Jenson Button is looking forward to the European leg of the season, believing it will give McLaren the opportunity to show its true pace and the improvement the team has made since the same point last year.
Whilst Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finished in similar positions in China as they did in 2015 (12th and 14th respectively), four cars ahead of them retired during the race, whereas this year every car finished the race, which Button reckons masked their improvement.
“I think the last race, if you look at it – it’s very difficult for a driver, because you come home 12th and 13th and it’s not where you want to be – but if you look at it compared to last year, every car finished in China,” he said on Thursday.
“So it’s a big step forward to last year in China. In terms of where I think we are, yeah, our qualifying pace has been reasonable but I still don’t think we have shown our true potential in qualifying either. We have been close to Q3.”
With straight-line speed still an issue, Button is looking forward to racing at tracks which don’t feature such long straights coupled with various upgrades which will arrive for the European races.
“Circuits like this [Sochi] don’t really help us either, but I think when we get back to Europe it should be easier to show our pace in qualifying and hopefully in the race.
“We’re moving forward but you always want more. Formula 1 is so competitive right now.
“For us I feel that having something new coming every race, aerodynamically and also with the power unit, it’s moving in the right direction, but we always want more.”