McLaren playing catch-up again

2012-05-29 07:33

LONDON, England - Jenson Button left the 2012 Monaco Formula 1 paddock on Sunday feeling more like the long-suffering Honda also-ran he once was than a McLaren World championship contender.

His fear, shared by team mate Lewis Hamilton, is that McLaren is falling behind its rivals at a time when it should have been powering ahead as others dropped points.


Button, the 2009 F1 champion with Brawn GP, won the season-opening Australian GP with a car that appeared to be the quickest on the grid as well as the most attractive. After Sunday's sixth round of the season, the Briton looked at the points standings on the table in front of him and shook his head sadly.

"It's my leanest period since my old Honda days," grimaced the driver whose last race for Honda in 2008 ended with the car catching fire. He had scored only three points that entire season. "S... happens sometimes. I've just got to clear it up and move on."

Button has scored only two points from his previous three races and drawn a blank in three of the six. He scored 25 points in Australia but just 20 from all the rest.

He didn't finish in Monaco, instead colliding and retiring with a puncture after chasing Heikki Kovalainen's Caterham - a car that has yet to score a point in F1 - for much of the afternoon in 13th place. As he observed with a wry smile, at least the puncture put him out of his misery.


"Since I joined the team everything has gone amazingly well and after every few races the confidence would step up a gear, with the understanding of the car and working with the engineers," he said. "Even into this year, with the first race (it was going well). The first three races were good, I was happy. But suddenly the last three races, I don't know where the pace and feeling I get from the car has gone. I haven't had that before.

"It's tough but it's nothing we can't sort out. We will solve the issues. It's just whether we do it in time," said the 32-year-old, whose smooth style means he has struggled in the past to get vital heat into the tyres.

Team mate Hamilton was fifth in Monaco after starting third; the 2008 champion also concerned that the team was going backwards.

"The team definitely has work to do. I've fallen behind and race by race we are getting further and further behind the others," he told reporters after a frustrating afternoon on his favourite track. "I'm still there, but we are falling behind bit by bit, which is tough for us, but we will keep pushing, keep fighting.

"I lost a lot of points and we have to focus on trying not to lose any more... I have to go back to the drawing board, find out where we are losing time and work on that."

Both will hope they can regain their edge in time for the next race in Canada, a track that has been good to McLaren. Button won there in a rain-lashed epic in 2011, Hamilton in 2007 and 2010.


  • Patrick - 2012-05-29 12:35

    Stop moaning and put in better qualifying times.....

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