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F1 British Grand Prix: First lap exit a turn-off for Button

Jenson Button's plans to give the British F1 fans someone else to cheer at Silverstone went awry after he was caught up in someone else's accident on the opening lap.
He might not have expected a points finish to reward his loyal fans but, equally, Jenson Button would not have anticipated his afternoon to finish with less than a lap on the board in what could, conceivably, be his last British Grand Prix.

The Briton was collateral damage in a chaotic third corner incident precipitated by Romain Grosjean stumbling over one of the Red Bulls and collecting his team-mate Pastor Maldonado in his bid to avoid an accident. As the two-black-and-gold cars exited stage left, Button's McLaren team-mate, Fernando Alonso, was forced into his own avoiding action – which led to the Spaniard spinning into the Briton's path….

“It looks like there's two cars having an incident on the apex of turn three, Fernando's tried to miss them and I think he's lost the rear and just clipped my rear tyre,” Button summed up after returning to the paddock, “The impact turned my car off, so the engine's not running….”

The incident unfolded so quickly, Button insisted that he had no time to react, leaving him as a soft target on another afternoon to forget.

“[Alonso] was spinning and I was alongside him,” the 2009 world champion continued, “I thought there was enough room, but I didn't realise he was spinning so he's clipped my rear and the car's gone up in the air. It came down quite aggressively and I guess that turned the car off.”

The accident was again the result of the McLaren-Honda package lacking the performance to escape from the first round of qualifying, with both Alonso and Button seeing their Saturday afternoon participation end too early.

“When you're starting so far back, there is always a chance that this happens and I'm surprised it hasn't happened more often really,” Button confirmed, “Incidents are a lot easier at the back of the grid because you come up on cars, and the closing speeds in corners….. yeah, it's going to happen until we find pace!

“We can't drive the first lap letting everyone by. We're here to race and to fight – as drivers, we need that, but haven't had it much this year because of the pace of the car. Hopefully, the next race will be much better….”

In the absence of the German Grand Prix, the schedule enjoys another three-week hiatus before the fast sweeps of Silverstone are exchanged for the altogether tighter confines of the Hungaroring, and Button is indeed more confident that the MP4-30 has a chance to show better form.

“We think the car will work better there, even if we took this car, but there'll be more upgrades as well so we're hoping for a better race,” he confirmed, hoping for a repeat of the Monaco points that remain the sole entry on his 2015 scorecard.

“I'm still racing an F1 car and, every time you get in the cockpit, you're optimistic it'll improve,” he noted, “We've had a couple of really bad races but I'm still optimistic that it's going to improve at the next race. Of course I'm disappointed. It's in front of the home crowd and you always want to put on a good show - even if you're going to be near the back, you still want to put on a good show and give it everything. I gave it everything for three corners...”

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July 06, 2015 1:29 PM

Ever the politician, Button as usual being positive about a hopeless situation, probably his last season as RD wants Magnussen in the car for next year. Button is better off out of it as they are not going forward at all, still on the back of the grid, unreliable and well off the pace, 2016 will be little better and by that time Alonso will be throwing his toys out of the pram as well. Probably better to walk away with your head held high rather than put up with the bull**** that emanates from RD and Boullier. The fact that nobody else wants him shows how far F1 has declined, much better and necessary to have a pay driver of indeterminate talent than somebody who has done the job and still can.


July 06, 2015 8:03 PM

I think even the most determined diehard McLaren fan is completely demoralised now. Seems to me that Honda took a flyer on an engine concept that just plain hasn't worked. They have said they plan to use all remaining seven tokens "redesigning the combustion chambers". That is the breathing heart of the engine, and if they got that wrong (which is becoming more apparent) nothing else is going to work. But it's not just about the motor. Eagle eyed McLaren spotters would have quickly realised that they lacked downforce even in pre-season testing, and now, mid season they have a "new lighter monocoque" and a shorter nose. That is 3/4 of the entire car. So, big problems at McLaren. I believe that what you will see emerge is a true Peter Prodomou car, not just the odd front wing design. Red Bull have proved that it is possible to drag an underpowered car forwards, but this McLaren is suffering from the double whammy of both major power and chassis deficiencies.. How soon before Button and

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