Button has little to smile about at Silverstone

Sat Jul 4, 2015 3:05pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Jenson Button joked he would like to see reverse starting grids introduced into Formula One with immediate effect but the McLaren driver had little to smile about otherwise at the British Grand Prix on Saturday.

Qualifying 18th, with Spanish team mate and double world champion Fernando Alonso 17th, the Briton was quicker only than the two tail-end Manor Marussia drivers who have what is essentially a modified 2014 car.

McLaren, the second most successful team in the history of the sport, are enduring a nightmare with no immediate end in sight.

They have had their worst ever start to a season and scored just four points in eight races with a car that is way off the pace in the first year of their new partnership with Honda.

At the previous race in Austria, both drivers collected 25 place grid penalties -- with only 20 cars competing -- as a result of engine and gearbox problems. Neither finished on Sunday.

Saturday's Silverstone agony was compounded when the team put one of Button's tyres on Alonso's car -- prompting another joke by the Briton that it explained why his team mate had been "so quick".

"It wasn't the highlight of the year," said Button, diplomatically, of once again going out in the first phase of qualifying.

"In front of the home crowd you always want to have a great weekend and I think the fans understand the position we've been in for the whole season.   Continued...

Jenson Button of McLaren during qualifying. Reuters / Phil Noble