Jenson Button says that McLaren's two-stop strategy, and not an upturn in pace, was to credit for his fifth place in the Chinese Grand Prix.
McLaren had come into China confident that it had pinpointed the flaws on its MP4-28 and with an upgrade package the team said on Friday was showing encouraging potential. As Button predicted on Saturday, however, it was the team's tactics which ultimately elevated him into the top five for the first time this season.
"We're not quick enough to do the same strategy as others. [Without two-stopping] we wouldn't have finished fifth," Button said. "A lot of the time we are out front and leading, but you can't forget that you are doing fewer pitstops and quicker cars will be overtaking you.
"It all came good at the end, and with the pace we did have I think we should be very happy with it. I think we should take a lot of positives from here, but also know we have a lot of work to do to challenge at the front."
Button admitted it had been difficult to deliberately cede ground to other drivers, but said the delicate balance of the two-stop tactic dictated his race behavior.
"It was quite a strange race: there was no point fighting because that was the quickest way to the end," he said. "We had to go long, which was very tricky with so many people jumping all over each other.
"When I had prime runners fighting to get past it was like, 'Is it worth it?' You don't want to look like you're not fighting but for us the best thing to do was to have clean air and not destroy the tires.
"If I locked up that was the strategy done. It was an unusual way to go racing – it was a little bit like being at Le Mans in an LMP2 car and with LMP1s coming up behind you – but it worked for us.
"It's not the most exciting way to go racing but we got 10 points because we did that. We beat a Ferrari, a Lotus – we should be happy with that."