McLaren's Jenson Button is unsure if he would have been able to hunt down Mercedes' Nico Rosberg for victory in yesterday's Chinese Grand Prix had he not been compromised by a slow pitstop in the closing stages of the race. The Briton lost over six seconds at his final pitstop on lap 39 because of a problem at the left-rear tyre, effectively ending his already slim chances of victory.
The delay dropped him from second place to fourth, putting him behind Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel, both sporting very worn tyres. Despite that it took him until lap 51 to reclaim second place, by which time it was too late to reel in Rosberg.
When asked after the race if he would have been able to catch Nico without the pitstop problem, Button wasn't very sure.
“That was obviously the aim but you never know if that's going to be possible,” he responded. “It was a big gap to chase down but before the stop, we had very good pace on new and old tyres so I don't know. That was our aim but it didn't go to plan, but we had a problem at the pit stop which cost us a lot of time – it didn't just cost us time, it cost us places as well, so it made it very difficult to have the possibility to chase down Nico.
“But that's the way it is. Sometimes it doesn't quite go your way but I must say that most of the pit stops that we've had this weekend have been fantastic. We've just got to get rid of that bad one.”
Button wasn't the only driver to have pitstop problems in Shanghai yesterday afternoon, with Rosberg's team-mate Michael Schumacher having had to retire from the race due to loose wheel nut. He was released from his pit box before the mechanic on his right-front wheel was able to tighten the nut, forcing the German to retire from second place later in the lap.
The stewards later fined Mercedes €5,000 for an unsafe pitstop release.