Jenson Button is hoping that the “tireless” work going on at McLaren and Honda will allow him to make progress in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Button was the last classified driver in 11th position and two laps behind winner Lewis Hamilton in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. His fastest lap was nearly 2.5 seconds slower than Hamilton's.
“Melbourne was certainly a challenging weekend for us, but there were positives to take from it,” said Button, 35, who is joined by Fernando Alonso this weekend after Kevin Magnussen subbed for the Spaniard in Australia but failed to make the starting grid.
“A lot of our performance was largely unknown coming into the weekend given the limited running we had over winter testing. Despite our finishing position, getting to the chequered flag has meant that we’re now armed with much more data about our package and we can learn a huge amount from it.
“Of course, nobody can be happy with finishing at the back of the pack, and we know there is a lot to do to bridge the gap to the rest of the field. However, the work going on within McLaren-Honda both in Woking and Sakura is relentless; the whole team is working tirelessly to keep developing our package to ensure we keep making steady progress."
Malaysia “another tricky step”
Button admits that the two-week gap between Melbourne and Sepang has not allowed much scope for improvements between the two grands prix, and that the extreme heat could cause further problems.
“Malaysia will be another tricky step in the learning process for us,” he admitted. “It’s often an unpredictable race and the extreme temperatures will test our car and tyres to limits that they haven’t been exposed to yet in testing.
“With the possibility of rain added to the mix, it will be interesting to see how our car behaves in changeable conditions. Our aim is to maximise our mileage throughout the whole weekend.”