Jenson Button has praised the strategic planning of the McLaren team after claiming his first victory of the 2011 F1 season at a rain-affected Canadian Grand Prix.
The Briton, who has had to watch as team-mate Lewis Hamilton became the only driver to deny Sebastian Vettel victory this season, was running last at one point after a combination of tyre changes and drive-thru' penalties appeared to have scuppered his chances of returning to the top step of the podium, but mounted a stirring charge back to the front, picking off Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher in quick succession, before catching and forcing Sebastian Vettel into an error on the final lap.
"I really do not know what to say," he smiled after the race, "It has been a very emotional three hours - I got a drive-through for speeding behind the safety car and I had to fight my way through about three times, but, eventually, on the last lap, I was chasing Seb down. It was an immense battle and a great result. I have got to say a big thank you to the whole team and the work they have done. I think I must have pitted eight or nine times in this race and they did a great job every time so thank you very much."
Button's actual pit tally was five tyre stops and a drive-thru', and he was quick to praise the efforts of the McLaren team, both on the pit-wall and in the trenches as they reacted to the conditions.
"[The race] had its ups and downs, let's just say that," he laughed, "It's definitely one of those grands prix where you are nowhere, then you're somewhere, then you're nowhere and then you're somewhere. As we always say, the last lap is the important one to be leading and I was leading half of it.
"It felt like I spent more time in the pits than on the pit straight. The guys did a great job of calling the strategy. At some points, we definitely lucked out, especially when the red flag came out, but we called it very well going to slicks. The car was working really well in these tricky conditions, so I enjoyed it very much coming through the field.
"Fighting your way through is almost as good as winning a race - that feeling of getting one up on someone. To be on the podium was a pretty exceptional result and to fight my way through from, I think, last position. It's definitely my best race and I want to say a big thank you to the whole team for staying calm in some very difficult circumstances, especially when I damaged the front left and the front wing.
"I think, strategy-wise, we sometimes get it wrong, but a lot of the time we get it right. Moving onto intermediates in the first race, and then moving to intermediates in the second race was the right call. The car on the intermediates and the slicks felt fantastic but, on the wet tyre, didn't really work. It was a very special race to win from where I was and I will remember this for a long time."
The Briton was also thankful to the new-for-2011 DRS system after getting close enough to Vettel to be able to deploy the technology and give himself a chance of snatching victory when the German made an error.