Button: Intelligence hurt Alonso in Monaco
29 May 2013
Jenson Button believes that Fernando Alonso could have had a better result in the Monaco Grand Prix had he not appeared to be driving with one eye on the world championship.
While slipping to seventh at the chequered flag could, ironically, prove to be the difference between winning the title or not, Button is convinced that his Spanish rival adopted a safety-first policy to ensure that he scored some points rather than go home empty handed for the second time in six races.
Alonso arrived in Monaco on the back of an emotional win in his home race at the Circuit de Catalunya, and appeared to be on the pace during Thursday practice. However, when qualifying came around, the lead Ferrari had to make do with a spot on the outside of row three, and, despite running in the top six for much of the race, the Spaniard appeared reluctant to get involved in skirmishes with his rivals.
Having been forced to take avoiding action when Button's McLaren team-mate, Sergio Perez, shaped to pass at the chicane, Alonso was forced to give up his place to the Mexican, while both Button and Adrian Sutil appeared to catch the double world champion napping in the closing stages.
"They always say that, at Monaco, the cream rises to the top," Button was quoted by sportinglife.com after the race, "If you put yourself in a good place in qualifying that is maybe the case but, in the race, I'm not so sure. I think the brave will always do well around Monaco, but there's a fine line between bravery and something else.
"You can see that with Fernando, someone who is regarded as the best in F1, yet who went backwards. He made moves he felt were correct, but he was hurt by those. Other people were able to overtake him because he didn't push the boundaries. I overtook him because I had tried to overtake in one place and I dived down the inside at another.”
While championship leader Sebastian Vettel enjoyed a relatively incident-free race in second place, the group encompassing Alonso – which, at times, ranged from Kimi Raikkonen in fifth place back to Jean-Eric Vergne in ninth – was a lot more fraught, with Perez being the biggest thorn in the side of his rivals. While Alonso survived one attack from the Mexican, Raikkonen was not so lucky, and was left fuming when a second attempt to pass left both cars with damage.
"Fernando is obviously fighting for the championship, and you could see that with the way he drove,” Button noted, "You can see the difference between someone who wants to do well in one race and someone who is thinking about 19 races. Fernando is an intelligent driver, but that probably hurt his result in Monaco."