Tag Archives: Jenson Button

Button snatches last-gasp victory in epic Canadian Grand Prix

A safety car start protects Vettel's lead

A safety car start protects Vettel's lead

Jenson Button snatched victory in Canada today on the final lap of the race. Sebastian Vettel was leading every lap, until a slip with half a lap to go allowed Button through after laps of pressure from the McLaren. Mark Webber was 3rd, while a podium just slipped out of Michael Schumacher’s grasp. Here is the full report:

Showers in the morning and across the afternoon meant the track was soaked at the start. Oddly enough, the race was started under the safety car, despite the fact that the conditions were only mildly wet. The field, who were obliged to start on extreme wets, circulated behind Bernd Maylander for 4 laps, before the pack was released.

Fernando Alonso hounded Sebastian Vettel at the start, but the Red Bull held its ground. Lewis Hamilton dived down the inside of Mark Webber, but it ended in disaster, as the two collided. Mark was relegated to near the back of the pack, and Lewis fell behind Schumacher and Button.

A mistake from Button allowed both the Mercedes and his teammate through. Hamilton was fast on the back of Michael, but Schumacher pushed him wide at the hairpin, allowing Button past again.

Lewis Hamilton is squeezed by Jenson Button on Canada's pit straight

Lewis Hamilton is squeezed by Jenson Button on Canada's pit straight

A slow exit onto the pit straight allowed Hamilton to run alongside Button, but calamity struck. Jenson failed to check his mirrors, and accidentaly squeezed Lewis straight into the wall, taking the McLaren out with suspension damage. Button pitted for repairs, and was also the first man to take on intermediate tyres.

The safety car made its second appearance, while the rain began to fall again. Both of the McLarens were under investigation twice, for the collision, and for speeding under the safety car. When the safety car pitted, Button was awarded a drive-through for the latter, and fell to the back of the pack.

The intermediate switch turned out to be a blessing, as Button started to tear through the field. Barrichello took on the inters also, and their scintillating pace prompted Alonso and Adrian Sutil to pit three laps later. Having fallen back slightly, Fernando soon sliced past the two Renaults to take 6th.

With very little warning, a huge shower hit the track. The safety car was deployed once again, while the rest of the field pitted for extreme wets again. The Red Bulls manipulated the conditions to the max, pitting both cars for new wets, effectively giving them a free pit stop.

New race leader Felipe Massa pitted a lap later, and handed the lead back to Vettel. The man making the most progress was Kamui Kobayashi, leaping up to 2nd after staying out during the shower. The rain got much worse, as the back straight became completely saturated, and the red flag was thrown.

The drivers and teams patiently wait for the restart

The drivers and teams patiently wait for the restart

It turned out to be the correct decision by Charlie Whiting, as the rain quickly turned into an absolute downpour, completely flooding the track. For more than two hours, viewers around the world were left waiting for the downpour to end.

A second heavy shower failed to materialise, and the race was restarted under the safety car at 15:50 local time. While the field trawled around behind the safety car, Heikki Kovalainen retired with a suspected loss of drive.

At the race restart, Vettel tore away, while Massa took Kobayashi at Turn 1. At the end of Lap 35, several drivers, including Button, took on intermediate tyres. However, not even a few laps had passed before Bernd Maylander was out again. Jenson Button was squeezed by Fernando Alonso at Turn 3, and the Ferrari came off worse, spinning and hitting the barriers. The McLaren pitted with a front left puncture.

Even though most of the field were now on intermediates, the stewards made the call to enable DRS with 24 laps remaining. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher got past Heidfeld to move up into 4th.

Button displayed his mastery of the tricky conditions, once again slicing up the field to 12th position. Slips from Pastor Maldonado and Sebastien Buemi allowed the McLaren back into the points.

Mark Webber was the first to bravely go out on super-softs. The battle for second took an intriguing turn, with Michael Schumacher shocking everyone by blasting his way past both Massa and Kobayashi when the Sauber ran wide.

Unfortunately, Massa lost his podium spot when, while lapping a backmarker, he ran onto the wet side of the track, slipped and knocked off his front wing. He pitted for repairs, handing 3rd to Mark Webber, who had gained nicely from his early stop. He was soon all over the back of the Mercedes.

Kobayashi was now falling quickly down the field. Nick Heidfeld was much faster, but accidentaly clipped his front wing against the Sauber. The wing then dislodged, and launched the Renault into the air, sending debris everywhere and ruling Heidfeld out. Incredibly, the safety car made yet another appearance as the marshals cleared up the debris.

The race restart saw Schumacher falter, and come under huge pressure from Webber and Button, who had torn his way through the pack yet again. Webber tried a move at the final corner, but ran wide and handed 3rd place to Button. Jenson, being no slouch, quickly soared past Schumacher, with Webber taking the Mercedes a lap later.

With 2 laps to go, Button began hounding Vettel for the win. A 1.1 second gap on the back straight ruled out DRS, so the battle went to the final lap. With Button quickly inside the 1-second window, the tension became unbearable as Jenson sized up the Red Bull.

However, he didn’t need to use the rear wing at all. At Turn 5, on the last lap, Sebastian ran wide on the damp track, handing the win to Button, amid a deafening roar from the crowd. The duo of Webber and Schumacher were too far behind to capitalise, but the damage was done, as Button sailed to the finish to take a astonishing win.

After a drive-through penalty, two collisions with two punctures and falling to 21st with 20 laps to go, the Briton managed one of the most incredible comebacks of Formula 1 history.

However, it wasn’t over yet. Kamui Kobayashi had been reeled in by Felipe Massa, and on the final straight on the final lap, DRS put the two cars alongside as they crossed the finish line. An incredibly close finish for 6th was awarded to Massa by less than a tenth of a second.

After one of the most chaotic races in F1 history, it was a relief to see a driver other than Vettel on the top spot. However, the championship will still be a struggle for the Briton, as there s a 60-point gap to the Red Bull driver.

Button on top in Turkey Friday Practice 2

Button put McLaren on top in the dry conditions

Button put McLaren on top in the dry conditions

Jenson Button headed up the timesheets in second practice for the Turkish Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel was stuck in the pits after his crash this morning.

Nico Rosberg continued his impressive form with 2nd place, less than a tenth off the McLaren. Lewis Hamilton was a further half second behind in 3rd.

The first dry running of the weekend saw much less tyre degradation than expected.

Michael Schumacher survived a scare at Turn 11 to finish 4th, with Mark Webber and Felipe Massa 5th and 6th. Felipe briefly led proceedings early on, but the three-time winner here failed to maintain his pace.

His teammate Fernando Alonso was hampered by a hydraulic issue. A spin later on confined him to 11th.

Williams had a turbulent session, with Rubens Barrichello pulling out after KERS problems. Pastor Maldonado spun on a damp patch at Turn 8, damaging the front of his car, also ending his day prematurely.

At the back of the field, the Virgin cars spent most of the session at the very back, before quicker laps near the end put Glock and D’Ambrosio ahead of HRT.

Times from Turkey FP1:


 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1.26.456             26
 2.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1.26.521  	0.065	29
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1.27.033  	0.577	31
 4.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1.27.063  	0.607	21
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1.27.149  	0.693	31
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1.27.340  	0.884	37
 7.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                 1.27.517  	1.061	37
 8.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1.27.725  	1.269	37
 9.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1.27.844  	1.388	32
10.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    1.28.052  	1.596	37
11.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1.28.069  	1.613	27
12.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1.28.153  	1.697	36
13.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                 1.28.475  	2.019	35
14.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1.28.765  	2.309	32
15.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       1.28.828  	2.372	19
16.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       1.28.946  	2.490	20
17.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault           1.29.409  	2.953	39
18.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1.29.637  	3.181	27
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault           1.30.281  	3.825	37
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth         1.31.035  	4.579	28
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         1.31.221  	4.765	22
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth            1.31.320  	4.864	29
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth            1.31.989  	5.533	30

Stewart: 2010 drivers are the best ever

Stewart highly rates the 2010 F1 grid

Stewart highly rates the 2010 F1 grid

Jackie Stewart, three-times world champion in the 1960′s and 1970′s, has claimed that the current batch of F1 drivers are “the best ever”. He even went as far as saying that current title holder Sebastian Vettel could be compared to former legends such as Jim Clark, Jack Brabham and Graham Hill.

The 2010 title battle included 5 drivers and 3 teams, and went all the way to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Stewart was very impressed with the racing he saw across the year:

 "I think it's the best field ever. Red Bull had a good car this year 
but right down to the last race there were four drivers battling for 
the championship, and there were five for most of the season really 
in contention."

"Up there was a Red Bull, a Ferrari and a McLaren, and a Renault 
pushing and shoving, so you cannot ask for much better than that. 
It was a long season and it came down to the very last race. It was 
close racing too."

Despite enormous changes in Formula 1 over the years, to both the cars and the drivers, Jackie claims that the raw driver instinct remains the same:

"I think the animal is exactly the same. I don't think Sebastian Vettel is 
any different from what Jim Clark was, or Graham Hill was, or Jack Brabham 
was, or people who have won the world championship more than once."

"These drivers are the same - all the same desire, want, focus, commitment 
and God-given talent that has been developed to the highest level."

"So they are not different as individuals, but we have a crop of them just 
now and we have got a little closer unification of the quality of the 
performance of the cars, so it is going to give us better racing - and I 
see 2010 was as good as the late 1960s/early 1970s."

Despite giving particular praise to Vettel, saying that there is “a lot more to come”, he still says that all of this year’s title contenders are hugely talented. He also touted Robert Kubica as a future champion, and noted each driver’s different driving talent:

"Webber is still in there, and Kubica could one day be world champion. You 
also have Jenson driving in the smoothest and cleanest way of any driver, 
and Lewis is probably the best racer of the whole lot - and the best 
equipped is still Alonso. You have such a group of extraordinarily 
skilled people."

 

Button escapes armed attack in Sao Paulo, following other incidents this week

After a spate of attacks on F1 personnel in Sao Paulo this weekend, it has been revealed this morning that Jenson Button was the victim of an attempted armed robbery last night.

Jenson was heading to his car with several members of the team, including John Button (father), Mike Colier (Jenson’s physio), and Richard Goddard (Jenson’s manager). However, they encountered a group of 6 men with machine guns, who attempted to attack the car. Luckily, their police driver Daniel Toni escaped, by bouncing off several other cars to get out of the area.

Jenson described the attack today:

We rocked up at the traffic lights, about three rows back. Our 

driver, as always, stops early and doesn't pull up right 

behind the car in front. We looked to the right and saw a few 

guys gathering at the side of the road just to the entrance to 

a building. They were just stood there.

It looked a bit suspect but we didn't think anything of it and 

then Richard [Goddard, manager] noticed that one of them had a 

baton hanging down from his arm. Then I noticed that one guy was 

playing around with something in his trousers and it was a gun. 

As soon as I said that the driver looked across, and when they 

saw him look they started running towards the car.

We angled the car and floored it. It didn't look like there was 

a big enough space there, but we got between six cars - and 

rammed every single one to get past. We got through in the end 

and got away, but looking behind there were two guys with hand 

guns. One was quite a simple looking hand gun and one guy with 

something that looked like a machine gun.

The worst part of this story is that this is not uncommon at all in Sao Paulo, though it seems to be the first incident regarding a driver. This follows several other attacks on the F1 paddock this weekend. A group of 7 Sauber mechanics were mugged last night, losing several briefcases. Formula One Management workers were attacked last week, and last year Fuji TV workers were caught between crossfire.

To make matters worse, the car Jenson and his team were in was inconspicuous (B-Class Mercedes), and had blacked-out windows, suggesting the attackers were waiting for the team.

For years, there have always been whispers that these types of attacks are putting the Brazilian GP in jeopardy, and with an attack on a driver, these rumours are only going to intensify. I love the Intelagos track, but if this situation gets any worse, then the F1 paddock may well have to set sail from Sao Paulo for good.

Button leads Canadian Friday Practice 1

Jenson Button led the way as Formula 1 returned to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time in 2 years.  Michael Schumacher was an impressive 2nd, ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the other McLaren. However, the track was reported to be incredibly greasy, as the track hasn’t been raced on in years.

Because of this, the times were much slower than anticipated, as Button’s fastest lap was a 1.18.127. Lewis Hamilton was with Button for most of the session, before Schumacher displaced him near the end of the session, by 0.067 seconds. Nico Rosberg was 4th, while Sebastian Vettel was a further 2 tenths behind in 5th place.

Robert Kubica beat Fernando Alonso for 6th and 7th, and Vitantonio Liuzzi helped himself by beating his team-mate Adrian Sutil by getting 8th. Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello were impressive with 9th and 10th respectively. Adrian Sutil was 11th.

Felipe Massa was dissapointingly slow, as he tends to be in Friday Practice sessions, in 12th, and was 1.3 seconds slower than Button. Vitaly Petrov was 13th, and Mark Webber was 14th, nearly 1.5 seconds off the pace. However, it has been reported that he was on a different setup compared to Sebastian Vettel.

Kamui Kobayashi was 2 seconds back with 15th, ahead of Sebastien Buemi and Pedro de la Rosa. Jaime Alguersuari was 18th, and Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest of the new teams with 19th. Karun Chandhok was very impressive, as he was only 3.8 seconds off the pace, and was 20th, 6 tenths ahead of the Lotus of Jarno Trulli.

Bruno Senna was 22nd, ahead of Timo Glock’s Virgin. Lucas di Grassi was unable to set a time, as he pulled over after only 4 laps out. With Timo Glock 4.5 seconds off the pace it was a very poor session for Virgin.

The slippery track made is very difficult for the drivers, with many going off track. Karun Chandhok claimed it was “the greasiest track I’ve ever raced on”. Also, Rubens Barrichello had a technical problem during this session, and had to be pushed back to the garage.

Unfortunately, WordPress isn’t working properly tonight, as my usual chart for driver times isn’t going on the page properly. It will be up as soon as possible.

McLaren told Hamilton that Button would not overtake in Turkey

Lewis Hamilton's lead may have been protected because of team orders

Lewis Hamilton's lead may have been protected because of team orders

The debate about last week’s Turkish Grand Prix has taken an interesting twist, with the news that Lewis Hamilton was told by his team that Jenson Button would not be attempting an overtake. While Button did soon get past, Hamilton quickly retook the position, and Jenson slowed down after that.

After the Red Bulls took each other out of contention, Lewis Hamilton was leading the race ahead of team-mate Jenson Button. Jenson was catching him from behind, as it is believed that Hamilton was instructed to start saving fuel. Before he did, Lewis asked on the radio: “If I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?”. The team responded: “No, Lewis, no.”

This radio conversation happened before Jenson tried to get past Lewis, and the full conversation is as follows:

Lewis: Jenson’s closing in me you guys.
McLaren: Understood, Lewis.
Lewis: If I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?
McLaren: No Lewis, no.

Soon after this, Jenson passed Lewis at Turn 12 on Lap 48. However, Lewis swiftly got back his position on Lap 49. On Lap 50, Phil Prew went on to the radio to both drivers, but it is unclear what he said. However, it is my guess that he instructed Button to back off. This is because Jenson never mounted a challenge to Hamilton after Lap 50.

Also, the team spoke to Button two laps later, saying: “We need more fuel saving. Fuel is critical. Save tyres in turn eight.” Many people speculate that this was in fact a coded message (since team orders are banned) for Jenson to not overtake Lewis.

All of this will do no help to alleviate people fears of team orders being used in modern F1. The radio conversation can be listened to on F1.com’s highlights of the race, which is available here.

Button leads Turkish Friday Practice 2

Jenson Button in Turkish Friday Practice 2

Jenson Button in Turkish Friday Practice 2

Jenson Button led the way in the second Friday practice session of the Turkish Grand Prix weekend. Behind him were the two Red Bulls of Webber and Vettel, before reliability got in the way of both cars again.

Before the session began, Sebastian Vettel had a water pipe change, although he suffered a loss of water pressure near the end of FP2, and drove slowly back to the pits. Meanwhile, Mark Webber slowed as he accelerated away from Turn 2, and smoke appeared from his engine. He rolled to a halt soon after. Despite this, Webber and Vettel were 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Lewis Hamilton was 4th, and almost 4 tenths slower than Button. Fernando Alonso was behind Hamilton, followed by the two Mercedes drivers of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. Again, the two Renault drivers of Kubica and Petrov were close, getting 8th and 9th. Felipe Massa rounded off the top 10.

Adrian Sutil once again trounced his team-mate by an entire second to take 11th place. Nico Hulkenberg put in a good performance to get 12th, and the same goes for Kamui Kobayashi who was 13th. Behind them were Pedro de la Rosa, Sebastien Buemi, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Rubens Barrichello, with Jaime Alguersuari again the slowest of the midfield.

While Heikki Kovalainen was again considerably the fastest of the new teams, in 19th, his team-mate Trulli was not beside him. Instead, Lucas di Grassi split the two Lotus cars t0 finish 20th, with Jarno 21st. Timo Glock was 22nd, followed by the HRTs of Senna and Chandhok.

Track temperatures reached up to 50 degrees during this session. Many drivers were caught out by Turn 8, such as Felipe Massa, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Kamui Kobayashi, Vitaly Petrov and Karun Chandhok. Massa’s spin ruined one of his sets of tyres, which affected his pace in this session.

Times from Friday Practice 2:

Driver Team Best Lap Gap # of laps
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.28.280 30
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.28.378 0.098 24
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.28.590 0.31 27
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.28.672 0.392 32
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.28.725 0.445 30
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.28.914 0.634 22
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.28.974 0.694 22
8 Robert Kubica Renault 1.29.225 0.945 34
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.29.501 1.221 36
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.29.620 1.34 26
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.29.629 1.349 16
12 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.29.987 1.707 17
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.30.053 1.773 34
14 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.30.176 1.896 34
15 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.30.386 2.106 32
16 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.30.627 2.347 28
17 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.30.766 2.486 32
18 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.30.933 2.653 37
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.31.610 3.33 37
20 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.33.013 4.733 28
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.33.081 4.801 11
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.33.312 5.032 29
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.33.420 5.14 35
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.33.740 5.46 25

2009 flashback: Button’s strategy angers Barrichello

By this time last year, the entire paddock was well aware that the Brawn car was miles ahead of anyone else in every possible area. Jenson Button had won all of the dry races so far (3 out of 4 total), and was aiming for his fourth in Barcelona, Spain. However, he surprised many by saying after Bahrain that the car hadn’t the same pace, and that the others may have caught up to them. Rubens Barrichello had already falled 12 points behind his team-mate, so he was out on a mission to beat him this weekend.

There were plenty of technical changes before the weekend as well. Ferrari had designed a new double-decker diffuser, and reduced the weight of their cars, and decided to use KERS again, despite known reliabiliy issues with overheating of the unit. BMW Sauber had completely redone their car in an attempt to kick-start their season, with new nose, front wing, sidepods, rear wing, and lightened chassis.  They also ditched KERS, and did not implement their new double-decker diffuser just yet. Force India did not use KERS, but indicated that they may use it later in the season.

Rubens Barrichello takes the lead into the first corner

Rubens Barrichello takes the lead into the first corner

Jenson Button claimed another pole position, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Barrichello. But, by the first corner, Rubens had made a great start and took the lead from Button. However, there was carnage behing. Nico Rosberg forced Jarno Trulli wide, who spun, and Adrian Sutil slammed into the Toyota, which quickly took out both Toro Rosso cars as well. Lewis Hamilton avoided the incident, but had to slow, and fell to the back of the grid.

Buemi and Sutil are some of the casualties from the first lap pile-up

Buemi and Sutil are some of the casualties from the first lap pile-up

After 4 laps under the safety car, the racing got underway. Soon enough though, Heikki Kovalainen was forced to retire due to a gearbox failure. Fernando Alonso attempted an overtake on Mark Webber on the main straight, giving the spectators a close-up thrill while he was at it, but Webber made a fantastic switchback move to rip the position out of the Spaniard’s hands. Kimi Raikkonen joined fellow Finn Kovalainen on the sidelines, as he retired with a hydraulic problem on Lap 17.

Very soon, it became apparent that Barrichello and Button were running 3-stop strategies, as they were running away with their 1-2 lead. Button, who was behind Barrichello, was following the Brazilian for the first stint, but felt he could go faster, saying: “Come on Rubens, you can go quicker than this.” The Brawn team decided to switch Jenson to a 2-stop strategy, to make sure he avoided traffic. They did not, however, apply the same tactic to Rubens, and after his first stop, became slightly held up, while Jenson was able to put his foot down. Since Barrichello was unable to put his strategy to the max, he lost the lead to Button at his second of 3 stops.

A change in strategy left Button free while Barrichello fell behind

A change in strategy left Button free while Barrichello fell behind

Further back, Sebastian Vettel was following Felipe Massa for the entire race, and was unable to pass thanks to the Ferrari’s KERS system. But, near the end of the race, he got a surprise gift. There had been a problem at Massa’s final pit stop, and he was one lap short of fuel. He was instructed to back off to save fuel instead of pitting again, and Vettel finally took the opportunity to move into 4th. However, even though Fernando Alonso was 16 seconds behind Massa with 4 laps to go, he was told to push. He gradually burnt out Felipe’s lead over him, and took fifth place on the final lap, to the delight of the crowd.

Button takes his fourth victory of the year

Button takes his fourth victory of the year

At the front of the pack, Button took his fourth victory of the year, with an incenced Barrichello 13 seconds behind in 2nd. Mark Webber took the final podium spot, with Vettel, Alonso, Massa, Heidfeld and Rosberg filling out the top 8. Heidfeld had now finished 25 races in a row, breaking Michael Schumacher’s previous record of 24. After this result, Button extended his lead at the top, while Red Bull overtook Toyota for 2nd place in the constructors championship. But, it wasn’t over yet.

Rubens Barrichello was annoyed that Jenson and he were given different strategies, and felt that Button was given the advantage because of it. While he was happy enough after being given an explanation from Ross Brawn, this argument would heat up later in the season.

Button leads McLaren 1-2 in rainy China

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg on the Chinese GP podium

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg on the Chinese GP podium

Jenson Button led a McLaren 1-2 finish in Shanghai today, his second win of the season so far. Lewis Hamilton was second, followed by Nico Rosberg.

Even before the start, there were surprises. Before the formation lap, the Virgin crew didn’t decide in time whether to put dry or intermidiate tyres on, and he was pushed to the pit lane, but he didn’t start the race. His team-mate, Lucas di Grassi, started from the pit lane, but only lasted one lap. So, it was a completely disastrous race for the Virgin team.

Fernando Alonso jumps the start at the first corner

Fernando Alonso jumps the start at the first corner

The start was chaotic, as rain began to fall on the first lap. Fernando Alonso jumped into first place by the first corner, but replays showed that he jump-started, and he was given a drive-through penalty later on. At Turn 3, Adrian Sutil lost control, and slammed into Sebastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi. Rubens Barrichello nearly lost control as he tried to avoid the incident, ran wide, and lost many positions. This brought out the safety car, but the action wasn’t over yet.

Vitantonio Liuzzi crashes into Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi at the start

Vitantonio Liuzzi crashes into Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi at the start

By the end of the first lap, the decicion had been made by the Red Bulls, Ferraris, Hanilton and Schumacher to switch to intermidiate tyres. At the Red Bull pit stops, faulty air guns ruined both Vettel’s and Webber’s stops, and left them with lots of work to do. This left Nico Rosberg leading the race, ahead of Jenson Button, Robert Kubica and Pedro de la Rosa, until his Ferrari broke yet again. All of these drivers had made the choice to stay on slick tyres in the difficult conditions, a move which paid off quickly.

Lewis Hamilton waited until Lap 3 to change to wets, which put him at a disadvantage. But, by Lap 6, the track was drring out, and the intermidiates were ripping themselves apart. On Lap 5, still under the safety car, Michael Schumacher made the call to switch back to dry tyres. This move was copied by Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton the lap after. However, an incident in the pit lane raised many eyebrows. Hamilton appeared to be released into the path of Vettel, which resulted in both of them travelling side by side down the pit lane. Vettel then appeared to push Lewis to the side, an extremely dangerous move. After the race, the stewards gave both drivers a reprimand and a warning.

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel battle in the pit lane

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel battle in the pit lane

The safety car peeled away on Lap 6, and the racing commenced. It became quickly obvious that dry tyres were the way to go, so the final drivers on intermidiates had to change. On Lap 12, Hamilton got his revenge on Vettel by passing both Red Bulls in on move. The two of them began to fight their way back up the order, but the weather soon stopped them. The rain began to pour down again on Lap 19, triggering  a mad dash for intermidiate tyres again. This prompted a spin by Nico Rosberg, which handed the lead to Jenson Button, just before the duo pitted.

By Lap 21, everyone had switched to intermidiate tyres, and it seemed as if the race might calm down a bit. It didn’t. Jaime Alguersuari had gone off, damaged his front wing, swhich threw debris all over the track and the pit lane. The safety car was called out for the second time. This was a huge worry for Jenson Button and the frontrunners who hadn’t pitted at the start, who saw their massive advantage reduced to nothing, while Hamilton’s 40 second deficit was cut to nothing.

By Lap 25, the safety car was on it’s final lap before pitting, and more drama ensued. Jenson Button bunched up the pack far too much at the final two corners, meaning drivers had to swerve off the track (not at high speeds, mind you) to avoid other drivers. Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel all came very close at the final corner, and Webber came out unluckiest, being forced to run wide, and lose several positions in the process.

Within a few laps, the order was as follows: Button was leading, followed by Rosberg a second behind, while Kubica was being chased by Hamilton for third. The Renault drivers were both doing very well, with Kubica in third and Petrov getting as high as 7th in the race. Hamilton got past Kubica on Lap 29, and was soon pressurising Rosberg for second.

On Lap 34, he attempted a move on Rosberg that he had done on Schumacher earlier. But, the German fought back well, and kept his position. This meant that Button was able to extend his lead from these two to about 6 seconds. Hamilton pitted for a fresh set of intermidiates on Lap 37, which was also done by Button, Rosberg and Alonso a lap later. Nico’s one lap later stop meant Lewis was able to pass him, and set his sights on Jenson. To begin with, Button extended his lead to 9.9 seconds, but a major mistake at the hairpin on Lap 51 reduced this lead to 1.5 seconds with 5 laps to go.

Despite this, he hung on until the end to take his second victory of the season in only 4 races. Hamilton stuck to the back of his gearbox until the end, but was unable to make a move. Nico Rosberg had another very good race to get a second third place finish this year. Behind the top three, Fernando Alonso recovered very well to take fourth place, ahead of Kubica and Vettel. In seventh, Vitaly Petrov drove a great race to take his (and Russia’s) first ever points in Formula 1. While Michael Schumacher’s good tyre choice had got him ahead of Petrov, Vitaly soon reeled him in at the end to take seventh back off him. Mark Webber never really recovered from his disastrous pit stop, and finished 8th. Felipe Massa passed Schumacher as well near the end, so the two of them finished 9th and 10th respectively.

Button celebrates his second win of 2010 in China

Button celebrates his second win of 2010 in China

From 11th to 17th positions, it was: Adrian Sutil, Rubens Barrichello, Jaime Alguersuari, Heikki Kovalainen, Nico Hulkenberg, Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok. Kovalainen’s finish was interesting, as he was the first ever of the new teams to finish ahead of an established team, in this case Nico Hulkenberg of Williams. However, it may have helped that Nico had 6 stops and Heikki had 2!

Overall, it was a fantastic race, with the weather again shaking things up. However, I had my own troubles watching the race, as I slept too late to watch the live race, and then was forced to wait for hours for a replay! But it was well worth it, with all the action, as shown by the size of this blog post.

In the driver standings, Button now leads the championhip with 60 points, 10 ahead of Nico Rosberg, who is 1 ahead of Alonso and Hamilton. You can view the updated standings here.

Hers is the full result:

Driver Team Gap # of laps
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 56
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.53 56
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 9.484 56
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 11.869 56
5 Robert Kubica Renault 22.213 56
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 33.31 56
7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 47.6 56
8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 52.172 56
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 57.796 56
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 61.749 56
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 62.874 56
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 63.665 56
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 71.416 56
14 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1 Lap 55
15 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1 Lap 55
16 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 2 Laps 54
17 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 4 Laps 52
Not Classified
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 30 Laps 26
19 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 48 Laps 8
20 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 49 Laps 7
21 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 56 Laps 0
22 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 56 Laps 0
23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 56 Laps 0
24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 56 Laps 0

Button tops Chinese FP1 while Buemi suffers heavy crash

Jenson Button in Friday Practice 1 in China today

Jenson Button in Friday Practice 1 in China today

Jenson Button topped the first practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix. However, the event was overshadowed by a huge crash for Sebastien Buemi.

Fernando Alonso failed to set a time, as an engine failure 6 laps into his run (these were installation laps, so no time was set). Despite this, the Spaniard claims that he is not worried about the failure, despite the fact that his last engine blow was effectively 7 laps ago. He therefore ended up back of the timesheets this session.

Button’s fastest lap was a 1.36.677, which was 0.071 seconds ahead of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes, while Lewis Hamilton was only another 0.02 seconds back. Behind them, the top ten was as follows: Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica, Vitaly Petrov, Mark Webber, Adrian Sutil, and Felipe Massa.

It was a very good session for Renault, with Kubica and rookie Petrov getting 6th and 7th respectively. They were one second off Button’s pace, so it looks like both drivers may end up in the points this weekend.

Jaime Alguersuari continued his good form with 11th place, with the Saubers of Kobayashi and De la Rosa behind. Paul di Resta ran the Force India car again in FP1, getting 15th place, and 1.9 seonds behind Button. The Lotus, Virgin and HRT cars filled the back rows (in that order), with only Alonso behind.

The biggest moment of the sessions was Buemi’s crash. At Turn 14, which is the heavy-braking area at the end of the 1km back straight, the suspension appeared to completely fail, blowing off the front tyres, and sending the car spinning into the gravel. The red flag went out for 10 minutes while the car and debris were removed. The session did restart, but only for another 6 minutes, before the chequered flag came out. Here is a video of what happened:

Other drivers had problems apart from Buemi. Jarno Trulli damaged his diffuser at Turn 1, while Timo Glock broke his front wing in the same place.

Full times from Friday Practice 1:

Driver Team Fastest lap Diff. # of laps
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.36.677 15
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.36.748 0.071 17
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.36.775 0.098 19
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.37.509 0.832 14
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.37.601 0.924 20
6 Robert Kubica Renault 1.37.716 1.039 17
7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.37.745 1.068 25
8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.37.980 1.303 17
9 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.38.008 1.331 13
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.38.098 1.421 19
11 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.38.161 1.484 19
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.38.375 1.698 21
13 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.38.421 1.744 19
14 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.38.569 1.892 20
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1.38.618 1.941 26
16 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.38.678 2.001 17
17 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.39.939 3.262 5
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.41.531 4.854 22
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.41.779 5.102 23
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.41.830 5.153 20
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.42.181 5.504 27
22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.43.875 7.198 23
23 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.43.949 7.272 20
24 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 6
Driver Team Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.36.677 15
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.36.748 0.071 17
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.36.775 0.098 19
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.37.509 0.832 14
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.37.601 0.924 20
6 Robert Kubica Renault 1.37.716 1.039 17
7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.37.745 1.068 25
8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.37.980 1.303 17
9 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.38.008 1.331 13
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.38.098 1.421 19
11 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.38.161 1.484 19
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.38.375 1.698 21
13 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.38.421 1.744 19
14 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.38.569 1.892 20
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1.38.618 1.941 26
16 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.38.678 2.001 17
17 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.39.939 3.262 5
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.41.531 4.854 22
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.41.779 5.102 23
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.41.830 5.153 20
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.42.181 5.504 27
22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.43.875 7.198 23
23 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.43.949 7.272 20
24 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 6
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