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Jenson Button admits that McLaren faces an arduous task in its bid to turn around the form of its new MP4-28, with the Briton having to settle for a ninth place finish in Melbourne on Sunday after winning three of the previous four races at the venue.
The 2009 World Champion, whose result puts him past the milestone of 1000 points, says although the team performed well given its current situation, 'a lot of work needs to be done' before he can think about fighting for stronger results on raw pace.
"I think we should be pretty satisfied with what we achieved today," said Button. "It was a tricky race, and our car isn't yet quick enough, so I think the team did a great job to achieve even as much as we did.
"As a result, I scored two points today, which makes 1001 in my career I'm reliably informed, and to be honest I don't think I could have scored any more than that. But, although that's a nice stat, it doesn't ease the pain caused by the knowledge that our car still needs a lot of work done before it's properly competitive."
Sergio Pérez, who narrowly missed a points finish on his McLaren debut, shared team-mate Button's words, explaining that McLaren simply lacked the performance required to finish higher up the order. Heading to Malaysia, the Mexican is keeping his spirits high and hopes the Sepang circuit will be more favourable to the MP4-28.
"That was a very, very tough race," said Pérez. "I got a good start, but after that, even though the team did a great job with the strategy, we just didn't have enough pace to make significant further progress. To finish 11th is never really satisfying, but I think Jenson and I both drove pretty good races today. In fact I want to say 'well done' to Jenson, who maximised the performance of his car really well to finish ninth.
"Our engineers are aware that our car isn't yet as quick as it needs to be, but I know I'm now part of the best team in Formula 1 so I'm certain they'll improve it fast. I don't think the Albert Park circuit suited our car very well - it accentuated its problems in fact - so I'm hoping we'll be able to put up a better showing in Sepang next weekend."
McLaren leaves Australia sixth in the Constructors' standings, with Ferrari currently leading the way on a total of 30 points courtesy of second and fourth place finishes.
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