Jenson Button believed he had the pace and strategy to finish at least seventh in the Bahrain Grand Prix but was disappointed to be forced into retirement due to a possible power unit issue on his McLaren-Honda.
The Briton was battling with Romain Grosjean and Max Verstappen in the early laps, and believed he could have fought them for position only for him to drive to a halt on the back straight after just seven laps.
“Qualifying didn’t go fully to plan, but the pace was there – it’s just been a tough weekend because I think we could have scored a good amount of points,” said Button. “Still, I think we can take away some positives in terms of our outright pace.
“In the race I had a loss of power and then the car stopped. We don’t know yet exactly what the problem was – the car just cut out. I initially felt it out of Turn Two, and I eventually stopped at Turn 10.
“It’s a pity; I got a really good start, and made up lots of places, overtaking three cars at Turn 10 under braking, so I was pretty chuffed with that. So it’s a real shame, as I say: before I stopped, I was saving a lot of fuel, my tyres were in good condition, and I was just cruising behind the cars in front.
“We were going to try something a little bit different with the strategy; the cars we were sat behind finished fifth and sixth, and I felt like we could have had a good fight with them.”
Button praised the work of stand-in team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, who scored the team’s first point of the season in tenth place as he stood in for the injured Fernando Alonso in Bahrain.
“Stoffel has done a solid job this weekend, getting our first point of the year,” said Button. “We were both helped out by the incidents on track, but, all said, he’s done a good job as I say.”