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Gear ratios cost McLaren at Monza

Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were hampered by a lack of top speed that made overtaking all but impossible during the Italian Grand Prix
Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 8th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - McLaren took home just one point from the Italian Grand Prix, despite qualifying both cars in the top ten on Saturday. The problem was a lack of straight-line speed that made overtaking very difficult. Jenson Button confirmed after the race that McLaren had misjudged when selecting gear ratios for the weekend and consequently the Button and Perez were disadvantaged when it came to fighting for positions.

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Button explained: “We didn’t get the gear ratios quite right today. Consequently, as our fuel loads decreased, and our cornering speeds should have increased, we were hampered by our rev-limiters, and that made it easier for the cars behind to overtake us and harder for us to overtake the cars ahead of us.

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“In clear air, our pace was pretty good – but, with such a short top gear, especially with DRS deployed, we were hitting the rev-limiter while other cars weren’t being rev-limited."

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Button's race-day woes began before the race even started, with a fuel system problem that threatened to prevent him from making the grid. But the McLaren mechanics managed to repair his car in time for the start of the race. Button expressed his gratitude: "Finally, I just want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the guys in the garage today. They had to really work hard to repair my car’s fuel system before the race, in record time, and they pulled out all the stops to get it all done. It was touch-and-go for a while, but they responded really well and did an incredible job.

“In a tight spot, they’re the best guys out there – and, once again, they were faultless today.”

For Perez, it was an afternoon of hard work for no reward. He was unfortunate to be hit from behind by Kimi Raikkonen under braking for the first corner, and consequently had to cut the chicane, which cost him time and positions on the opening lap. From that point on, Perez was unable to make progress in a car that lacked top speed, but stayed in the top ten for most of the race. It was only in the closing stages that he lost out to Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen and fell out of the points.

Perez expressed the frustration of a race without reward: “It was a disappointing afternoon, and I think we deserved more than that."

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