Button 'excited' by Magnussen challenge

Wednesday 19th March 2014

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Button 'excited' by Magnussen challenge

Button 'excited' by Magnussen challenge

Jenson Button is relishing this year's intra-team competition at McLaren after his new team-mate Kevin Magnussen fired the first salvo in Australia.

Despite being a rookie, there were no signs of nerves or inexperience on Magnussen's part as he took to the Albert Park circuit last weekend.

Qualifying fourth in the rain, in the dry on Sunday he finished third on the track before being elevated to second when Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified.

It was an impressive showing from the Dane and a sure sign that Button, who finished one place back from his team-mate, won't have it all his own way at McLaren.

The British driver, though, is relishing the challenge.

"The team wouldn't have employed someone they didn't think was going to be good," he said in an interview with Press Association Sport.

"You are always going to have a competitive team-mate, but I've never been scared of a team-mate. It's exciting to have someone that competitive.

"And in the first grand prix of the year, to finish second and third, to have two guys pulling their weight and getting the best out of the car, is fantastic for the team."

Magnussen's 18 points coupled with Button's 15 have put McLaren at the top of the Constructors' Championship after race one, already a vast improvement on last year's fortunes.

"I can't remember the last time a team other than Red Bull were leading the Constructors' Championship.

"Although we know it's not through outright speed, it is through a lot of good team work, and it might only be one race, but it has put a smile on our faces."

But despite leading the Championship, McLaren were no match for Mercedes Down Under as Nico Rosberg claimed a dominant victory while an engine issue robber pole sitter Lewis Hamilton of his chance.

"We have upgrades for the next race," Button added, "but I still don't think it will be enough to challenge them just yet.

"If it can put us into the gap between them and everyone else then that will be a good step forward.

"We just have to keep pushing the team for upgrades, but they have already got their heads down and there is some good stuff coming in the pipeline."

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