Monday, 21 July 2014

Button backtracks on criticism of Hamilton

Jenson Button on track.
(McLaren Mercedes)

McLaren's Jenson Button took to Twitter last night to apologize to Lewis Hamilton for overreacting to the pairs collision. The McLaren and Mercedes drivers clashed on their way into the hairpin at the Hockenheimring during yesterday's German Grand Prix. Despite sustaining daamage to his car Hamilton had been making his way up through the field after starting the race form 20th place finished the event on the podium behind Williams Martini Racing's Valtteri Bottas and race winner and title rival Nico Rosberg.

Button went on to finish the race in eighth place just ahead of team mate Kevin Magnussen after starting the race from 12th place. Speaking to media in the pen immediately after the race Button said:

'I think the problem with Lewis is he expected me to let him past. I don't think I'm the only person he drove into today. It's strange, when the car is that much quicker you'd think you wouldn't get into those kind of fights - but there you go.'

However, last night after watching the race back the 2009 champion wrote on his official Twitter feed:

'After watching the race back think I overreacted with my feeling about Lewis' move. I can understand why he thought I was giving him room.'

Speaking about his own race Button said:

'I got a good start – I was running as high as sixth in the early stages – so things were looking okay. But I think we got the strategy wrong when we made our second stop. I’m not sure why we stopped so early, but it made it extremely difficult for me to keep the set of tyres alive until the end of the race, which was the plan at that point.
“The strategy didn’t work out for us, which was a shame, but we’ll learn some useful lessons from it.
“When I felt the hit from Lewis [Hamilton, on lap 30], I was a bit surprised. A lot of drivers take a wider entry line into Turn Six in order to get a better exit – perhaps Lewis expected me to let him past, but why would I let anybody through? We were racing.'

Kevin Magnussen had a disappointing start to his race as he was involved in a collision with Williams Martini Racing's Felipe Massa which resulted in the Brazilian briefly going up side down. The Dane went on to finish the race in ninth place. Speaking afterwards he said:

'A real pity: I think I could’ve had a decent race if I hadn’t had the accident at Turn One. I need to see a replay of the accident, but I feel that, if I’d had somewhere to go, then there wouldn’t have been contact with Felipe. I did my best to try and avoid the accident, but there wasn’t much else I could do.
“I spun after that, and had to box to change tyres and the nosebox. Then I spent the first half of the race coming through from the back of the field. Really, it wasn’t the best thing that could happen.
“Still, there are some positives from today – the car behaved extremely well; the rear tyres held on – which is something new for this car, it’s usually a bigger problem to keep the rears alive, but today it was okay.
“I’m happy to come away with some points, but I’m disappointed because we should have scored more. I hope we can be on the pace and get a decent result in Hungary next week.”

McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier commented:

'Obviously, we’re extremely disappointed with this result. This should have been a day when we scored a useful clutch of world championship points; instead, we go home having lost ground to all our key rivals, which is extremely frustrating.
“Kevin’s turn one incident at the start was very unfortunate; he’d made a great getaway, and was pushing to stay close to Valtteri Bottas. Massa was on the outside and probably didn’t see Kevin, who was on the inside line, and had nowhere to go. Kevin was quite blameless in the accident, so it’s even more annoying that it destroyed his chances of finishing in the top four.
“However, I think Kevin deserves commending for the level-headed drive he posted thereafter; with the promise of a good result lost, and having been relegated to the very back, it would have been very easy to lose focus, but Kevin drove with great maturity. Two points is scant reward, but he worked hard for them today.
“Jenson drove well, too; he showed tremendous fighting spirit even when the odds were somewhat stacked against him. His was a very aggressive strategy, which, as the race wore on, we began to appreciate wasn’t going to succeed. Despite some great defending, Jenson was ultimately powerless to stop other drivers from leapfrogging him as his tyres faded away.
“We’ve worked hard to get ourselves into a situation where we can score good points regularly, so today was disappointing. Still, the Hungarian Grand Prix is but one week away, and we’ll be doing our best to score some good points before the onset of the summer break.'

© Ben Johnston 2014

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