SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – Race results
Jenson Button's Singapore Grand Prix may not have ended as early as Nico Hulkenberg's but the German's exit played its part in a difficult night for the McLaren man.
Even though he pressed on through to lap 44, when he was eventually forced to retire the #22 car, Button's was effectively over on lap one as he sustained damage while trying to avoid the spinning Hulkenberg, who had been tipped across the pack and into the pitwall. Button successfully dodged the Force India, only to tag his front wing on Valtteri Bottas' Williams as he was taking avoiding action.
“I got a really good start, got alongside Bottas, but Hulkenberg's car came across the circuit,” the Briton recalled, “I didn't see it until he was right in front of me, facing the wrong way. I lifted and pulled to the right, but there wasn't much room to go right and I tagged Bottas with my front wing. That broke, together with the brake ducts and the floor, so I pitted at the end of lap one. I got a new nose, a new set of tyres, but the car was damaged and I running with a lot less downforce than normal.”
F1 World Championship Standings (After Singapore GP)
Having rejoined at the back of the pack, along with Bottas who had suffered a puncture in their contact, Button was thereafter compromised in his efforts to play catch-up as the bodywork damage limited the downforce available to him on the tight Marina Bay street circuit.
After 43 laps of toiling without making much progress, the McLaren team decided to end Button's pain, his engineers taking the precautionary decision to stop his car owing to worsening brake temperatures, a legacy of the brake-duct damage that had occurred on lap one.
“To be fair, my race ended on the first lap,” the 2009 world champion acknowledged, “The reason we stopped was because the brake temperatures had gone up because of the damage. Even the smallest difference to the brake ducts makes the temperatures go high, and the difference after the damage was quite big. We were worried about brake failure, so that's why we stopped.”
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With two weeks to gather his thoughts as the 2016 season edges another race closer to his 'sabbatical', Button is optimistic that the Malaysian Grand Prix will be kinder to the #22, especially with team-mate Fernando Alonso adding to McLaren's points tally in Singapore.
“Things will definitively be better in Malaysia,” Button emphasised, “Fernando did a great job today. I really don't think the car was quick enough to be seventh, so he did a good job. Others had problems, but fair play to him.”
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