Jenson Button finished twelfth in the Mexican Grand Prix, but admitted it was a tough day with overtaking extremely difficult around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
The McLaren-Honda F1 Team racer felt a top ten finish would have been out of reach even with clear air, but he did manage a series of overtakes throughout the race to move up into twelfth.
“We did a one-stop strategy, but the problem for us – for everyone, I think – was that you just couldn’t overtake,” said Button. “We lost so much time in the first thirty laps of the stint on the Back-Up [tyres] in traffic behind other cars.
“I was stuck behind Kevin [Magnussen], then Fernando [Alonso], then Carlos [Sainz Jr], and then [Jolyon] Palmer. It was really difficult to overtake but I eventually got past them all – our pace was really good then – and we did as well as we could have done.
“Even if we’d had clear air ahead of us I still don’t think we could have finished tenth though.”
Button admitted it was a tough racetrack to overtake, despite the long pit straight and DRS, with staying close in the last corner being the main problem. The Briton also revealed that he could have gambled on making a first lap pit stop, but because of his position on track, it was a gamble he was not prepared to take.
“The actual pace was good during the race, as I say, and I had some fun out there overtaking, and enjoyed some good fights, but it’s just so difficult to pass here,” said Button. “You wouldn’t think so with such a long straight, but out of the last corner you just can’t stay close.
“When you do get past, you suddenly find the time, but in the process you’ve lost so much compared with the people who stopped on lap one. We could have stopped on lap one ourselves, but, when you’re in twelfth or thirteenth place, it’s not a great position, but it’s also not a bad enough position to say ‘let’s take a gamble’ when you’re potentially on the edge of the points.
“All in all, it was a really unusual race, and it’s a pity because we could have finished a lot higher up had we gambled, but you don’t know that in advance. It was still a fun race for me and I definitely got the best out of the car today – and that’s all you can hope for.”