Running in the top 10 would have counted as failure at Honda a year or two ago – it’s a measure of how disappointing their season has been that Jenson Button could celebrate earning the single point on offer for eighth place at Monza.
Although frustrated that early understeer prevented him from doing better still, he was happy with the result he achieved: “We had a good weekend in Monza, coming away from a strong race performance with a point.
“The team have done a great job and everyone is in good spirits, so I’m pleased to have got another point for them. They really deserve it.”
He described his woes during the race: “It was a frustrating race for me as I had so much understeer on the first stint.
“We run such low front wing around this circuit that it is very easy to lock the front tyres, particularly at Parabolica, and I flat-spotted the front right which meant I was losing grip through every right-hand corner.
“This meant that I couldn’t fend off Rosberg and the long first stint of 33 laps compromised me even further. So it was frustrating as we could have had a better result but we did our very best this weekend and a point is definitely some reward.”
Engineering Director Jacky Eeckelaert added: “It is a good feeling for the whole team to be racing in the top ten again. Both drivers were fast and consistent, Jenson racing with Kovalainen and Rosberg, while Rubens was fighting with Webber and Trulli.
“The latest aerodynamic and suspension developments that we have brought here this weekend have clearly improved the car performance and we need to carry that momentum through to Spa next weekend and the races beyond.”
But Button had some words of caution for optimists who reckon that Honda have finally nailed their problems: “We have to be realistic about our prospects for Spa as the circuit demands are very different and our test in July was difficult, but I am hopeful the improvements will carry through.”
Whether they do or not, he is looking forward to the race: “Spa is one of my absolute favourite circuits and I am really excited that it is back on the calendar for this year.”