25 August 2014
F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Button happy after ‘long game’ pays off
Jenson Button wanted more from the Belgian F1 Grand Prix, but admitted that it was fun seeing strategy allow him to race hard in the closing stages.
Jenson Button admitted that he felt his strategy warranted a higher position in the results of the Belgian Grand Prix, but was nevertheless happy to have picked up a fourth consecutive points finish.
The Briton found himself in the same four-car scrap for fifth in the closing stages as McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen, but being rebuffed in his attempt to pass the both the Dane and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso stunted his progress, and he eventually fell to seventh at the flag.
Although a subsequent penalty for Magnussen, who was adjudged to have forced Alonso onto the grass shortly before Button made his move, elevated the Briton to sixth place, he felt a top five spot would have been reward for the strategy he and the McLaren team put in place.
“We played the long game,” Button revealed, “Everyone went jumping early on the pit-stops, but I felt I'd kept the [soft] tyres in good condition, so we played the long game and it sort of worked out.
“I was talking the whole time with the engineers about when to stop - they were saying 'can you push for two more laps?' and [told me] 'you'll drop behind another car', but I said 'I don't care, I think we can pass easily, so let's play the long game and catch them towards the end of the race', which is what we did.
“I was hoping for two places further up - it didn't happen, but it was a lot of fun trying.”
Although there was no contact with Magnussen during the battle, Button was forced to back out of his move on the Dane, allowing Alonso to retake sixth place, before the loss of momentum also allowed Vettel to take a run on the McLaren.
“We didn't touch, but obviously I had to back out,” the Briton confirmed, “We all know the circuit limits and we try not to go off the circuit, so I had to back out when I had no circuit left and Fernando got through, which was a pity.
“In turn, I lost a place to Sebastian too. With him on a new set of options, it was always going to be difficult - the grip level difference and the car performance difference meant it was tough to keep him behind, but we had a good battle out there.”
Although he was able to take advantage of Alonso's last lap tough with Vettel, which cost the Spaniard his front wing, Button crossed the line just behind his team-mate, and had to wait some time before the stewards confirmed that he would be classified sixth, rather than seventh after the Dane was demoted outside the points.
“From where I started on the grid, it wasn't too bad at all,” Button commented, “I think the wet really hurt us in qualifying as we were running a very stiff car, but it was a great race.
“It's a shame I couldn't get by Kevin about four laps from the end, as that put me in a really difficult position. If you were racing against just one other person, you'd wait for the DRS zone, but when you're racing against three other guys, you have to go for it or else they'll jump you...”
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