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McLaren rivals settle Bahrain F1 spat

updated 4:05 PM EDT, Mon April 22, 2013
McLaren's Sergio Perez leads teammate Jenson Button during the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir on Sunday.
McLaren's Sergio Perez leads teammate Jenson Button during the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir on Sunday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jenson Button says he has "cleared the air" with McLaren teammate Sergio Perez
  • Their tussle on Sunday was one of major talking points of Bahrain Grand Prix
  • Former world champion Button unhappy with younger colleague's aggressive tactics
  • Team principal Martin Whitmarsh says Button is "mature" and "will get over it"

(CNN) -- Jenson Button has drawn a line under his row with McLaren teammate Sergio Perez, saying it is time to "move forward."

Their battle was one of the main talking points of Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix, which ended in a runaway victory for triple world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Much of the race interest centered on the fight for minor placings, as Perez shunted through the field to take sixth -- his best position since joining from Sauber after last season.

Button, the 2009 world champion, was back in 10th -- and complained bitterly after the race about Perez's aggressive tactics, with his car being hit by the Mexican's on more than one occasion.

Read: Protests ahead of Vettel's Bahrain win

"I've raced with many team-mates over the years, and I had quite an aggressive teammate in Lewis (Hamilton)," Button said.

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"But I'm not used to driving along a straight and having a teammate coming alongside and banging wheels at 300 kilometers an hour. That is dangerous.

"I've had some tough fights in F1, but not quite as dirty as that, so he has to calm down otherwise something serious will happen soon."

Perez admitted in the post-race conference it had been "a bit too risky."

"Banging wheels was a bit too much," the 23-year-old said. "But he was as aggressive as I was as I went off the track a few times."

Read: Latest F1 standings

Perez had been told by team principal Martin Whitmarsh to be more aggressive after just one top-10 placing in his first three races -- finishing ninth in Malaysia.

Button took his boss to task about that during a television interview in the paddock at Sakhir, but on Monday softened his stance.

"Important chat yesterday with @SChecoPerez 2 clear the air," he wrote on Twitter.

"As a team we will move forward and live 2 fight another day ;) roll on Barcelona."

Whitmarsh hailed the "maturity" of the 33-year-old, and admitted he had resisted calls to stop the duo competing against each other.

"I had a lot of noise in my ear, people saying 'Stop this, stop this, it's hurting us,' suggesting I stop them racing," he told the UK Press Association.

Read: Fair game - Fast track to driver road rage?

"I didn't, and I know it could have gone horribly wrong. On balance it was the right thing -- in the long term -- for both drivers to know they are racing each other and are competitive.

"The great thing about Jenson is he's a grown-up, he'll get over it, and they'll have a great relationship.

"He has a balanced, mature approach. He knows his teammate has been under the hammer, is young, has had a bit of pressure, has something to learn and a point to prove."

Whitmarsh's approach is in stark contrast to that of other teams on the grid, with both Red Bull and Mercedes having issued driver orders during the season's second race in Malaysia.

Vettel ignored instructions and overtook teammate Mark Webber before claiming victory, but Mercedes' Nico Rosberg obeyed when told to stay behind Lewis Hamilton despite seemingly being quicker.

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