27 July 2014
Hungarian F1 Grand Prix: McLaren ‘threw it all away’ – Button
Jenson Button cut a frustrated figure at the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix, after a incorrect weather prediction proved costly in another unpredictable F1 encounter.
Jenson Button's pursuit of a potential podium position in the Hungarian Grand Prix came undone on the belief that further rain was heading towards the Hungaroring.
The Briton had made a decent start to hold down fifth position exiting turn one – having passed eventual racewinner Daniel Ricciardo in the process – and was one of only two drivers to take on another set of intermediate Pirellis at the first round of pit-stops precipitated by Marcus Ericsson's lap seven accident. He emerged from the pits in second place and quickly despatched Ricciardo for a second time to assume the lead.
The tyre decision, however, proved to be misguided, with the team's understanding that further rain was imminent a long way wide of the mark as the race remained dry thereafter, forcing Button and team-mate Magnussen into an early second stop to join the rest of the field on slicks.
“On the radar, the team thought it was going to rain so...,” a clearly frustrated Button confirmed after coming home tenth at the end of 70 laps, “I did everything right in the race and that's why its always tough when, in every condition, you do everything you can....
“[I was] fifth at the stat of the race, definitely out of position, and put the car in a good place - then we threw it all away! Who knows where I could have finished…”
McLaren's racing director Eric Boullier accepted that the team had been working from incorrect data, revealing that the team's forecast showed that there would be further rain within nine minutes of the safety car period.
“We worked hard to make the most of the tricky conditions at the start of the race – but it didn't go our way,” he noted, “That's frustrating but, equally, that's racing – it happens sometimes.
“We made the wrong call but, in such a topsy-turvy race weather-wise, sometimes there are some very narrow margins involved. If things had panned out differently, we may have had a good afternoon – but we don't dwell on the maybes. We'll learn from this experience, and we'll move on. We tried our best today, but it just didn't work out for us – that's a shame for both Jenson and Kevin, because they both drove very well in some difficult circumstances.”
Button fitted the soft Pirelli at his second stop, dropping to the tail of the field, and then switched to the medium for the run to the flag, but made little progress once he had broken back into the top ten. He also survived a potential unsafe release call as, during the chaos of the mass pit visit, he was waved out perilously close to another car.
“I haven't seen it on camera, but I saw the car coming, lifted off and obviously let him go in front,” Button claimed, “There was no incident and I knew what was going on, so that's the most important thing.”
McLaren's addition of a single point prevented the Woking team from taking advantage of a rare bad afternoon for Force India, which failed to get either of its cars to the chequered flag. It remains behind its rival, 98 points to 97, in sixth spot overall.
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