sport

Button sees grounds for optimism

Jenson Button's 250th grand prix ended in bitter frustration, but admitted there is hope for the future.

Button retired two laps from home with a clutch problem that also accounted for McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen earlier in what was overall a captivating race that made a mockery of recent criticisms.

But for the technical issues, Button felt he and Magnussen could have been pushing for third place behind Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

"If I was going to retire I wish it had happened earlier as I could have gone to the bar!" joked Button.

The 34-year-old added: "We were set for fifth place at worst and a podium finish at best, and that would have been a very positive outcome for all of us.

"So what happened is tough for all the team, because they all worked really well and really hard because only one team were demonstrably quicker than us, but sadly they were a lot quicker than us.

"Having said that, our long-run pace was very good, especially over the last few laps, so I reckon we could have raced very hard to the finish, but unfortunately I didn't get that opportunity.

"In terms of going forward, we've shown we have a good car and that we can battle for podiums at other races."

Overall, as a spectacle given the plethora of wheel-to-wheel duels that unfolded throughout the course, Button was naturally delighted to have taken part in one of the sport's classic races.

"There was lots of good racing out there - I can't even remember how many cars I overtook but it was quite a lot - and I think it was the same for almost everyone out there," added Button.

"There was a lot of fun happening behind the first two cars, which were miles out in the lead, and I really enjoyed the race.

"For me, Formula One hasn't changed in terms of real excitement, but there are a few things the fans have an issue with, which is understandable, but the racing is still there, which is great.

"Formula One may have new power units and technical regs this year, but it's clearly every bit as good as it ever was in terms of on-track spectacle."