McLaren’s Jenson Button said he has “never been so pleased to get out of a car” after he finished a lowly 12th in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, once place behind his team-mate Sergio Perez.
The result ended McLaren’s impressive 64-race streak in the points and highlighted their current plight. The team are sixth in the constructors’ championship, 164 points behind leaders Red Bull while neither Button or Perez has come close to scoring a podium.
Button, the 2009 world champion, tried a one-stop strategy in Montreal, while his team-mate Sergio Perez did two stops, however both drivers struggled and finished just three seconds apart.
There were long faces among the McLaren management – team principal Martin Whitmarsh, managing director Jonathan Neale and sporting director Sam Michael – at the airport last night.
The car does have underlying pace, though. In the race, the McLaren was 0.5 seconds faster than Toro Rosso and lapping around the same pace as Force India.
However, while Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne achieved sixth and Force’s Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil seventh and 10th respectively, McLaren failed to score and Button never ran higher than 10th.
Button said: “It was just one of those difficult days that you have. The team told me a lap time to follow so that we could be sure of keeping the tyres alive long enough to stay on a one-stop schedule, but it turned out that they lasted a lot better than we thought and that I could have been going a lot quicker.”
Whitmarsh admitted the team had made mistakes. “We got it wrong. With Jenson, we should have started on the prime tyre. We really stayed out on the option too long, stayed in traffic and lost a lot of time.
“In the case of Jenson, we set him lap time targets which were too slow – and he could have gone much faster. He could have pushed into the points. It was one weekend where we didn’t get it right. We were not quick enough to be at the front but we should have been able to get in the points.”
Button, 33, added: “It was quite painful out there. We got lapped, easily lapped. It was like we were in a different category.”
But the Briton remained positive ahead of his home race at Silverstone on 28-30 June. He said: “I’m still looking forward to my home grand prix. Are we going to be quicker there? Yes. We’re not going to be on the podium I don’t think, but getting into high points has got to be our aim.”