McLaren: Button wanted to pass Alonso without using DRS

2011 Brazilian GP team review

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

Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button
Qualifying position 4 3
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’12.480 (+0.197) 1’12.283
Race position 3
Laps 46/71 71/71
Pit stops 3 3

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

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
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 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71
Lewis Hamilton 86.034 79.35 78.902 78.81 78.677 78.73 78.451 78.563 78.595 78.498 78.734 79.394 79.307 78.909 79.026 82.197 93.307 78.003 77.764 78.052 77.8 77.998 77.891 77.965 77.762 77.757 77.933 77.689 77.827 79.21 78.439 77.663 81.402 91.567 77.209 77.555 77.378 77.556 77.409 77.72 78.242 78.868 78.112 81.811 92.059 77.624
Jenson Button 84.58 79.071 79.017 78.767 78.963 78.674 78.4 78.55 78.41 78.82 79.841 79.203 78.818 78.784 82.409 93.098 78.094 77.936 77.779 78.093 77.847 78.075 78.045 77.692 77.961 78.107 78.186 77.759 77.981 78.188 81.639 92.002 77.621 77.686 76.977 78.041 77.249 77.457 77.347 77.188 77.08 77.201 77.152 77.213 77.07 77.189 77.289 77.118 76.913 77.332 77.684 81.188 92.256 76.302 75.989 75.998 76.069 76.223 76.139 76.172 76.811 76.489 75.58 75.586 75.825 75.889 76.014 75.693 75.772 76.652 78.859

Lewis Hamilton

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 21.099s
Pit stop 2 Soft 20.396s
Pit stop 3 Medium 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 ?ǣ I was having problems with first and second ?ǣ 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

Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2011

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 22.005s
Pit stop 2 Medium 21.038s
Pit stop 3 Medium 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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44 comments on McLaren: Button wanted to pass Alonso without using DRS

  1. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 28th November 2011, 15:22

    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.

    • Jake (@jleigh) said on 28th November 2011, 15:29

      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

      • Carl Saker said on 29th November 2011, 18:51

        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

    • 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.

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

        Massa was on a two-stop strategy.

        • 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. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 28th November 2011, 15:38

    “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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 28th November 2011, 16:24

      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.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 29th November 2011, 11:48

        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.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 29th November 2011, 13:48

          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.

    • 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.

    • JustOnePint said on 28th November 2011, 18:19

      Such a bad loser

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 28th November 2011, 22:06

        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.

      • Nixon (@nixon) said on 29th November 2011, 15:15

        LOL :D

    • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 29th November 2011, 12:42

      JB did the same move on Grosjean in 2009.

      • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 29th November 2011, 12:43

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

      • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 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

        • F1fanNL (@) said on 1st December 2011, 19:27

          “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. BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th November 2011, 16:10

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

    Ace remarke Jenson!

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 29th November 2011, 0:05

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

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 29th November 2011, 11:49

      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!

      • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 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

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 30th November 2011, 9:55

          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. Eggry (@eggry) said on 28th November 2011, 16:22

    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.

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

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th November 2011, 19:04

        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.

        • 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.

          • Derek (@derek) said on 29th November 2011, 15:20

            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. dam00r (@dam00r) said on 28th November 2011, 22:07

    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. Anti-RBR (@matt2208) said on 29th November 2011, 0:09

    Alonso Best overtake of 2011 On JB.

    • Dragon (@dragon) said on 29th November 2011, 1:37

      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.

      • paolo (@paolo) said on 29th November 2011, 9:03

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

        • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 29th November 2011, 12:49

          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.

          • Tom (@newdecade) said on 29th November 2011, 14:36

            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.

      • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 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. vho (@) said on 29th November 2011, 5:31

    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.

    • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 29th November 2011, 12:51

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

      • SupaSix-1 said on 29th November 2011, 15:56

        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.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 29th November 2011, 19:26

          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.

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 30th November 2011, 9:59

            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.

        • 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. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 1st December 2011, 21:52

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

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