Both McLarens made it into the points today thanks to great tyre management on the MP4-28. Jenson Button found clear signs of progress at the Hungarian GP and is sure the second half of the season will be stronger for them.
Jenson Button, MP4-28A-03, 7th: “That was a fun race – although I seemed to be a target for other cars! Sebastian [Vettel] tried many times to get past me, and clipped my rear wheel into Turn Two – he may have damaged his wing, but I was lucky not to puncture. With Romain [Grosjean], I don’t know what he thought – unless I took to the grass, it was inevitable we were going to touch! I don’t think he was thinking at that point.
“I ran almost half the race on the Prime tyre, which was the longest of anybody; it’s good to show we can do that. Our middle-stint pace on the Option was also very good, and I had a blinding first lap, jumping from 13th to eighth. We beat a Ferrari fair and square, and we’d also have beaten a Mercedes if Nico [Rosberg] hadn’t stopped – we can take a lot of positives away from here.
“Seventh position might not look too exciting – particularly after we fought for fifth at the last race – but we’ve done a good job this weekend and taken a step forward – and that’s a nice little boost to send everyone off into the summer break.”
Sergio Perez, MP4-28A-01, 9th: “We really needed the starting tyre in the best possible condition to make a two-stopper work properly. After qualifying yesterday, I think we were in a good position to score some good points, but we were affected by the run on the used Prime from qualifying. So, unfortunately, I think we lost out a little too much in the first stint; I struggled with the rear of the car, had to pit earlier than planned, and then ran into traffic and lost more time, so it’s a bit of a shame.
“Still, it’s a positive to get both cars into the points again. I think we can feel satisfied with the job we’ve done over the last couple of races – a result like this is encouraging for everybody in the team, and it’s a nice present with which to send us into the August break.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Jenson controlled his pace brilliantly throughout today’s race, optimising a two-stop strategy to score six valuable world championship points here in Budapest. Moreover, he was quick in his middle stint, on Options, which underlined the decent race pace that MP4-28 was able to produce on this tricky and idiosyncratic racetrack.
“Checo was very unlucky to get boxed in at the start, losing places as a result, but thereafter he did a very solid and professional job, hanging on in there to bag two useful world championship points also. Moreover, both Jenson and Checo deserve plaudits for their great professionalism here today, driving very cleanly in challenging circumstances made even trickier by the proximity of drivers on three-stop strategies who were obviously able and willing to push harder than they were.
“Now, as we go into the mid-season break, I want to say two things: first, that it goes without saying that we’ll continue to do our utmost to score as many points as we can in the second half of the season, and, second, that everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes richly deserves a good holiday after having worked spectacularly hard so far this year. Well done, guys.
“Last but not least, I want to say ‘congrats’ to our old friend Lewis [Hamilton], who drove very well indeed to score his maiden victory for Mercedes-Benz AMG F1 here today.”