Button: Only Mercedes quicker than us

Button: Only Mercedes quicker than us

6 April 2014 – Jenson Button was left feeling encouraged by McLaren's pace compared to its rivals, despite retiring from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Button was running fifth and hoping to challenge the Force India duo following the late Safety Car period but a gear shift problem left him tumbling down the order, before he retired with two laps remaining.

"In terms of pace, we took a step forward this weekend," the former World Champion explained after the race. "Moreover, our degradation was positive and I think we did a very good job understanding our tyres.

"Only one team were demonstrably quicker than us today – Mercedes – but sadly they were a lot quicker than us. But our long-run pace was very good, especially over the last few laps, so I reckon we could have raced very hard to the finish on the Primes. Unfortunately I didn't get that opportunity.

"It's tough for the team, because they all worked really hard. We were set for fifth at worst and a podium at best, and that would have been a very positive outcome. There was lots of good racing – I can't even remember how many cars I overtook but it was quite a lot – and I think it was the same for almost everyone. I really enjoyed it."

Rookie team-mate Kevin Magnussen retired with a clutch problem 17 laps before the finish and admitted that he did not have the pace to reclaim lost ground following a poor start that dropped him from eighth to 11th.

"That wasn't a great race for me," said Magnussen. "The start wasn't ideal and after that we just didn't have enough pace to make progress towards the front. We'd been expecting that the colder conditions might help us, but, as things panned out, we were actually a little less strong here than we were in Malaysia, for some reason."

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