Button Delighted With Points Finish In Sochi
McLaren Honda had a great Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday as Jenson Button who started the race from 13th place on the grid finished the race in the points in ninth place benefiting from problems for his rivals. The 2009 world champion came home in ninth place just behind Kimi Raikkonen and just ahead of the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen.
Speaking following the race, Button commented by saying:
Today, we did everything right, did the best we could, and we took home some points.
“I was a sitting duck for the first couple of laps: I couldn’t really fight off the people behind, my deployment was cutting off at the end of the straights, so it was very easy for people to overtake. That was tricky: they were trying to pass me into Turn 13, which is a pretty scary place, especially when you don’t have DRS and can’t gauge the closing speed of the cars behind.
“Still, it wasn’t bad. I was racing Fernando for the whole race, which was all I could really do, as all the other cars were quicker.
“We haven’t made massive progress with the car’s performance, but we did lots of interesting things with the set-up this weekend. We’ll analyse those and see whether they paid off or not.
Fernando Alonso was celebrating his 250th Grand Prix event in Sochi and was running in tenth place however following the race he was penalized for exceeding the track limits and as a result was handed a 5s time penalty which was added to his race time and was classified in 11th place.
The Spaniard’s result was made all the better despite the penalty as he started the race from 19th place on the grid.
Speaking following the race the double world champion commented by saying:
To have both cars finish in the top 10 at a circuit where we didn’t expect to fare well, was a nice surprise. It was just a shame to lose out afterwards [owing to a 5s penalty for corner-cutting]. In fact, the car performed very well in the race – I think we were able to look after the tyres a little bit better than the cars around us, and, on an afternoon where every little bit helped, we made the most of that.
“We’ll now hope for more performance at the next race, in the USA. It’ll be tough, and we’ll have to remain realistic, but I’m definitely happy with today’s result.
“Now, we can keep moving forwards and improve things for the future.
McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier commented following the race by saying:
Rarely, if ever, have two world championship points been harder earned or more richly deserved, for Jenson and Fernando both drove the wheels off their MP4-30s here in Sochi today.
“This circuit isn’t one that suits our car well, and our boys duly found it difficult to defend their positions on the straights in particular. But they didn’t put a foot wrong all afternoon, finishing ninth and 10th on the road, and I’m delighted that, as a result, we were able to score another points finish, even though sadly Fernando later lost his 10th place in the stewards’ room.
“I’d also like to say ‘well done’ to our friends at Honda, whose power units again performed with commendable reliability.
“We’ve got a lot of work still to do, but the good news is that, together, we’re successfully doing it.
“Next up is the United States Grand Prix at Austin, where we’re hoping to continue making steady progress. We know we’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re getting there.
Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of Motorsport Yasuhsia Arai commented by saying:
I’m glad to have two cars home after such a chaotic race – and for Jenson to score two points for ninth position. Not only was this a difficult track for our power units, but there were also two Safety Car incidents and many more retirements.
“Our drivers and team remained calm throughout the afternoon, and we were able to stick to our strategies. I’m sure it was difficult to save fuel, keep calm, and push when needed during the race, but I think we came together in the end as a team.
“This points finish will be good motivation for further improvement at our next grand prix, in the United States.
Following the points finish in Russia McLaren have maintained their ninth place in the championship and head to the US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas in two weeks time on 19 points.