Button bounces back to snatch last-lap win in Canada

2011 Canadian Grand Prix report

Jenson Button, McLaren, Montreal, 2011

Jenson Button, McLaren, Montreal, 2011

Jenson Button scored an sensational victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, passing Sebastian Vettel on the last lap.

He bounced back after two collisions, with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, and a drive-through penalty.

A last-lap mistake by Vettel allowed Button to win having run 22nd at one point.

The rain had stopped before the race got underway but Charlie Whiting decided to start the race behind the safety car on the wet track. The cars circulated for four laps before the pack was released.

Sebastian Vettel came under attack from Fernando Alonso immediately but he repelled the attack.

Further back Mark Webber was attacked more aggressively by Lewis Hamilton, who tipped the Red Bull into a spin at the first corner.

Hamilton fell behind Michael Schumacher while avoiding Webber’s spinning car but was soon on his tail, trying to pass the Mercedes around the outside of the Casino hairpin.

Schumacher edged him wide and Button seized the opportunity to move ahead of his team mate.

Hamilton’s eventful race came to a sudden end on lap seven. He tried to capitalise on a mistake by Button at the chicane, but drew alongside his team mate into a narrowing gap between Button and the pit wall. Hamilton dealt the wall a solid whack, damaging his left-rear wheel.

McLaren told Hamilton to park his damaged car, and while Button headed for the pits the safety car returned to the track.

That promoted Kamui Kobayashi to sixth place, having made rapid progress from 13th on the grid.

At the restart Alonso began to slip back from Vettel, as he had during the first three laps of green flag running, with Felipe Massa lapping close behind his team mate.

Having switched to intermediate tyres, Button quickly picked off Pastor Maldonado and Paul di Resta. But he was summoned to the pits for a drive-through penalty for going too quickly behind the safety car.

He served the penalty immediately, losing just five places, which he quickly began to take back. Noting his progress on the intermediate tyres, several other drivers reacted.

Among them was Alonso, who emerged from the pits with just one car between him and Button. The two Mercedes also made the switch.

Race suspended

But they were caught out when the rain returned with a vengeance on lap 19. The safety car came out immediately and all the drivers who had switched to intermediates pitted for wets with one exception – Adrian Sutil.

After just two laps behind the safety car, with the weather radars showing much more rain to come, the race was red-flagged.

The race remained under suspension for over two hours as rain lashed the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Finally the clouds lifted and the race resumed behind the safety car.

Another eight laps behind the safety car passed as the track conditions improved. So much so that when the start was finally given some drivers immediately switched to intermediate tyres.

Vettel held his lead from Kobayashi, who had risen to second ahead of drivers who had pitted for intermediate tyres, plus Massa who had stopped for more wets behind the second safety car. Kobayashi fended off an attack from the Ferrari as the race resumed.

Jenson Button was one of the first drivers to switch to intermediate tyres. The Ferrari drivers pitted at the same time and Alonso had to queue behind his team mate.

Button made to pass Alonso at turn three but the pair banged wheels, sending Alonso spinning onto a kerb where his car became stuck. Button limped into the pits with a front-left puncture as Bernd Maylander took the safety car out for the fourth time.

The remaining drivers completed their switch to intermediate tyres and Vettel led once more as the race restarted.

Schumacher climbs to second

Michael Schumacher was the man on the move at the restart, taking Webber for sixth.

That became fifth when Paul di Resta hit Nick Heidfeld, damaging his wing and stopping for repairs. He was later given a drive-through penalty.

Schumacher made a much more successful pass on Heidfeld and set off in pursuit of Kobayashi and Massa. He took both in a brilliant, opportunistic move on lap 50 when Kobayashi ran wide. Massa also moved ahead of Kobayashi.

By now drivers were pitting for slick tyres including Button, who had only just caught the pack in time for the restart. His pace on the super-soft tyres was whole seconds faster than Vettel’s, never mind the other cars, and he sliced past Heidfeld and Kobayashi for fourth, having been as low as 22nd.

Heidfeld mounted an attack on Kobayashi, but lost his front wing running into the Sauber at the Senna hairpin. The wing collapsed under the Renault and Heidfeld hurtled down the escape road at turn three.

He was unharmed, but with debris all over the track the safety car had to be summoned for a fifth time. During the interruption there was a frightening moment as a marshal fell over in front of de la Rosa and Petrov, who had to take avoiding action.

As the safety car came in for the final time the race clock threatened to bring the race to an end before the 70 laps were completed. The full distance was completed, but only just.

Button snatches victory

Vettel pulled away from Schumacher, Webber and Button at the restart, the latter briefly delayed by Timo Glock’s Virgin.

Webber made a few fruitless efforts to pass Schumacher, having to yield his position back at one point. On lap 63 he skidded at the exit of the final chicane and Button pounced for third place.

Buton set off after Schumacher and took him on the very next lap. Webber would also demote Schumacher from the final podium position with three laps to go.

But all eyes were on the battle at the front. Vettel picked up the pace but Button continued to take several tenths of a second out of his lead per lap. On the penultimate lap he was able to use his DRS and take more time out of Vettel’s lead.

The pair began the final lap with Button within a second and poised to pounce in the DRS zone. But it was decided before then: Vettel put two wheels on the still-damp surface at turn six and slewed sideways, allowing Button through to claim an improbable win.

Webber took third ahead of Schumacher while Vitaly Petrov claimed fifth.

Massa, who had been delayed after spinning and breaking his front wing, passed Kobayashi at the line for sixth place.

Both Toro Rosso scored points: Jaime Alguersuari in eighth, Sebastien Buemi in tenth, with Rubens Barrichello in between.

Vettel looked despondent after losing the lead he had held for almost the whole race. But he retains a healthy 60-point margin over Button, who is now second in the title race.

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

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181 comments on Button bounces back to snatch last-lap win in Canada

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  1. Solo (@solo) said on 12th June 2011, 23:10

    This comments is inspired by Rocky IV but it fits so well in this situation after seeing Vettel getting all this wins and everything going his way until that last lap.

    “You see? You see? He’s not a machine, he’s a man, he’s a man.”

  2. Mach1 said on 12th June 2011, 23:11

    It felt sooo good when Vettel went wide…..

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 12th June 2011, 23:20

      I expected DRS overtaking but Vettel’s spin is still exciting.

    • Nikos said on 12th June 2011, 23:21

      I totally agree. Jenson was flying on the last two laps. Unbelievable!!

      • Scribe (@scribe) said on 13th June 2011, 1:00

        5 pit stops, one drive through, 2 crashes last lap victory. Definatley his greatest ever.

        Considering that, what an idiot Hamilton is eh? Definatley had the car for the conditions, really should have been more calm. If Jenson could win despite what happened to him, you’d have to say Hamilton could have done.

    • zappy j said on 13th June 2011, 2:24

      Even better when Ramilton hit Button!

      • Torg said on 13th June 2011, 12:33

        Other way round mate, check the replays.

        • Dave Bloomfield said on 17th June 2011, 17:01

          Nah. The connotation is all wrong. LH was trying to be somewhere he had no sensible right to be – hence accident. JB was doing what he had every right to do. Thus the transgressor was LH. Thus he hit JB. You can’t blame someone for ‘hitting someone’ who runs into them…

  3. F1andy83 said on 12th June 2011, 23:12

    First? And is there ant word on the 10sec penalty for his Alonso collision ?

    • Mach1 said on 12th June 2011, 23:16

      No but you better watch out…saying “first” usually gets you a penalty by the stewards (aka Keith)but as you’re not first and you actually made a comment…you may just get a reprimand!!!

      • laird18 said on 13th June 2011, 0:01

        Hmm, let’s see…

        Di Resta makes a move at the final chicane (“standard” overtaking position). His competitor moves over and there is contact. Di Resta causes no damage to his competitor’s car and gains no advantage (in fact he is greatly disadvantaged by a damaged wing), but is given a drive through penalty.

        Button makes a move at turn 3 (an almost impossible overtaking place). His competitor gives him space but Button can’t make the apex and there is contact. Button causes his competitor to spin out of the race, but escapes damage himself, in the process unfairly gaining a position, yet is not punished at all.

        What the hell is going on with the stewards!!?

        • panache said on 13th June 2011, 0:14

          Surely you can’t be serious?

          The outcome of that contact resulted in Button being in last place following his pitstop.

          Impossible to consider that “unfairly gaining a position”

          The stewards decision for the Di Resta incident was incredibly harsh though.

          • Javaguy (@javaguy) said on 13th June 2011, 0:19

            He was serious. And don’t call him Shirley.
            Personally I really hope Button doesn’t get a penalty but, unfortunately, it seems likely, given how fashionable avoidable collision penalties are these days.

          • Javaguy (@javaguy) said on 13th June 2011, 0:23

            Oops. Missed the BBC Tweet saying the result stands.

            Interesting. I could imagine Di Resta being a little bit annoyed about that.

          • laird18 said on 13th June 2011, 1:15

            Haha… okay I actually forgot that Button picked up a puncture in that incident. But I believe the point still stands: Di Resta’s drive-through was stupid (especially given the circumstances of the race).

            And for the record I don’t believe that Button deserves any penalty either.

        • hohum said on 13th June 2011, 1:23

          You must be wearing rose ( or rosso ) tinted glasses.

        • Nick said on 13th June 2011, 9:05

          Brilliant by Button, when will he get the credit he deserves!! As for hamilton he needs to learn to be patient, these top guys just dont move over because hamilton wants them to, his arrogance is breathtaking on times,his attempt to overtake Webber was a clumsy, wildly over-optimistic lunge that a 19 year-old rookie would be castigated for. He was in prime position to overtake Button, yet chose the wrong side & didn’t back down even when it was obvious that Button was closing the door – how dumb (& arrogant) was that? It wasn’t just Button’s responsibility – it was more Hamilton’s to drive around the car in front rather than (as usual) through it.
          No doubt hamilton is fast and aggressive but if it doesnt get you to the chequered flag then whats the point, Webber & Button are classic examples of getting your head down and just driving with a cool head.

    • Good question I am waiting on verdict on this otherwise it’s favouritism

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th June 2011, 23:22

      No penalties were handed out at this time (yet?) so how do you come up with a 10 second penalty?

      If given penalty (penalties) they would probably be 20 seconds or grid penalty for the next race.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 12th June 2011, 23:26

      Yeah I want to know how that plays out. Whether the stewards will just write it down as a racing incident, or give him some sort of penalty for the next race. Jenson really enjoys wrecking Alonso’s race… 1st in Australia 2010 and today. Argh!

    • Ady said on 13th June 2011, 0:09

      BBC Reporting no further actions by stewards. Result stands.

    • panache said on 13th June 2011, 0:12

      I would consider it extremely unlikely that Button will receive a penalty from the stewards for his incident with Alonso for several reasons:

      1. Racing incident. Button had the inside line going in to the corner and even had his front wing in front of Alonso’s before braking in to the corner where both drivers were already fully committed.

      As DC/Brundle said on BBC coverage, Alonso was relying heavily on Button to slow the car down trying to maintain his position around the outside of the corner, driving into an ever closing gap.

      2. Even if interpreted slightly less favourably towards Jenson, he suffered a puncture during the incident which led to him being in last place after pitting. The Stewards will undoubtedly take this in to account.

      3. Jenson went on to win the race. How often have we seen the race winner penalised and rescinded of his win following a post-race investigation?

      A penalty at this stage would reflect incredibly badly on the stewards undoubtedly causing an outlash that would not be forgotten for a long time.

  4. John H said on 12th June 2011, 23:13

    Fantastic race. Shame about drs at the end, I actually felt sorry for schumi for pretty much the first time ever!

    • George (@george) said on 12th June 2011, 23:16

      Same here, I like Button, but I actually wanted to see Schumi on the podium more than I wanted to see Button pass Vettel

    • Mike-e said on 13th June 2011, 1:58

      Considering since about 1994 i have hugely disliked schumacher (almost unjustifiable hate, in the beginning for celebrating the Imola 1994 win like nothing had happened, then all the controversy at the season finale, and everything he then added to his reputation in the next decade or so), for the first time ever i was actually rooting for him to stay ahead of webber and take 3rd. After the last safety car i was actually rooting for him to win!

      • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 13th June 2011, 10:52

        Im pretty much the same as Mike-e (inc the near hatred of Schuey till yesterday), i wanted him on the podium. Infact, and its nothing personal to vettel, but a Button -Schumacher – Webber Podium would have been sweet. Shame Kobayashi couldnt sneak on there, but always next time.

  5. Mr JoeBlack said on 12th June 2011, 23:13

    this is shumy’s race, he deserve at least a podium!!!
    great work for Button, this is how we win races Lewis.
    Bad luck for Vettel, its time to see other winner!

    • I appreciate that Jenson is your favorate however, I hope that the stewards fine him for the car accidents. It should not be one rule for some and not all drivers. Otherwise I will conclude that there is more politics in F1 and most importantly McLaren camp.

      • He didn’t cause either incident.

        He followed the racing line and Lewis tried to overtake wasn’t even alongside him.

        Button was actually infront of Alonso going into the corner so it was his corner. Alonso outbraked and drove across Button.

      • Alex said on 12th June 2011, 23:36

        Okay, I get it you are a Hammy obsessed fan , but you do realize that IF Button is gonna get a pen. than its gonna be for the incident with Alonso and not Hamilton, or did you really thought that the ppl at Mclaren are so dumb to let it be anything more than a racing incident, + Even Ham was not 100% sure the accident was all But´s fault, and when Mr.I-am-always-faultless says this than it means something+ If he is gonna get a pen. for not letting enough space for Alonso than its gonna be a 20sec. pen- which would only put him 5th, which is considering he won this race unfair(he could have archieved a better result whith a drive-through)+He had not gained anything after each incident,´even worse he had to pit both times…So with 6 pit-stops and being on EVERY single position, from the VERY last to the VERY first, Jenson Button won this race…

  6. Novotny said on 12th June 2011, 23:14

    I am convinced that Ecclestone sits at a vast console for every race with a ‘spin’ and ‘engine failure’ button for each car :D

    Well done that Button boy though. Thoroughly deserved. And Massa! Get in there!

  7. Paulipedia said on 12th June 2011, 23:14

    Driver of the day will be easy to choose. Fantastic stuff

  8. David-A (@david-a) said on 12th June 2011, 23:16

    Shame for Vettel to lead almost the whole way then lose it on the final lap, but the margins between 1st and 2nd can really be that thin.

    Credit to Button for setting such a good pace after those incidents with Alonso and Hamilton. But I loved seeing Michael so near the front, shame he didn’t quite get a podium. Massa took too long getting past Kobayashi before his spin, though it was exciting seeing him get past at the finish line.

    • Novotny said on 12th June 2011, 23:18

      Very mixed feelings here between wanting Webber to start doing well, and wanting Schumi to get a podium again.

      All in all, I’d rather the third man had been the Baron.

  9. Ionut R said on 12th June 2011, 23:17

    Jenson all the way baby! Also, thanks for a great drive Michael, you will be back on the podium champ, don’t worry about that, Mercedes just need a bit more progress, and it will get there!

    Drive of the CENTURY for Button though, proved that he is one of the best drivers in F1 today, if anyone still had doubts, which they shouldn’t have!

  10. carlos said on 12th June 2011, 23:18

    Great win for Button. And why did Massa tried to pass on the wet side with slick tires. By the time he tried the track has a thin dry line and not the double lanes towards the end. I can never understand why he keeps on making so many mental mistakes.

    • Aldo said on 13th June 2011, 1:30

      He was overlapping KAR but the dude didn’t see the blue flags. Massa decided to move out of the dry line and lost control of the front of the car. He managed to avoid a serious crash.

    • hohum said on 13th June 2011, 1:31

      Both sides were the wet side, same trouble Webber had Schumi.

    • Face21 (@face21) said on 13th June 2011, 2:19

      The HRT had made a mistake out of the corner and was going way too slowly on the dry part of the track. Massa just tried to avoid it, with the consequences we saw. Can’t blame the HRT too much, it was clearly just a mistake coming out of the corner. Bad luck again for Massa, and I’m sorry for him. You can never tell, but I think this looked a clear podium finish for him and he deserved it.

  11. Faraz said on 12th June 2011, 23:19

    Took-out his team mate and Fernando. Felipe had to make an unscheduled pit stop. 3 or 4 cars retired, in front of him. Webber and Schumacher all on older tyres. Made mistakes due to lack of grip. Vettel made mistake. After all that did only Jenson win. Also don’t say Jenson this and Jenson that. His team made amazing strategic calls.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 12th June 2011, 23:21


    • I hope that the stewards fine him for the car accidents. It should not be one rule for some and not all drivers. Otherwise I will conclude that there is more politics in F1

      • hohum said on 13th June 2011, 1:36

        Yes Trey your favourite driver never does anything that could be considered unfair or worthy of a penalty, right?

    • Novotny said on 12th June 2011, 23:23

      Yes but Jenson this and Jenson that, actually

    • Dipak T said on 12th June 2011, 23:44

      The guy had an amazing drive. Last year at Monza he kept a snarling Alonso in a faster car behind for 40 laps, never at one point did he crack and make a mistake under that pressure. Vettel cracked under the pressure Button was piling upon him.

      Button is a deserving winner. End of Story.

      • Dipak T said on 12th June 2011, 23:46

        Thats not to say that Vettel cant handle the pressure, hes proved he definetly can, I just mean that this time Button pushed into the error.

        • Patrickl said on 13th June 2011, 11:39

          If anything, Vettel has proven that he can not deal with pressure (from behind). Australia 2009, Monaco 2009, Turkey 2010, Spa 2010, Silverstone 2010, China 2011 and now Canada 2011.

          Apart from China and Canada, Vettel just hasn’t had any pressure this season. He could have had some in Monaco, but the race was stopped just short of that.

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 13th June 2011, 11:58

            Maybe you should remove Silverstone 2010 and China 2011 if you really want to prove your point. At Silverstone, Hamilton slit his rear tyres at turn1, yet Vettel managed to battle from dead last to 7th. China 2011 he was just on the wrong tyres/strategy, and there was no possible way for him to hang on to that lead.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th June 2011, 15:54

            I agree with Todfod, plus he was under pressure in Monaco before the red flag, with Alonso already trying to line up moves and Button on fresher tyres behind both of them. In Spain he also was under pressure from Hamilton. Vettel has shown he can handle pressure, but can crack too.

    • James_mc (@james_mc) said on 12th June 2011, 23:55

      While I fully believe that Jenson deserved the win and was worked very hard for it; there is a certain amount of truth here – if it had been the other McLaren there would have been lots of fuss…

  12. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 12th June 2011, 23:20

    Best race I’ve ever seem

    Schumi was the man of the race, despite Button’s win. What he did today was amaizing!.

    • hohum said on 13th June 2011, 1:38

      For an old man you mean?

      • Face21 (@face21) said on 13th June 2011, 3:00

        I don’t think it has anything to do with age. I’m sure Rosberg would have been happy to perform like Schumacher today, regardless the age. Somebody must be blind to deny that what Schumacher did today (Going from 12th to 2nd under the drying track, with only one DRS pass) was special. He used to be the best with changing conditions, and I was glad to see today that he still keeps some of that magic!

        Also, in my opinion, DRS took the magic of Button’s win to the bin. He was so much faster than the guys in front that he might have been able to do it even without the DRS (Canada is a circuit where cars overtake, we’ve seen it in previous years), and I would have been truly impressed by that. DRS just ruined it: he just had to press a button, and he was in front of the guy even before they started breaking as if he was lapping them. Not to take anything away from him, you have to use the rules to your advantage and he did a pretty good job keeping it together after so many incidents, so hats off for him, but I was more impressed with Schumacher’s race.

        BTW, I think we were lucky to see a wet race. From what we saw in the dry it might have been shameful to only see dull DRS “overtaking” (if you can call that overtaking) throughout the whole race. At least we saw some action in the rain!

        • Damon (@damon) said on 13th June 2011, 10:39

          it might have been shameful to only see dull DRS “overtaking”

          Yes, that would be a disgrace for racing.
          The advantage DRS was giving was ridiculous.

    • MW (@) said on 13th June 2011, 12:58

      Schumi was the man of the race

      Agreed! Button’s misfortunes actually worked in his favour. The extra trips to the pits meant that he was always on the optimal rubber. Then he just needed to drive steadily around and benefit from others mistakes (eg. Webber after the final chicane). Infact the only time Button defended or attacked an equal car he crashed into them and was lucky to continue.

      Schumi was defending or attacking for the entire race in a far inferior car and didn’t put a foot wrong throughout. Infact if it wasn’t for the ridiculous DRS it’s hard to see how Webber or Button would have taken 2nd place from him.

      Definitely my driver of the race.

  13. f199player (@f199player) said on 12th June 2011, 23:21

    Whether you love or hate Jenson Button you got to respect him. How many drivers could get a penalty, crash into his team mate and a Ferrari, get a puncture and fight back from last place in one race and still win it. That has to be one of the greatest drives ever

    • nbouler said on 13th June 2011, 0:03

      You ain’t kidding!!! This long time Jenson fan screamed from Vettel’s off all the way to finish. An exciting GP, but doesn’t Canada always have an incredible result?! That’s why it’s always sold out!

  14. neracer (@neracer) said on 12th June 2011, 23:21

    button seems to get all the luck – no other way he could have won. safety car played a big factor. waiting to hear if he gets any kind of penalty….

    • Novotny said on 12th June 2011, 23:25

      Actually no, Vettel has had things fall his way for much of this season. I think most people would recognise that whilst Vettel has drove very well, luck has also gone with him too up until today.

    • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 12th June 2011, 23:39

      To be honest, the luck was all falling Vettel’s way that race. He had two free pitstops, it’s only the last safety car and Vettel not accounting for the threat of Button early enough which cost him the race.

    • Ady said on 13th June 2011, 10:26

      Hit from behind by your team mate, drive through for “speeding” behind the safety car (when following the other cars), cut up by Alonso and being put to the back of the field due to a puncture.

      Yes, seems to get all the luck.

      • Patrickl said on 13th June 2011, 11:54

        That wasn’t luck no, those were all errors that Button made himself.

        The luck part is obviously in the bit where the safety car makes up for all his errors.

  15. Gridlock said on 12th June 2011, 23:21

    Vettel drives a superb fast lap and in a car made for him by Adrian Newey will win from pole every time, UNLESS he come under pressure from a better driver.


    • David-A (@david-a) said on 12th June 2011, 23:32

      Button isn’t a “better” driver than Vettel. Only Hamilton and Alonso could be considered better.

      And Vettel can handle pressure. The last two races:

      Hamilton (probably better than Vettel) pressurises Vettel in Spain – no mistake.

      Button and Alonso pressurise Vettel with better tyres on the circuit where a mistake like today’s = barrier. No mistakes from Vettel.

      As Solo said earlier, he’s human and will make mistakes, but he can definitely handle pressure from the best drivers on the grid.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 12th June 2011, 23:35

      Like what happened in Spain, and in Monaco.. Oh wait, hold on…

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