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Australian GP

Button: We will make rapid progress after completing race mileage

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Jenson Button and McLaren believe that they will be able to make a rapid progress after finishing Australian GP. The Woking based team expecting that the race mileage should help them and Honda to build a vast development.

The Brit finished Australian GP two laps down – but he expressed that completing 58 laps symbolized a superior result in the team’s situations.

“Today has been a good day.” Button said following the race.

“We’re still a long way off, but this is a good starting point – and I enjoyed the race. I even had a good little battle with Checo [Perez]. Today also really helps in terms of development: if we’d done three laps, we’d have learned nothing, so we’ve learned a massive amount by completing a race distance.

“It was also a good opportunity for me to get used to the car and to play around with it, making adjustments in the cockpit. There’s a lot of work still needed – on power, drive-ability, down-force and set-up – but we can make big strides. And, by improving one area, it tends to snowball; more and more areas start to improve, too.

“There were more positives: we’re as quick as the Force India’s in the corners, and we look similar in speed through the corners to the Red Bulls and Sauber’s, too.

“It’s been a tough winter – our longest run in testing was just 12 laps, so today’s 58-lap run was a good step forward – but we know we’ve got a lot of work to do. But, with all of today’s learning, there are many areas we can improve for the next race.”

ERIC BOULLIER – Racing director, McLaren-Honda – “After a tremendously difficult weekend, it’s not easy to find positives, but in fact there are some.

“First and foremost, we’re pleased that Jenson’s car was able to finish the race. He drove extremely well, keeping Checo behind him very adroitly for many laps, and garnering us a great deal of useful data in completing 56 laps.

“Having said that, he was lapped not once but twice by the race winner, Lewis [Hamilton], and we know we have a mountain to climb as far as performance is concerned. Nonetheless, our corner speeds were pretty decent, and there’s definitely untapped potential in MP4-30 that both Honda and ourselves can unlock.

“As for Kevin, he was very unlucky to have his race ended by an as-yet-unspecified power unit glitch before it had even begun.

“Last but very far from least, I want to thank and pay tribute to our mechanics, who’ve worked hard, day after day. They’re unsung heroes, every one of them, which is why I want to take this opportunity to sing their praises in no uncertain terms.

“In two weeks’ time we’ll be racing in Sepang [Malaysia], where the weather is bound to be extremely hot and humid. I’m not going to be rash enough to predict a form upswing in so short a time frame, but we’ll be working flat-out between now and then to make performance and reliability gains in any and every way we can, of that you may be 100 per cent certain.”

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