McLaren: Button wanted to pass Alonso without using DRS

2011 Brazilian GP team review

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Jenson Button confirmed his runner-up place in the championship after finishing third in Brazil.

Lewis HamiltonJenson Button
Qualifying position43
Qualifying time comparison (Q3)1’12.480 (+0.197)1’12.283
Race position3
Pit stops33

McLaren drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

Lewis Hamilton86.03479.3578.90278.8178.67778.7378.45178.56378.59578.49878.73479.39479.30778.90979.02682.19793.30778.00377.76478.05277.877.99877.89177.96577.76277.75777.93377.68977.82779.2178.43977.66381.40291.56777.20977.55577.37877.55677.40977.7278.24278.86878.11281.81192.05977.624
Jenson Button84.5879.07179.01778.76778.96378.67478.478.5578.4178.8279.84179.20378.81878.78482.40993.09878.09477.93677.77978.09377.84778.07578.04577.69277.96178.10778.18677.75977.98178.18881.63992.00277.62177.68676.97778.04177.24977.45777.34777.18877.0877.20177.15277.21377.0777.18977.28977.11876.91377.33277.68481.18892.25676.30275.98975.99876.06976.22376.13976.17276.81176.48975.5875.58675.82575.88976.01475.69375.77276.65278.859

Lewis Hamilton

Start tyreSoft
Pit stop 1Soft 21.099s
Pit stop 2Soft 20.396s
Pit stop 3Medium 20.681s

Hamilton admitted he “just wasn’t quite quick enough” in qualifying and took fourth on the grid behind Button.

He fell behind both the Ferraris during the race and was shaping up to pass Felipe Massa when his gearbox failed: “It occurred quite early on – I was having problems with first and second – and it meant I started losing quite a lot of time and Fernando [Alonso] and Jenson were able to pull away from me.

“The problem meant I stopped being able to make good, clean gearshifts. Then I lost seventh, and then the whole thing just let go.”

Lewis Hamilton 2011 form guide

Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2011
Start tyreSoft
Pit stop 1Soft 22.005s
Pit stop 2Medium 21.038s
Pit stop 3Medium 21.583s

Button ended his string of poor qualifying performances at Interlagos – he’d averaged worse than 14th on the grid in his last five appearances.

He was slightly disappointed not to be on the front row: “My quick lap was pretty ragged.

“I was pretty aggressive on the throttle, which you have to be to be fast around here. That’s not normally my style, but it was definitely quick and in fact I crossed the line thinking I’d be farther up the grid than I eventually was.”

Button seemed happier on the harder tyres all weekend and came under pressure from Alonso at the start of the race while on softs.

Alonso eventually passed him at Ferradura: “Fernando got the run on me out of turn five, got alongside me and I picked the wrong line, because that lap [was] when Michael [Schumacher] had his puncture and there was rubber all down the inside (of the track).

“I didn’t know what it was, whether it was part of a car, so I couldn’t risk just driving straight through it, and I couldn’t pull to the left because Fernando was there. So I had to back off early and pull in behind. I would say he was gifted the position quite easily.”

His tyre problems forced him into the pits soon afterwards: “I pitted earlier than expected. I really struggled on the tyre that I’ve been struggling with all weekend and strangely, I couldn’t look after the tyre, I really struggled with degradation, especially at the rear end, which was a little bit of a shock.

“But for me, the problem in the first stint was Fernando, he pushed me very hard, and when someone’s doing that, you have to drive a little bit harder, so I was pushing the tyres pretty hard.”

After two stints on soft tyres he switched to the mediums – unlike his rivals, running two stints on the harder tyres: “That helped me chase Fernando down in the final stint and pass him out of turn three.

“Ideally, I wanted to get him into turn one, because it’s more fun to pass someone without using DRS.

“But I set him up and got him out of turn three after getting a good run along the straight.”

His 12th podium finish of the year confirmed Button as the runner-up in this year’s championship.

Jenson Button 2011 form guide

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix

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    Image © McLaren

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    Keith Collantine
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    44 comments on “McLaren: Button wanted to pass Alonso without using DRS”

    1. It was an odd weekend for McLaren really. I was expecting them to be a lot closer to the Red Bulls but they were quite a way off. Great qualifying lap from Button but when it came to the race he seemed really slow in the first two stints. He obviously turned it on on the harder tyre and it was an exciting few laps watching Button chase down Alonso.

      Hamilton really did lose a whole chunk of time stuck behind Massa, something like 1.2 seconds a lap to Button allowing him to pull away.

      Jenson did a great job considering his relatively slow pace for the majority of the race. I can’t wait to see if McLaren can challenge Red Bull from the off next year as Button almost equalled Vettel for the second half of the season.

      1. it must be difficult to pass with no 7th gear and dodgy gear shifts! Lewis actually did a great job considering his problems, quicker than Jenson at points.

        Nice to hear that from Jenson, i thought that would have been a great fight without DRS

        1. the problem with hamilton and barichello is that they have big mouths. I am sure that hamilton could have been in contention had he spared massa and focused on his races because he is talented. Instead he kept talking her and there spreading fury

      2. Speed played Smedley telling Massa, that’s exactly how to race, hold him back, etc. At this point I was in dry-mouthed fear of a collision and the resulting eruption of handbags. Thankfully Hamilton pitted rather than again get chopped by Massa or running into to him.

        It’s hard to respect or understand what Massa and Smedley mean to do at the races. It is as though Massa’s sole aim in a race is to delay Hamilton. Just as in Singapore. How on earth was staying out on busted tires heliping Massa, as Button and Alonso streaked away? It’s not like he was going to somehow beat Hamilton by stopping one less time.

        1. How on earth was staying out on busted tires heliping Massa, as Button and Alonso streaked away?

          Massa was on a two-stop strategy.

          1. Massa apparently had to do a 2-stop strategy because they found a puncture on one of the sets of soft’s he would have run.

            Since the Ferrari struggles on the harder tyres they didn’t want to have to run them for that long so a 2-stop was the only strategy avaliable to him.

    2. “I would say he was gifted the position quite easily”
      that was a stunning & a brave move from alonso (it’s not the first time by the way) not any driver can overtake at that point what is he talking about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Because Button pulled out and gave him the place. He wouldn’t have given up in that position normally, so he gifted the place to Alonso. I suppose Alonso did well to be keeping his foot in at that point, but he got the place because Button had to yield unexpectedly.

        1. I still think it was a very nice move, you could even think that Alonso anticipated on the fact the track was dirty so that Button had to choose to risk debris or loose out straight away. I wouldn’t be surprised.

          But Button did the smart thing to keep himself in the race, yes. And he knew he would have the speed to get Alonso on the medium tires later in the race, so clever racing by him too.

          1. I agree it was still a nice move, but I imagine it was more luck than judgement that it came off so easily. Alonso went the only way he could, so I doubt he pre-empted debris.

      2. That is some tough talk from Jenson Button, but Alonso was climbing all over him at that point. And after Alsono went by, Hamilton was also on top of him, bum gearbox and all. Button had no pace on the soft tire.

      3. Such a bad loser

        1. It’s quite clear on the replay that Button didn’t attempt to keep ahead of Alonso. Besides which Button ultimately finished quite some distance ahead of Alonso so I don’t think suggesting that he’s a bad loser is really very accurate!

          If, on the other hand, I’ve misunderstood and what you mean is that Alonso is “such a bad loser” then, on the evidence of the 2007 season, that seems like a fair comment, but he does seem to have got used to it and mellowed a little by now.

      4. JB did the same move on Grosjean in 2009.

        1. Mid pack, off the start and on cold tyres I might add.

        2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          29th November 2011, 14:07

          Yes, and do you think Button and Grosjean can be compared? Alonso did that move to S-C-H-U-M in Hungary IN THE RAIN in 2006 (or 05) and even I’m not an ALonso fan, he makes the heck of a move from time to time

          1. “Alonso did that move to S-C-H-U-M in Hungary IN THE RAIN in 2006”

            On tyres 3 seconds quicker than the Bridgestones in those conditions.

    3. “Ideally, I wanted to get him into turn one, because it’s more fun to pass someone without using DRS.

      Ace remarke Jenson!

      1. Perfect view of real feelings of à racer towards DRS, I’d say

        1. I think if you’d interviewed Fernando in Abu Dhabi last year you might have got a different answer!

      2. Agree, that’s the spirit. Would be great if the best drivers would make a pact to try and overtake each other only without DRS next season!

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          29th November 2011, 14:11

          @bosyber check a post i made on the forum about that, and people “destroyed me” with comments about “that would be unfair” trash… I stated DRS should only be used in out – of – points places

          1. I see that not many were in favour of that @OmarR-Petter! The difference with what I “propose” (well, with my speaking out my hope, more accurately) is that the top drivers would decide it for themselves, and could opt out of not using it if they had a puncture and had to work their way back, or something – you’d think they should be able to do that w/o DRS, but if they have half a race to get through the field, I might forgive them ^^

    4. Stunning move from Alonso to Button but Button has upper hands…or car? whatever. I’m really worried about this year’s 2nd finest driver. Is it Button or Alonso? Hard question.

      1. i think it’s alonso, but it’s close…button is great driver..:)

        1. I’d say Button, with Alonso right on his heels.
          Both drove better than last season, but Button improved more than Alonso did, that’s why I give him the nod.

          1. Button from his debut in a Williams, has indeed come a long way. A promise that was not realized until ’09, when Brawn GP gave him the opportunity of his lifetime. He did well to hold on to the opportunity and make something out of it, and little did people realize that Button would possibly be challenging the best of Modern GP era, well who/ what gets pushed around as best, Hamilton. However, Button did not just stop at competing with his team mate, he bettered his team mate, and well, until his car quit on him, fared reasonably well and would have had a bigger gap to his team mate and 3rd position otherwise.

            Alonso. 2007 was a very tough year for him. Any man with self respect wouldn’t want to be in a work environment he had to endure, what with his own team betting against him. Then the Renault and Briatore episode left his reputation more tattered than the British media had in ’07. Ferrari was not exactly easy going to start with, what with him replacing Kimi. Some were even questioning his ability, relative to Kimi’s. However, Alonso has put to rest all theories and fears about his potential as a driver. This year, Alonso managed to get a lot more out of his car, than his rivals in somewhat apparent faster cars, Webber, Hamilton come to mind. Solid points finish has seen him end up pretty close to Webber and reasonably ahead of Hamilton, which speaks a lot about his ability. One might say that Massa was not upto scratch this year, but that doesn’t take away anything from what Alonso managed to put together this year.

            Between the two, it is pretty hard to pick, but i guess i would think Alonso is more rounded a driver, with potential to do one quick lap more reliably and repeatedly, and stands equal in ability to bringing a car home. Make no mistake, Button has improved overall a lot more, but Alonso was already quite up there in terms of ability where improvements are made but in smaller increments.

            1. Alonso is probably the best F1 driver out there right now. Hamilton is the fastest and Vettel is in the best car. The others are quite good too!

    5. Well Button.. you don’t need to push the DRS button then

    6. I agree with Button, DRS passes are no fun.

      One of the reasons I dislike DRS is because of this, DRS passing isn’t fun or exciting to watch.

    7. Alonso Best overtake of 2011 On JB.

      1. Nah, move of 2011 still goes to Webber on Alonso at the bottom of Eau Rouge.
        Regardless of what Button says about giving him the position though, I still think Alonso around the outside was mighty.

        1. Yeah, Webber on Fernando into Eau Rouge was absolutely immense! BEst overtake for many a year

          1. I thought it was amusing watching Hamilton at Monza, farting around behind Schumacher for a dozen laps trying to get past and then JB got bored and passed them both within 5 seconds, taking Schumacher around the outside into Ascari never to be seen again by either.

            1. Yep JB got so bored he magically told schumis tyres to fall off the cliff, influenced him to squeeze hamilton off the track causing him to lose position, then to cap it all off got MS to drive over the kerbs on the INSIDE of ascari, leaving the track entirely?

              Think you were watching a different race than I was mate… But it seems like a number of Button fans have been this year. Undoubtedly his best year in the sport, but come on this is getting ridiculous.

        2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          29th November 2011, 14:19

          +1000 that Webber move was “not bad for a second driver” and if he had showed that strenght throughout the whole season we would hace had the chance of a better championship. Webber was the only one who could have really made a stand vs Vettel. Not underestimating Button or Alonso, I say it for THE CAR. Eau Rouge Webber’s move was the best of th season, even when some may claim Alonso was on cold tyres

    8. While Jenson could legitimately say Alonso was gifted with the position, you still have to admire Alonso for having the foresight to position his car for the move. If he wasn’t in the right position there was no move to execute.

      1. Yep, you can’t knock the guys balls when he’s hanging it out around the outside of ferradura, that’s for sure!!

        1. Its typical of button, the bbc and some british media outlets to try and rubbish fernando’s great overtake – these pro-button media groups try everything to hype him up and rubbish the rest.
          -Im sure the steak-dinner treat by button to the corrupt british media serves its purpose – and now cue Keith to rubbish this…here we go….over to you keith!

          Button is saying he prefers passing without DRS…but the bottomline is that without DRS..button proved to be very underwhelming. And his farcicle victory in canada wouldntve been achieved without the double DRS and numerous safetycars which gifted him.

          DRS is a joke and allows drivers who didnt have the balls before to overtake via sheer skill have been thrown a big lifeline which helps those who didnt have the balls in the 1st place – button is one of those drivers who should be worshipping the fake and artificial tool in the DRS to hide his shortcomings.

          DRS is a joke..and its made f1 a joke too.

          1. Funny read.

            I’ll point you in the direction of 09, when Button proved to be a great overtaker, and also the simple fact that Button backed out because of debris on the racing line. Great move by Alonso, but the overtake was a lot easier than it should have been.

            1. But that misses the distinction that Alonso might have done the move there, that way, exactly because of the debris on track, which would mean he made sure it would be a successful move, and thus again very impressive.

          2. Funny read because a big talk that affected the decision on bringing DRS was Alonso not being able to get around Petrov last year.

    9. A good race for Button, really enjoyed that move on Alonso! Potential over-take of the season there.

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