Jenson Button admits McLaren's deficit to the front 'massive' after point-less Canadian GP
Woking team reflect on weekend of regrets and disappointments
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 10/06/13 2:04pm
A downbeat Jenson Button has conceded McLaren face a "massive" task to catch the frontrunners after their underwhelming season reached its nadir in Canada with the team failing to finish in the points for the first time in 65 races.
Having just about managed to extend their record points-scoring sequence across the opening phase of the season with their troubled MP4-28, Sergio Perez and Button finished 11th and 12th respectively in Sunday's Montreal race in wake of both failing to make Q3 in qualifying.
While both senior driver and team expressed regrets over the way they managed their one-stop strategy, Button admitted the result nonetheless simply reflected their disappointing current levels of performance.
"It doesn't help when I did only two laps with high fuel [in practice], but even so I don't think we would have been competitive," the World Champion told Sky Sports F1.
"We did a one-stop, a few cars did and they made it work, but they did prime and then option which I think was a good way of doing it. The problem for me was on my option run at the start of the race, everyone came out and was overtaking me, so it was a bit messy for me.
"We just weren't quick enough."
The last time a McLaren car had failed to finish in the points was the Abu Dhabi season-finale of 2009, a year which plunged even lower depths than the ones currently being experienced by multiple championship-winning team, including a 16th place finish at the British GP.
The team's home race is next up and, while acknowledging the ground they have to make up, Button is at least hopeful of a step forward at Silverstone.
Asked how big their deficit to the likes of Red Bull was, Button replied: "It's massive. We got lapped today - and easily. So a lot of work to do and it's very difficult to know really where to look. It's a big gap.
"We do have some things for Silverstone which are positive. We tried them here, they didn't work for this type of circuit, but they should help us set the car up a bit easier in Silverstone."
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh was in a similarly sombre mood when speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, admitting their own tyre strategy errors had probably cost them a 65th consecutive points finish.
"A weekend that'll we try quickly to forget," he admitted.
"Qualifying was poor and then in the race, looking back at it now, we made mistakes. We weren't quick enough, that's the starting point, but I think we should have been able to get into the points.
"The prime tyre was the much better tyre than we believed it was, we wished we started on it now and wished we got onto it sooner. Also when we put Jenson onto it, we gave him a relatively slow target lap as we were concerned about getting him to the end, but as it turned out he could have pushed a lot harder."
McLaren have an enviable record at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, winning five of the previous seven events, so Whitmarsh admitted the no-score was particularly hard to swallow.
Asked if the team were having to constantly reassess their targets for 2013 given they remain a lowly sixth in the standings, the McLaren boss replied: "Of course you are but we've got to get the car quicker. We've got to keep working hard, it hasn't always been as fruitful and as positive as we wanted to, but there's no secrets unfortunately, there's no magic wand, we've got to work hard and make the car quicker and make sure that we come through qualifying sessions better than that and do better in the race.
"Both drivers are driving well but we're not giving them quite the car that they need to get the job done and we're not quite making it work in qualifying or the race - certainly this weekend."