Sergio Perez secured two points for McLaren at the end of a very difficult Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Jenson Button finished 12th after he incurred front wing damage early on in the race that required an additional pitstop.
Sergio Perez, MP4-28A-01, 9th: “I struggled a little on my first set of Prime tyres, and I’m not too sure why. We had bad rear tyre degradation and poor traction overall. We’d opted to run with minimal downforce in the hope of being able to pass other cars in the race. But, despite that, in the event I found it difficult to overtake, and the fact that I spent a lot of the race stuck in traffic therefore made things very difficult.
“Still, it was a positive to be able to take ninth position from Adrian [Sutil] on the very last lap – one more point for the team may not sound much but it’s always helpful. The next race is in Austin [Texas, USA]. I can’t wait to go racing again so close to my home [Mexico], and to see the people who’ve supported me so well during this difficult season.”
Jenson Button, MP4-28A-04, 12th: “You make your own luck when you start down in 12th – where first-lap congestion is inevitable – and, sure enough, there was a little bit of argy-bargy into Turn One. I duly locked-up both my front tyres, couldn’t slow the car down sufficiently, and drove into the back of Paul [di Resta], which broke my front-wing end-plate.
“It’s a real pity to keep on having first-lap incidents, especially when the car is working reasonably well now. I’ve been in a similar situation for the past two races, and things haven’t really gone my way. Still, I managed 44 laps on the Prime – and, in terms of getting the most out of what we had, that felt positive.
"So, all in all, given how far behind we were after lap two [when he made his unscheduled early pit-stop], to finish so close to 10th by the chequer wasn’t so bad."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Checo was unfortunate in that he spent a lot of the race stuck behind slower cars – and, although he showed his fighting spirit at the end by passing Adrian for ninth place, ultimately his was a disappointing result.
“Jenson was unlucky to incur front-wing damage at the start, as a result of contact with another car, triggering an unscheduled early pitstop. However, thereafter he did a truly brilliant job of tyre management, running the Prime for an extremely impressive 44 laps [from lap 12 to lap 55, inclusive].
“Had that early mishap not occurred – and had he instead been able to drive the first 44 laps of the race on the Prime – undoubtedly he’d have been able to finish very strongly and thereby score a decent number of world championship points. So that was a great pity, because as I say he drove beautifully and in my view a performance of that quality deserves to be rewarded with world championship points. But that’s racing.
“From here we travel to Austin, where we hope that Formula 1 will once again put on a spectacular show in a market that’s full of avid racing fans and is of course also crucial to most if not all of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ many partners.”