Button, Merhi hit with post-race penalties in China

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Jenson Button and Roberto Merhi have both been hit with time penalties following today’s Chinese Grand Prix following an investigation by the race stewards in Shanghai.

Button endured a difficult race for McLaren, finishing 13th on track as the team continued to struggle to find its feet with the new Honda power unit.

The Briton had been fighting for position with Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado in the final few laps of the race before the two came together heading into the first corner.

Although both cars spun off, Maldonado was left with enough damage on his Lotus to warrant retiring from the race. Button finished the race in P13, but was handed a five second time penalty for causing the crash, dropping him to 14th behind Carlos Sainz Jr.

“Regarding the collision with Pastor, I thought there was room on the inside,” Button said. “A collision is something you never want to see happen. It was just a misjudgment, I guess.

“Still, we go to Bahrain hoping for more progress, although the circuit configuration doesn’t suit us, so heading to Europe will hopefully work out a little bit better for the team.”

Button was not the only driver to be summoned before the stewards on Sunday, as Manor’s Roberto Merhi was penalized for going too quickly behind the safety car at the end of the race.

“Car 98 did not stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU when following the safety car,” a brief statement from the stewards read, who handed the Spaniard a five second time penalty, keeping him 16th.

Despite being hit with a penalty, Merhi was pleased with the weekend as Manor got both of its cars to the finish for the first time.

“I’m really pleased that we’ve completed another race and this time with both cars, steps which are really important for the team,” Merhi said. “Looking back across the whole weekend we’ve made a lot of progress since Malaysia and the pace is improving all the time from session to session.

“I hope we can continue this progress in Bahrain next weekend.”