|© AP Photo/Frank Augstein
The last time McLaren went through an entire season without featuring on the podium was the year in which Jenson Button was born.
Facing the possibility of recording its worse season since its debut in 1966 ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, wherein the British team failed to even finish in the top four in any of the races in the campaign, it was Button who scraped at the bottom of the barrel to put an end to the run.
Bu finishing fourth at Interlagos, from 14th on the grid, the 2009 world champion recorded his and the team’s best result of the season. It had previously finished fifth twice earlier this year making the race as its “best Grand Prix of the year.”
"I'm pleased to have finished fourth: it's almost the podium position that I came here aiming for,” said Button, who finished ninth in the drivers’ championship.
It was apt that Button managed to salvage something for McLaren, as the 33-year-old became the British driver with the most number of starts in Formula 1. Racing in his 247th Grand Prix passed on the milestone from David Coulthard, who incidentally ended his F1 career at Interlagos in 2008.
Sergio Perez, dropped for next season, carved through the field from 19th to finish sixth. The Mexican, who had been handed a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change ahead of the race, ended the season 24 points adrift from his teammate in 11th.
It was also the Woking-based outfit’s first winless season since 2006, although that year it stepped on the podium nine times.
"As of today, McLaren became the first team in Formula 1 history to have both its cars classified in every Grand Prix during the season,” team principal Martin Whitmarsh pointed out.
"And, also as of today, McLaren completed 99.17 per cent of the season's total possible race distance - 7139 miles (11,488km) out of a possible 7198 miles (11,584km) - which is not only better than every other team managed this season but is also a new world record, beating the previous record of 98.30 per cent set by BMW-Sauber in 2008,” he added.
McLaren finished fifth in the championship.