a bit better than we did here in Bahrain.”
Image courtesy of McLaren Mercedes