We are improving, says Button

We are improving, says Button

A joke in Formula One a week ago was that Lewis Hamilton had acquired a dog while Jenson Button was driving one.

If Button’s McLaren is still a long way from being the fastest car on the track, the 2009 world champion put an end to some of the snickering when he took the lead - in a motor racing sense - in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

On paper, little may appear to have changed: Hamilton finished third for his first podium as a Mercedes driver while former team mate Button retired after a calamitous pitstop that robbed him of the chance of solid points.

However, his Mexican team-mate Sergio Perez took his first points for the team in ninth place and the car's performance was enough to give Button cause for hope.

"It's easy to say I could have been on the podium...I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with me but I think we had a chance to fight with the Mercedes," he told reporters afterwards. "I think at worst it would have been fifth and we could have pushed the Mercedes. It's a good improvement from the last race. Only a week ago we never would have thought we'd be fighting for fifth, let alone a little bit better," he added.

"The positives are that we are improving and I can see that we will be even more competitive in China."

Button was ninth in the Australian season-opener when McLaren were shown to be struggling with a car that marked a departure from last year's race winner rather than being a simple evolution.

The evidence from the Malaysian weekend was that a corner might have been turned. "As a team we haven't had to (turn a corner) but the car has had to and I think we've made some good improvements," said Button.

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