Jenson Button: “Obviously a very difficult day”

Jenson Button had another nightmare weekend in Canada, retiring from the race early due to an exhaust issue after starting from the back of the grid following an engine issue during practice the running on Saturday.

The McLaren-Honda driver was also forced to take a drive-through penalty early in the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after parts of his power unit were changed to a fifth component.

The British driver admitted his afternoon was difficult on Sunday, having issues conserving fuel and with tyre temperatures.

“It was obviously a very difficult day, made even more difficult for me since I’d started last with the addition of a drive-through penalty in the first three laps,” said Button. “I was then obviously out of sequence; the leaders lapped me, pitted and then lapped me again.

“One of our biggest issues today was fuel saving. In addition, we lost a bit of tyre temperature as well. That said, our pace on the Prime tyre was pretty good.”

Despite the bad weekend for the whole McLaren team, Button insists that the team are making continuous progress with the car, saying that the car has improved significantly since the season opener in Australia back in March.

“I guess it’s easy for people to look at today’s result and say we’re having a bad season, but that’s not actually the case,” said Button. “We’ve made very big improvements since the first race, in fact. You do have difficult days, and today was undoubtedly one of those, but that’s always the way of it when you begin a new project and you’re starting from zero.

“So, yes, we’re still quite a long way behind the other teams in terms of power unit development, and even the design philosophy behind our car too; but if you don’t take a stab at it at the start of the season with a new project like this, you’re never going to be able to fight the top guys.

“Today was quite painful, yes, but so far this season there’s been improvement at every race, with the exception of today. The layout of the circuit here was always going to be tough on us, but hopefully we’ll be back on track in Austria where we have some updates coming.”