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Bra GP - Race weekend recap - Button

Jenson Button arrived in Brazil with the focus firmly set elsewhere.

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso were fighting it out for the Formula One World Championship, with full support from the Red Bull and Ferrari teams, whilst at McLaren the focus was on Lewis Hamilton who was about to have his final race weekend with the McLaren team.

Button appeared happy in the shadows and after an FP1 and FP2 that had Hamilton topping the timing sheets, Button topped the final practice session on Saturday morning.

McLaren were on form that form continued into qualifying with Lewis Hamilton taking pole position and Jenson Button taking second.

If the team could pull off a one-two finish they could still leapfrog Ferrari in the Formula One constructors championship.

“It’s great for us to both be on the front row, especially as it’s Lewis’s last grand prix for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. Our car is working very well. I was just half-a-tenth away from pole, and I reckon we both drove very good laps. So, yes, I’m happy with qualifying. From the front row, you always hope you’re going to drive a calm and orderly race - but it looks like it’s going to rain tomorrow, so that may make things rather less predictable. This race is important for us. Obviously, we’re out of contention for the world championships, but this weekend’s and last weekend’s performances are very encouraging for next year, which will become our focus immediately after tomorrow’s race.” Button told formula1.com after qualifying.

Considering how much action was happening up and down the field Jenson Button had a pretty uneventful race.

The first corner after the start saw a bit of a threat from the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, but Button held him off and settled into a solid second place behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

On lap 8 Jenson Button overtook Lewis Hamilton for the lead of the race, as the rain began to have its first affects on the afternoon.

Hamilton made his move to change tyres, but Button opted to stay out on track, but by lap 18, the Force India of Nico Hulkenburg, who had already climbed through the race order used his kers on the final corner and swung past Button with no resistance coming from the Brit.

On lap 23 the safety car came out for the next 6 laps to clear away all the debris for a frantic first third of the race. Amazingly Vettel had managed to recover from his first lap incident and was fifth on the re-start directly behind Fernando Alonso, with Lewis Hamilton third, Jenson Button second and Nico Hulkenburg leading.

With the pack tightened following the safety car Lewis Hamilton re-took Button on lap 31, pushing Button down into third place.

Hamilton went on to catch and pass Hulkenburg for the lead, but when an over excited Hulkenburg attempted to re-pass Hamilton for the lead he lost the back end a little and hit Hamilton.

The damage would end Lewis Hamilton's McLaren career prematurely, whilst a drive through penalty for Hulkenburg meant that Button inherited the lead of the race with 15 laps remaining and with no one else capable of competing with McLaren, Button drove the car to victory.

After the race Button said: “Everyone who took part in today’s race deserves respect - it was crazy out there! The conditions were always going to trigger plenty of action, because some cars could generate the required tyre temperatures and others couldn’t. So, for most of the race, you were on a tyre that didn’t feel quite right for the conditions, but for which the lap-times looked okay compared with those of the cars on the other tyre. I spent so much time speaking on the radio to my engineer, Dave [Robson], trying to understand what was going to work and what wasn’t. I had a lot of fun racing with Lewis, especially for the first 10 laps. We had a really good, clean fight. It’s a pity he wasn’t still there at the end - but it was nice to have such a great dice with him in our last race as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team-mates. And I really want to say this: ‘It’s been so good working with you, Lewis. Over the past few years, we’ve driven a lot of great races together. It’s been fab. Going back to the subject of today’s race, the safety car made life more difficult for us - we lost the 40-second buffer we’d built up - but then the rain really came down, and the race became all about choosing the best time to switch to the Inters. Then the challenge altered, and it became all about nursing the car to the end. There was a lot of standing water about, especially where Paul (di Resta) had his accident. I’d been through there on the previous lap and had a big snap too, which was a pretty scary moment. Last but not least, congratulations to Sebastian (Vettel). To win three world championships in a row is a great achievement.”














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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday December 1 2012

Time: 12:00PM

 

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