Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Post: Button joins the 200 club with an 11th career win

British F1 driver Jenson Button recorded a win on his 200th grand prix start on Sunday at the same track at which he won his first race five years ago.

The Hungaroring provided a testing time for the drivers with changeable weather conditions across the weekend, but Button prevailed with a masterful drive to pull himself within 100 points of championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

The 24-year-old German tops the table with 234 points after an incredible first half of the season, with second-placed team-mate Mark Webber already 85 points behind on 149. Only 15 points separate second and fifth, while eight races remain on the calendar.

Button was understandably elated with his performance and had high praise for his McLaren team’s role in the victory: “[It was] a great call by the team to put me on the prime tyre when they did and a great call by all of us when we decided not to go to the inter.

“I want to say a big thank you to the whole team, the mechanics, the engineers, everyone within the team that has worked so hard to produce the car that we have now. We are going into the break on a nice high.”

It is now nearly four weeks until the next F1 weekend and McLaren have won three of the last five races, with Button winning two out of the three that he has completed. His fellow countryman Lewis Hamilton held the lead for most of the race in Hungary before struggling after he switched to super-soft tyres on lap 40. Button, Vettel and Webber all eliminated the need for another pit stop by switching to softs as Hamilton span on lap 47.

The 2008 world champion went on to switch to intermediates on lap 52 and to softs on lap 54, which then saw him incur a drive-through penalty for forcing Paul di Resta to avoid him when he recovered from his spin. He held it together to finish in fourth, though, to keep the gap between him and his team-mate at 12 points.

The two drivers will be going into the summer break in very different mind-sets ahead of the last European race of the season. They’ll no doubt be putting their performance car insurance to the test with the chance to get out of the F1 cars and into the comforts of their own supercars.

After the break, the Formula One fraternity is due to descend on Belgium at the end of this month to treat us to another Spa weekend. Interestingly, last year’s Spa saw Button crash out and Hamilton etch 25 points on the board with a victory, so we could be in for an interesting weekend.