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McLaren look to recover from Aussie troubles

Button and Perez had a tough start to the 2013 season in Melbourne.
Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17th, 2013 (AFP) - British team McLaren limp towards next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix after taking just two points out of the Formula One season opener in Melbourne on Sunday.

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Nothing went right for the eight-time world constructors' champions in this weekend and their number one driver Jenson Button could only finish ninth behind race winner Kimi Raikkonen in a Lotus.

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McLaren were well off the pace in practice and qualifying and Button was well down the field throughout the 58-lap Melbourne race, while Mexican teammate Sergio Perez was out of the points in 11th.

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"Having won the Australian Grand Prix three times so far in my career -- in 2009, 2010 and 2012 -- you'd have to say that today's ninth place isn't really much to write home about," Button lamented.

"Having said that, I think we should be pretty satisfied with what we achieved in Melbourne today.

"It was a tricky race and our car isn't yet quick enough, so I think the team did a great job to achieve even as much as we did."

The two championship points in Melbourne took Button to 1001 career points.

"Looking forward to Malaysia next weekend, I think we've got a tough few days ahead of us, but hopefully we can now do some number-crunching in an effort to understand our car a bit better and extract a bit more performance out of it there," Button said.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh, while praising the performances of his two drivers in difficult conditions, bemoaned McLaren's inauspicious start to the new season.

"A ninth-place and an 11th-place finish don't constitute much of a result by our sky-high standards, and ultimately the 2013 Australian Grand Prix weekend must therefore go down as a disappointing one for all at McLaren Mercedes," he said.

"Our car simply hasn't been quick enough here, but undoubtedly our drivers and engineers got the maximum out of it.

"Now the task that faces us is simple, if not easy: we'll work incredibly hard to bring more pace to the MP4-28's performance envelope. Our engineers are the best in the business, so I'm confident that they'll do just that."

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