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Pit error may have cost Button podium

Mar 24, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia Getty Images

Jenson Button believes that he could have challenged Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for a place on the podium had a mistake in the pits not ruined his race.

When making his third stop, Button left his pit box before the front right wheel had been attached properly, causing him to stop outside the Sauber garage. Eventually, his mechanics wheeled him back, but by the time he left the pits he was well down the order.

“I don’t know what would have happened. We could have pushed the Mercedes and they were fighting between themselves so it could have been interesting. I think at worst it would have been fifth.”

Instead, Button retired from the race with three laps to go, which will entitle him to a fresh gearbox for the Chinese Grand Prix in three weeks’ time. McLaren may have struggled in the opening two races, but Button feels that the team has made a step forward.

“It is a good improvement over the last race just a week ago. We never thought we would be fighting for fifth, let alone a little bit better, so there are positives.

“But it is always very tough when you have an issue like this as it is a lot of points to throw away – even fifth is ten points.”

Subsequently, McLaren sit seventh in the constructors’ championship with just four points.

The team will be pleased with their pace today though, and Sergio Perez proved the capability of the MP4-28 by setting the fastest lap of the race late on. However, four points from the opening two races is not the start McLaren would have wanted to make, and there will be a lot of hard work in Woking ahead of the next race in China.

  1. worknman24hours - Mar 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    Mclaren needs to get their act together.

    The entire team needs to go out and get stupid drunk together and have fist fights with everyone else on the team to clean out whatever disagreements they all harbor amongst each other.

    The season is starting to run away from them fast.

  2. ecmotoast - Mar 24, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Jenson did all he could. At one point he was actually in the lead! For McLaren to blow a pit stop like that is bewildering. They are squandering all of their advantages. I have lots of respect for Jenson and Sergio they are doing a great job under very difficult circumstances.

    Whitmarsh better watch out or he will be out on his ear! I’d love to hear what Ron Dennis thinks of all of this. Maybe McLaren should grab Ross Brawn if Merc is silly enough to send him packing. Or maybe we will see Ron Dennis himself show up on McLaren pit row. Then the sparks will really fly! Gotta love F1. I just hope Bruce McLaren is not looking down on all of this with disgust from his perch in Heaven.

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