Button: McLaren have point to prove
10:56am Wednesday 16th April 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Jenson Button heads to China this weekend believing McLaren have a point to prove after their recent failure in Bahrain.
From the high of scoring a double-podium finish in the opening race of the year in Australia, with Kevin Magnussen second and Button third following Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification, it has not taken long for McLaren to quickly be brought back down to earth.
In a highly competitive and entertaining race in Bahrain, both Button and Magnussen retired due to clutch issues with their cars.
From leading the constructors' standings after the Australian Grand Prix, McLaren have quickly slipped to third, 68 points behind early pacesetters Mercedes following the team's trio of successive wins.
Button said: "After a disappointing race in Bahrain, I think we head to China with a bit of a point to prove.
"We need to get some points on the board and get another race under our belts that demonstrates the pace we feel this year's car has, which won't necessarily be straightforward.
"Bahrain showed - the top two cars aside - the racing this year is fast, fraught and very evenly matched.
"The margins are so slim it'll require us to get everything right: a focused practice, problem-free qualifying sessions and a clean race to try and establish ourselves at the forefront of the chasing pack."
Despite a strong record at the Shanghai International Circuit, which includes a win for McLaren in his debut season in 2010, Button knows the current car may struggle this weekend.
Despite that the 34-year-old remains upbeat as he said: "Although it is not necessarily a track that perfectly suits our package, I think we can pull everything together and have a stronger weekend."
Racing director Eric Boullier is of the same mind as Button, feeling initially what happened in Bahrain was not indicative of McLaren's credentials, but knowing the situation has to improve in China.
"It's never easy to come away from a grand prix with two retirements, so it'll be important to get further points on the board in China this weekend," said Boullier.
"There are reasons to be encouraged by our general performance: the chasing pack in Bahrain was extremely closely matched, but we were in the thick of it, with the potential to hopefully edge clear."
Boullier has again made clear in order to fulfil Ron Dennis' prophecy the team will win a race this year they are "aggressively developing the car".
The Frenchman added: "We know we have a good baseline, but it's a concept that requires development, and we have some useful steps in the pipeline.
"The key to success this year will be the quick translation of those concepts into useful components, then getting them to work successfully at the track."