23 November 2014
F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: ‘Shouting loudly’ all that’s left for Button
Jenson Button ensured that McLaren finished ahead of Force India in the teams' championship with fifth place in Abu Dhabi, but still has no idea whether he'll be back in F1 next season...
Jenson Button believes that he has exhausted every option open to him in his bid to remain in F1 next season, despite single-handedly keeping McLaren out of the clutches of Force India in the 2014 season finale.
With team-mate Kevin Magnussen getting swamped at the start and spending most of the race trying to fight his way back up the order – the Dane finished the final race of his rookie season in eleventh place – it was down to Button to pick up as many points as he could in a bid to fend off the challenge presented by Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, despite the pair starting outside the top ten.
A good start from the Briton ensured that he ran in and around the top five for much of the evening and, even as the Force India pair made the most of free tyre choice to pick up places by running deep into the race, Button came through to finish just ahead of them. Although his 20 points – double the usual allotment for P5 – was outdone by Force India's combined 28, his positioning was crucial as, without it, the Silverstone team would have finished the year ahead of its much bigger Woking rival.
“I think that is all the car was going to do but, luckily, we finished fifth because we would have lost out in the constructors' championship,” Button confirmed afterwards, his result thought to be worth tens of thousands of pounds to McLaren in terms of prize money.
A decent run of results in the last couple of months has led to calls for Button to be the driver retained by McLaren for 2015, when Fernando Alonso is expected to return to the fold. While the Spaniard told reporters that he was headed for a project that could rival world champions Mercedes, Button admitted that he still did not know his fate for next season.
The fact that he was caught performing 'donuts' on the pristine Yas Marina infield during the slow down lap prompted many to suggest that he knows his days in the top flight are numbered, and Button himself conceded that there were few options left now that the racing had finished.
“Shout really loudly,” he offered, “That's about all there is left to do...”
The Briton, the third most experienced driver in F1 history, was spotted in conversation with team boss Ron Dennis after the race, but faces opposition not only from Magnussen but also, potentially, from GP2 Series runner-up Stoffel Vandoorne, who has been on McLaren's books for the past year and won Saturday's feature race in Abu Dhabi.
“I've had a good end to the year,” Button reflected, “The start of the year was great too, but the middle was a little bit tricky as I had a lot changing in terms of my engineers. We'd been together so many years and had a good partnership, so that was a bit of a surprise, but now I feel we're on top of that.
“It always takes a bit of time with bonding and what-have-you, but it's great now and this is a perfect way to end the season. Hopefully, it's not my last...”
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