After the positive result in Sochi three weeks ago, the McLaren Mercedes team came down to earth in Austin, with both Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button struggling for pace and with tyre degradation that saw them eighth and twelfth in the United States Grand Prix.
Magnussen felt eighth was the result he could have achieved as his tyres deteriorated towards the end of the race, losing seventh to the fresher tyre-shod Red Bull Racing machine of Sebastian Vettel on the penultimate lap.
“Eighth position isn’t a fantastic result, but I honestly don’t think we could have got much more out of the car this afternoon,” said Magnussen. “It’s a shame that Jenson lost out on a points finish at the end – I guess he must have run out of tyres – but I was fortunate enough to be slightly farther up the road, which enabled me to keep ahead of the cars chasing me down. Fortunately, therefore, I didn’t lose out too much.
“I can’t be too unhappy with today’s result, but it’s not really been a weekend for the team to remember. Still, we now head straight to Brazil for another grand prix in just a few days’ time – I’m really looking to driving at Interlagos, which looks like a fantastic racetrack, and I very much hope we can have a better weekend there.”
Button started and finished twelfth but was fighting for points for most of the afternoon, but his tyre degradation meant that over the final laps he dropped like a stone. He was disappointed to miss out on points but is hoping for better luck next weekend in Brazil.
“I just went backwards today,” said Button. “The only fun bit of the afternoon was my fight with Fernando. But, apart from that, it was pretty dull out there.
“It’s unusual for our car to suffer tyre degradation as damaging as we did today, and I experienced particularly significant issues with the rears. Their surface temperatures were getting really hot, yet their core temperatures were dropping. That meant we were slipping and sliding around, and as a result I was really struggling compared with the drivers around me.
“Hopefully, Brazil will suit us a little bit better.”