Jenson Button, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

McLaren: Button hit by debris in first-lap scare

2011 Belgian GP team reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Button’s recovery drive from 13th to third was delayed by first-lap damage.

Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button
Qualifying position 2 13
Qualifying time comparison (Q2) 2’02.823 (-2.327) 2’05.150
Race position 3
Laps 12/44 44/44
Pit stops 1 3

McLaren drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44
Lewis Hamilton 122.141 117.795 116.905 116.073 116.637 116.644 117.146 115.647 116.161 119.35 129.216 115.778
Jenson Button 127.195 118.489 121.509 132.198 117.351 115.957 115.007 114.797 115.261 115.702 116.335 116.406 134.885 156.063 170.428 167.135 117.034 114.373 114.059 114.318 114.032 114.045 113.13 113.949 113.253 112.704 113.029 112.619 112.567 112.822 112.602 116.464 123.712 110.371 110.711 110.681 110.535 110.348 110.062 110.079 110.334 110.321 110.431 111.259

Lewis Hamilton

Despite an altercation with Pastor Maldonado in Q2, Hamilton lined up second on the grid as he did in 2010.

He lost three places in the first two laps but set about re-taking them. First he squeezed passed Felipe Massa on the run to Pouhon after the Ferrari driver had been slowed in battle with his team mate.

Next he took Nico Rosberg for second place, which became the lead following Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso’s pit stops.

After three laps in the lead Hamilton came into the pits, rejoining in eighth place. He quickly passed Adrian Sutil on the straight before Pouhon and moved ahead of Vitaly Petrov.

Hamilton’s next target was Kamui Kobayashi who he took on the straight heading into Les Combes. Unusually, despite Hamilton having his rear wing open, the Sauber driver was able to retaliate.

This seemed to catch Hamilton unaware as he moved back towards his racing line and the pair made contact, sending the McLaren into the barriers.

Afterwards Hamilton said his straight-line speed had been poor. McLaren had evaluated a new rear wing with stronger DRS effect during practice.

Hamilton initially blamed Kobayashi for the crash, but changed his mind after watching the video.

Lewis Hamilton 2011 form guide

Jenson Button, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Jenson Button

Button blamed a “misunderstanding” for his failure to reach Q3 for the first time this year: “I?d just done a fast lap, and was cooling the tyres, not knowing that there wasn?t any more time left in the session.

“If I?d known, obviously I wouldn?t have slowed down on my final lap. ??Obviously, with the track getting drier with every lap, it was vital to be going quickly until the end of the session.

“I think I was second or third-quickest when I did my lap; it?s just a pity I that didn?t get a chance to put in another lap.”

He had a scare at the start when he hit debris from the collision between Bruno Senna and Jaime Alguersuari: “Someone?s front wing went through my front wing and ripped one of the mirrors off as well, so it was a pretty messy first lap.

“I was radioing to the team saying ‘I?ve got a lot of damage, I need to come in.’ They said ‘you can?t because you will be in so much traffic, just keep pushing.’ I did so for five laps and they said ‘pit and we?ll go to options.'”

Button also had damage to his rear wing which the team were unable to repair in the pits.

This further delay left him 14th behind Michael Schumacher. But after the race restarted Button immediately made progress, passing Rubens Barrichello for tenth.

On the next lap he took Sergio Perez and Petrov around the outside at La Source. He picked off Michael Schumacher, Adrian Sutil, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg over the next eight laps, moving up to fourth.

Having dispensed with the medium tyres during his first stint, Button was able to stay on softs at the end of the race and used them to good effect, passing Alonso for third with little difficulty with three laps to go.

Jenson Button 2011 form guide

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

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Image ?? McLaren