Jenson Button believes McLaren ‘threw away’ a strong result at the Hungarian Grand Prix by choosing intermediate tyres in the first round of pit stops in anticipation of rain.
Button was running in fifth place at Budapest when Marcus Ericsson’s Caterham crashed between turn 3 and 4, necessitating a safety car. The whole field made it into the pits, including Jenson Button. The only difference was Button put on a fresh set of interns while everyone else chose to run slicks. Kevin Magnussen in the sister McLaren decided not to pit at all and carry on with his original set of green striped Pirelli tyres.
But the rain never arrived and the additional stop to put on a set of dry weather tyres put the McLaren drivers at the back of the field. The drivers recovered to finish 10th and 12th in the race with the more experienced Brit collecting the final championship point.
“We were obviously using a different radar to everyone else because we thought it was gonna rain’’ Hamilton told TV reporters after the race. “I did everything right in the race and that’s why it was always a tough one in every condition. Fifth at the start of the race, definitely out of the position. I put the car in a good position but then we threw it away.”
McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier accepted the mistake on the part of the team and vowed to come back strong after the summer break.
“We made the wrong call, but, in such a topsy-turvy race weather-wise, sometimes there are very narrow margins involved,’’ Boullier said, “
“We’ll learn from this experience, and we’ll move on. We tried our best today but it just didn’t work out for us – that’s a shame for both Jenson and Kevin, because they both drove very well in some difficult circumstances.
“There are positives to take away from many of our performances this year, but areas where we can still work harder – I want to wish the whole team a restful and relaxing summer vacation, and we’ll come back ready to work even harder to return McLaren to the front."