Jenson Button says McLaren will bring updates to Malaysia after solid opening race
Kevin Magnussen thanks team for taking a 'gamble' with his promotion
By William Esler. Last Updated: 17/03/14 2:52pm
Jenson Button says McLaren will bring updates to the MP4-29 for the Malaysian Grand Prix after admitting that it is reliability rather than outright pace that sees them lead the Constructors' Championship.
Engine and electronic problems on the final day of testing in Bahrain meant McLaren headed to Australia without having had the opportunity to trial their Melbourne updates. Instead the team concluded the 12 days of testing with only minor changes made to their launch-spec car.
However, despite a lack of testing time and a disappointing qualifying performance for Button as he exited in Q2, McLaren left Australia with a double podium finish following Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification. The feat marked the first time a McLaren driver had been on the podium since the 2009 World Champion's victory at the 2012 Brazilian GP.
"This is a good starting point," Button told Sky Sports F1. "We have some improvements for Malaysia. We are not leading the Constructors' because we are quickest, we are leading because we got both cars home and we are relatively quick. With some updates, hopefully we can challenge the Mercedes and the Williams, who I think are very quick."
Whilst Ricciardo's disqualification came too late for Button to stand on the podium, new team-mate Kevin Magnussen got to spray the champagne on his F1 debut. The Dane is the reigning Formula Renault 3.5 Champion, but admits it was a gamble for McLaren to hire him giving the lack of testing time available to him.
"I am so proud of the team for taking the risk - bringing me in was a big risk and they don't know [how I will get on]. I am a rookie and we don't have that many days of testing and to believe in me that strongly and just go for it from the first day and always give me the support and information and the time that I need is so good.
"To take a rookie in Formula 1 is a gamble, especially in a top team. But I feel ready and last year I went up to Martin [Whitmarsh] and told him 'come on, I'm ready'. But they listened to me, they believed in me, and I can't thank them enough. This has been the best day of my life and I've no doubt there are better days ahead."
Magnussen's second place makes him the first Danish driver to finish on the F1 podium and the second-youngest top-three finisher of all-time, behind Sebastian Vettel. It was also the first time a driver has finished on the rostrum in their debut race since Lewis Hamilton finished third at the 2007 Australian GP for McLaren.