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GP Week : Issue 178
While McLaren arrived in Albert Park knowing that they had to make up a gap to the frontrunners, they left Australia faced with the fact that the gap was more of a chasm. “There is a lot of work for us to do,” Button admitted after the race. “It’s not something we are going to change overnight. I think we extracted everything we could today. But we are not going to suddenly be competitive. “I didn't expect to get that many [points] today. I think we should be happy with how we went about the race. In a way, I’m slightly surprised to have beaten a Lotus and to have held off Mark [Webber] for so long. People find it very difficult to overtake me – that’s why I finished where I did – but we thought the supersofts were going to last for about two laps so we set them up to last for three laps and as soon as lap four started everyone else's tyres started getting good but mine were just ... I could see the fronts throwing rubber off everywhere! “I think if we came away with the same sort of points we would be ecstatic, so that really shows where we are,” Button admitted. “We are McLaren, we should be further up. You can look at it one way: at Silverstone last year I finished 10th and I’m one place higher here. We had bad spells last year, but I think there is a lot more for us to do to get back to the front than last year. It’s good to get a couple of points, but it doesn't really ease the pain.” New teammate Sergio Perez was more open about the car’s failings. “We're lacking downforce, we're lacking stability,” Perez said. “It’s not only one thing. I think we’ve got a lot of problems. The car is not quick enough and this is our reality.” McLaren’s Melbourne weekend was so poor that the team spent the time denying rumours that the Woking outfit was contemplating throwing the MP4-28 on the scrapheap and reverting to last year’s model, a car that would have been a serious title contender had the team not thrown away countless races with poor pit stops and worse reliability. “No, there is no option for [reverting to the 2012-spec McLaren],” Perez asserted. “So we have to keep our heads up. The car has the potential so we have to understand and put it together so we can be fighting for good positions.” McLaren in the doldrums F1 >>> AUSTRALIA 22 GPWEEK.com // 22 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: