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Button reflects calmly on another less than perfect day
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Button reflects calmly on another less than perfect day
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Oct 2009   |  3:35 pm GMT  |  26 comments

Jenson Button has been moved back five places on the grid for not observing the yellow flags warning him of debris on the circuit. Not ideal, but he is quite calm about it because his team mate Rubens Barrichello got the same penalty for the same offence.

Picture 42
No-one has the slightest idea of exactly where on the grid he will start; estimates vary from 9th to 12th, depending on how you calculate it.

So little changes between them and Button can watch his team mate closely in the race. Even without the penalties it was another less than perfect qualifying day for Button, he didn’t have a great lap in Q3, having been on the pace in the earlier sessions. He has given himself some work to do on Sundays quite a few times lately.

This evening there was a lot of waiting around for the stewards to decide the penalty. Within the Brawn hospitality area the atmosphere was only slightly tense. They know that in all probability they will win both championships anyway and it was quite noticeable that Ross Brawn was radiating calm and cheerfulness. Everyone else in the team seemed to feed off that.

When he appeared, ten minutes or so after the penalty was announced Button seemed very calm and measured. There were a dozen or so of us waiting for him, along with the BBC, who did a long sit down interview with him. Jake Humphrey kept trying to get him to talk about maybe clinching the world title tomorrow, but Button didn’t bite.

But he spoke very well,

“We got a five place penalty for not slowing sufficiently under the yellow flag,” Button explained. “From my point of view I did the right thing. I took avoiding action and when I saw the yellow flag, it was just before where the incident was with the front wing. I moved to one side. I thought, for me, it was unsafe to lift off because there could have been a car behind and you also don’t want to be moving across the circuit at high speed and lifting. Then, as soon as I passed the front wing I saw the green flag down the circuit, so I knew it was clear – and kept my foot in. That was it.

“The regulations say that you have to slow down enough and you have to lift off the throttle, which I didn’t do. So I got penalised. I respect their decision, but for me at that moment in time it was the best thing to do in that one second to make my decision. But I respect the decision. I am down in 12th, Rubens is just in front in 10th, and there are a couple of slow downs in front of him. So it is going to be an exciting race for us I think, the first few laps.

“Trying to sort out a strategy from here where we have low fuel and the cars in front have 25 kg more fuel than us, which is a lot of laps – 10 laps – makes tomorrow’s race very difficult. For us, tomorrow is an important day. We have to try and pick up some points, and even if it is one or two points those points could be very, very important going into the next two races.”

Button doesn’t want to win the world championship by crawling across the line, he wants to do it in style; the kind of style he showed in Monaco or Melbourne earlier on this season.

Bold recovery drives from disappointing grid slots have become his stock in trade lately. It’s time for another swashbuckling performance to seal the deal.

Tomorrow everyone is chasing Vettel. But it’s a long race and with four cars crashing in qualifying today, you’d have to say a pretty good chance of a safety car. That could turn everything on its head.

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26 Comments
  1. Boston F1 Fan says:

    - As long as no one punts him off the circuit (I’m looking at you, Grosjean).

  2. Ivar says:

    does anyone else think that the girl on top banner is freaking hot :P

  3. rpaco says:

    The safety cars will help and/or the re-start, with the best strategist in the business the lads have an “Alonso” of a chance here.

  4. alex says:

    I am sure if Jenson had a big shunt and broke his leg after racing through debris he would be reconsidering his actions. Sure he waited til the last minute to get a hot lap in but Jenson has been off-song the whole half of the season.

    And no, I wouldn’t prefer him to throw it away like Hammy in ’07 but Jenson, act like a potential champion. Race with your heart and not your head. If he doesn’t win a couple races at the end, this stroll across the finishline will always remain lackluster.

    1. artorwar says:

      I totally agree with the last part, with regards the yellow flag I think we would all have pushed through the debris and risked it, wouldnt we?

    2. Brace says:

      Stroll? It’s more like barely dragging himself and rolling over the line at the end. Just! :)

  5. alex says:

    He put his heart in and put the pedal down, but it was at the wrong time. Period. He took a risk and put his foot down when there was a car off up the road. He had no idea if there were corner marshals on the track or whatever. It just seems rather juvenile sort of gusto, rather than the smart one a champ would do.

  6. Dave Roberts says:

    James,

    I think that Jenson is calm because no matter what everyone else has done today he is only two grid positions behind Rubens and will be content to keep him within a couple of points deficit and he even has the chance to do something special over the fuel stops and pinch a point or two.

    Can I just ask you about the statistic that no driver has won a world championship who has failed to win a grand prix in his first 100 races? Have I got that right? I seem to remember that it was rolled out quite frequently in interviews during the early part of his career. I hope if/when he does it that it will be highlighted because it will be a fabulous achievement.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes that sounds right. Hakkinen and Mansell were late starters but both won well before their 100th race.

  7. Brace says:

    James, is there a rule which says how much lifting off is enough.
    Someone could slow down by, let’s say, 50kph and someone by 100kph and there’s clear advantage to be gained there, so I guess they should have some margins for that rule.

  8. Alistair Blevins says:

    How are the grid placings worked out?

    Is it not as simple as taking the times at the end of Q3 and docking the offenders 5 positions?

    I’m somewhat confused.

  9. How long until Button’s images are accompanied by Queen’s Under Pressure? :-). Not that I think he’ll lose it but I do think he’s risking way too much by being so down on the grid. A more aggressive strategy would at least avoid any 1st lap incidents.

  10. Carl M says:

    Hopefully Jenson can pick up at least a 5th position tomorrow. I’m going for a Hamilton win.

    1. Hamilton
    2. Vettel
    3. Kimi

    5. Barrichello. 7. Button

  11. Mario says:

    Everybody is making their predictions and I couldn’t resist one myself.
    Looks like Trulli’s Toyota is no danger to Vettel and probably will lose a place to Hamilton right after the start. Hamilton is a magician and can surprise everyone, however Vettel looks strong enough to make himself immune to Hamilton’s wizardry.
    This one should be Vettel’s with Hamilton second and Trulli third.
    Further down the grid BMW’s suddenly came to play after all the penalties. They should score a few points. Rosberg has been given a chance as well. I think Brawns will end up empty handed and Jenson is in for another couple of weeks of waiting.
    Everything however, as James said, may be turned around by a likely SC caused by you never know who.

  12. john says:

    James we can´t take the story in circles:Button will win the title thanks to the first half of the season when the Brawn had the massive advantage of the diffuser.
    After that point,when all the other teams had been given a fair chance,the championship had a completely different story.
    Yes this can happen in F1,Mansell did this in 1992 and you could say he won that year the title he deserved to win many seasons before.
    But I think in F1 rules should be clear from the start of the season.

    1. Evo XXIV says:

      I’m not a Mansell fan, but the rules where stable throughout 1992; Williams had the best active ride technology that year, and Mansell could win it easily.

      It was easy, and he didn’t make it look that hard (same as Prost in 1993)

  13. Andy says:

    I am a bit confused by the 5 place penalties.

    As I understand the rules the laps where Button et al. were deemed to have not adhered to the yellow flags do not count. These were their only laps in Q2 so technically they did not complete a lap in Q2 so should line up at the at the end of the top 15

  14. Jason C says:

    I’ve got to say that after today’s sessions, I think at least one safety car is a virtual inevitability. It’s just that when it comes, and for whom it comes for will decide the race. Webber shouldn’t be too downhearted about starting from the pit or the back of the grid, whichever it is; he’s in the fastest car here and Raikkonen came through from near the back in 05, and his team-mate has been making perhaps too many mistakes this year.

    Vettel should be on for a not too difficult win, but I just can’t see it panning out that way. It’s going to be an exciting one…

  15. Ian says:

    I for one really hope Jenson seals the deal tomorrow. There has been a fair bit of negative press surrounding his recent run, and I would predict that there are a fair few hacks in the paddock waiting for him to fall flat on his face.

    But for me, he’s British; he’s leading the World Championship and he’s got my full support.

    I remember Murray Walker appearing on Wogan alongside Jenson some years back and he tipped him to be a future World Champion.

    At least there’ll be two of us smiling tomorrow if Jenson takes the title. Why there is so much apathy surrounding the prospect of another British F1 World Champion is beyond me.

    Come on Jenson!!

    1. Monktonnik says:

      That’ll be 3 with me.

    2. Mario says:

      The thing is that it becomes clear to many people that JB is capable of winning only in a car superior to other cars as proven by the early season events. If the season started with more or less leveled field, as it is now, JB would struggle to collect any big points, therefore would not be anywhere near the vicinity of the title hopes. I would like to think I do not share this view as I highly regard JB for many reasons, however I must admit that I believe that LH or FA or KR would have won the title twice by now, had they been in JB’s place. (gosh! that’s some complicated English grammar for a foreign lad; I hope you know what I mean)

  16. Sam Scott says:

    James, I am loving your blog….I’ve watched F1 since Murray and James and it seems this the only place to come for real news.

    Keep it up mate, who knows you may yet elbow out Legard next year!!

    1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      Please elbow him out. Legard is ruining the F1 experience for many and seemed utterly detached. If James can make the effort to attend races, write up and respond to comments – why can’t Legard?

      It all comes down to one thing….passion. Legard is just an old school BBC gravy-trainer.

  17. Ian says:

    James, you’ve kept your cards pretty close to your chest – what are your feelings about Jenson as a driver and the prospect of him winning a drivers title? I’d appreciate your opinion as an F1 fan rather than a media man ;-)

    Ian

    1. James Allen says:

      I like him as a person very much, as a driver I always admired his style and precision, as I admire Trulli, but there was always a question mark about his killer instinct. He answered that to some extent this year with important passes at the start, like Bahrain, Monza etc. He should win the title from the position he’s in, but until it’s done, it’s never done

  18. Jeb says:

    He’s right about one thing…chopping the throttle while dodging could easily bite a driver, since you’re basically putting a massive balance shift on the car and pulling G at the same time. F1 drivers have ridiculously faster observation and reaction times than computer jockeys. Yes, it earned him a penalty but I think it was a safer decision given the circumstances. I hope Button lights some fireworks tomorrow.

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