Motor

Michael: McLaren making progress

Slow climb
Jenson Button took sixth at Monaco, though Sam Michael says he could have gotten fifth.
SPEED ADAM COOPER
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McLaren sporting director Sam Michael says the team's performance at the Monaco GP shows that it is making progress with the difficult MP4-28 car.

McLaren driver Jenson Button finished sixth in Monaco, beating Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

“At least the bits are staring to work, and it’s all in the right direction,” Michael told SPEED.com.

“That’s main thing: just to see progress, and we’ve definitely seen that. Montreal is obviously a very different track, and you can overtake a lot easier.”

Michael said that McLaren should have beaten Adrian Sutil to fifth place in Monaco.

“Jenson drove in a mature way again, but it’s all about expectation, isn’t it? We could have done better,” Michael said. “We should have been fifth and sixth on the road. We weren’t as quick as Mercedes and Red Bull, but we were definitely the best of the rest, and we should have done that over the course of the weekend. At least the car is getting better; that’s the important thing.”

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Meanwhile, regarding Sergio Perez’s spectacular race — which ended soon after a collision with Kimi Raikkonen — Michael said: “Sergio had a good race, up until that point. He obviously attacked really hard and made good moves on JB (Button) and Fernando. Then obviously being himself and Kimi, he pushed a bit hard. They already had an incident where he went straight on, and later they came together.

“He stopped with a brake problem because brake temperatures went through the roof after that crash with Kimi. He lost the brake pedal, which is why you saw it twitching. He tried to make it into the pit lane, but it was so busy he bailed and just parked it out there. He was just in survival mode. If he’d done a pit stop, he would have come out 16th. It was stay out there and hope you can do a few more laps, or DNF.”

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