Jenson Button unhappy after McLaren strategy error

Jenson Button was unhappy with the decision to pit his McLaren three rather than four times as he finished sixth at the Turkish Grand Prix.

He believes the strategy left him powerless to fend off those with fresher tyres as the race went on.

"We should have stayed out for longer. The last stint was impossible, doing so many laps on the hard tyre," he said.

"You try to get the best out of the car but you are not racing anyone around you because you are a sitting duck."

Team-mate Lewis Hamilton, however, stopped four times and finished two places higher up in fourth.

But while team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted the race strategy followed but Button was not a success, he also said poor starts by both drivers led to their disappointing results.

"We lost places at the start and then you have to be aggressive and that damages the tyres," he said.

"Three stops, even for a driver like Jenson, was probably a stop too short."

After breaking Red Bull's, and specifically Sebastian Vettel's, stranglehold on the season in China three weeks previously, Hamilton never threatened their one-two finish this time after slipping back on the opening lap at Istanbul Park.

Starting on the 'dirty' side of the track, with tyre debris making traction difficult to find, Hamilton failed in an attempt to pass Webber and allowed Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and team-mate Button through to relegate him to sixth.

He was subsequently told over the team radio on lap 11 that his crew were running "Plan B" - believed to signal a switch to a four-stop strategy.

A problem with a cross-threaded wheel nut added valuable seconds to a pit stop in the later stages of the race.

"To leave with Lewis still second in the drivers' championship is reasonable, but a number of things went wrong," said Whitmarsh.

"I think Lewis showed some good race pace, but by that time couldn't really do anything with it."

Hamilton remained philosophical about the effect of his team's errors on his result.

"Pit stops are somewhere we can always improve," he said.

"But I lost a lot of ground when I tried to go down the outside of Webber at the start of the race.

"I had a good start and I should have been up to third and battling for second, but it wasn't to be."

Despite his careful driving style, Button could not preserve his tyres enough to prevent dropping down the field as he paid for his persistence with a three-stop plan.

"Probably it was not the right strategy," Whitmarsh admitted.

"It didn't help him, let's put it like that, but I don't think it harmed him particularly."

However, Button lamented the timing, as well as the number, of stops in his race.

"I think most people were probably on my strategy initially but because they damaged their tyres on the first stint they changed. We didn't and we didn't leave the stops late enough," he said.

Hamilton and Button, 2008 and 2009 world champions respectively, now lie 34 and 47 points back from leader and current title-holder Vettel.