The home Grand Prix for the McLaren-Mercedes team went better than many were expecting, with Jenson Button coming home fourth and Kevin Magnussen seventh at Silverstone.
For Button, also driving at his home race, he missed out on his first British Grand Prix podium by less than a second as he attempted to close down the gap to the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo who was struggling on much older tyres. Button was happy to have good on-track battles with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, and to finish ahead of them both in fourth.
“Circuits with high-speed changes of direction aren’t really our car’s forte, so I think we can go away from Silverstone feeling encouraged by what we achieved this weekend,” said Button. “Specifically, it was great to have such a good fight with Fernando, and it was encouraging to be able to pull away from him and Sebastian in the last stint.
“At the end, I crossed the line only 0.9s behind Daniel [Ricciardo]; if there’d been just one more lap, I think I could have made it past. I got so close to a podium finish – and I think it would’ve been so great for the fans to see Lewis and me up there together. I’m sorry it didn’t quite happen, but I want to say a big thank-you to all the fans, and to my family, and last but not least to the entire McLaren team – everyone has been so supportive this weekend.
“Looking to the future, although today has seen us take another step forward, it’s apparent that we still have a lot of work to: for example, even though Williams started behind us [on the grid], they still beat us today. Nonetheless, we’re certainly not giving up. On the contrary, it’s important that we continue to work hard to develop this car, so as to score as many world championship points as we can this year and learn as much as we can for next year.”
Team-mate Magnussen made a good start to run third early in the race, but was on the back foot from there on in to hold off the challenge of the Red Bull’s and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. He was happy to finish seventh in the end, and feels the team are making good progress with the development of the car.
“Today has been a good day for the team – we scored 18 points – so we should feel reasonably satisfied, because we’re continuing to improve,” said Magnussen. “Also, the engineers and mechanics did a truly great job this weekend. Having said that, all the other teams are continuing to improve, too; so our challenge is really about making progress faster than the others do.
“My race went okay – we struggled a little on the Option [tyre], and we had much better pace on the Prime. It’s always frustrating when you slip back through the order a bit – but I made a really good start to be third initially, and after that I struggled to keep the Ferrari and Red Bull behind.
“So, as I say, I think we should be reasonably satisfied with seventh place. But I’m really pleased for Jenson, who was able to score a great fourth place for the team.
“Last but not least, I want to pay tribute to the Silverstone fans. It’s been fantastic racing in front of them all today, especially as so many of them are McLaren fans. I’d love to have finished a bit higher for you, guys, but I don’t think we had the pace today.”
Racing Director Eric Boullier was happy the team were able to convert a strong qualifying into a good race result. He was obviously a little disappointed that Button ran out of laps to challenge Ricciardo for the podium, but overall praised both drivers for their efforts throughout the British Grand Prix.
“We’re satisfied that we were able to convert a good qualifying performance yesterday into a decent race result today,” said Boullier. “In achieving that outcome, our engineers and mechanics here at Silverstone didn’t put a foot wrong, and they deserve great credit for getting the absolute maximum out of the package that they have at their disposal at the moment.
“Obviously, we’d like to have scored more points still, especially as Jenson missed achieving his first ever British Grand Prix podium finish by a whisker. Indeed, once Nico [Rosberg] had retired, we decided to target a third-place result for Jenson, but in the end it wasn’t quite possible. Nonetheless, he drove a superb race and richly deserved the 12 world championship points he scored here today. Kevin drove very well, too, making a storming start to be third into Turn One and ending up a solid seventh at the flag.
“We hadn’t expected to be competitive at this circuit, whose many fast corners we felt wouldn’t suit MP4-29’s aerodynamic envelope, so we’re pleased to have scored 18 points here. More broadly, as I’ve said before, it’s clear that we’re making progress, even if that progress is necessarily not as rapid as we’d ideally like it to be, and I’m confident that that progress will continue; we’re on-track.
“Last but not least, on behalf of all at McLaren, I want to say how relieved we all are to hear that our old friend Kimi [Raikkonen] is okay following his hefty lap-one shunt.”