Jenson Button, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2011

Button thanks team for “great call” in the pits

2011 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2011

Jenson Button thanked his team for the tactical calls that helped him win the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Speaking in the post-race press conference he said: “It’s good having a couple of weeks’ break because I think it might take me that long to get over tonight!

“This is the first place where I won a Grand Prix, back in 2006, in these sort of conditions. And this is my 200th race and I’ve won here again.

“A great moment. For some reason I like these conditions, don’t ask me why, but it worked out again.

“A great call by the team to put me on the prime [soft] tyre when they did and I think a great call by all of us when we decided not to go to the intermediates.

“All round an amazing weekend. I want to say a big thank you to the whole team: the mechanics, the engineers, everyone within the team has worked so hard to produce the car that we have now. And I think we’re going into the break on a nice high.

“But every day we’re on holiday we’re going to be thinking about Spa, coming back and hopefully doing the same again.”

Button felt he could have won even with the late-race rain shower where Lewis Hamilton made his fateful switch to intermediate tyres:

“It’s very easy to say now but personally I felt at the end of the first stint I was able to look after the tyres for the remainder of the first stint.

“I think about halfway through people started struggling, I was able to push on. And the car felt really good.

“I think I was about three seconds behind Lewis when we pitted on the first stop. I caught him about a second a lap up to that point. So at that point I knew the car was in good shape, it was working well for me.

“And I thought it was a matter of time in the dry conditions for us to get the jump on Lewis because at the end of the stints he was struggling. But obviously it turned out a little bit different with the rain coming down.

“It was pretty difficult on the prime [soft] tyre – those aren’t the conditions for that tyre! But a lot of fun all the same.

“It’s always fun racing with Lewis. I think we’re pretty fair, don’t think we touched this time. And great to come away with a victory this weekend.”

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44 comments on “Button thanks team for “great call” in the pits”

  1. So great call for Button, disastrous calls for Hamilton? or Lewis wanted it. I like him but for the title battle, Hamilton should have been higher position than him.

    1. Respectfully disagree. Barring a disaster for Vettel, Button and Hamilton are both in the fight for second place in the championship.

    2. He’s really not that far behind Hamilton at this point, and they are even on wins, call me crazy but if we have a couple more races this year with mixed conditions, Button might be the man to take on Vettel.

      Both Spa and Monza have been difficult for Redbull, so I expect McLaren and Ferrari to thrive there and make things even closer.

      1. Button is about 100 points off Vettels lead however, that is going to be a very tough call indeed!

        And it seems part of the reason why Hamilton came in was a dodgy radio making him unsure to the conditions.

      2. Every win that button had in mclaren were because good calls in the pits. Not once did he outpace hamilton in raw speed. It is stupid to see that hamiltons race engineer make those stupid calls when acctually they should concentrate on hamilton and not button. Button need a car that is 1 s faster then any1 else to win championchip. The problem is that even thou hamilton is faster he wont win championchip either if he does not stop making stupid misstakes.

  2. I don’t get McLaren their strategy team must be a plant because no one can be that stupid. When it comes to wet races their only saving grace is a driver who can understand the conditions better than their spotters and their radar and huge military command center, history shows they don’t have a clue.

    Radio problems or not for Lewis, you have a driver who has a radio working, hard to ask? They focus too much on radar then common sense should suffice. The same was last year in wet races and even Spa, god help them if it rains there.

    1. your common sense, probably. You saw half the field struggling for grip, so it wasn’t just Mclaren that got it wrong. What about Red Bull then?

      They were in a difficult situation. Hamilton needed another stop anyway, so they had to bring him in. That was when he lost the race, really. Not the switch to inters.

      They had their drivers 1st and 2nd, so it shows more than other teams. They got Hamilton in, and put inters hoping the rain will make it difficult for those on slicks, which didn’t happen. Hardly an “ioncredibly massive error, what a bunch of monkeys they are!” IMO.

      1. I agree, Lewis’ tyres were going off before the rain so he had to pit anyway. Coming in and putting softs on only to find it rains harder would have made them look even more stupid.

    2. I think it was the other round actually, the radar would have been showing only a short shower but when the rain briefly came down harder, Lewis jumped the gun.

      1. Could part of it be that he was hoping for inters to work so he wouldn’t have to go to the prime tire?

        1. When it rains the rule that they have to use both types of slick tyre is discarded.

          But you are right on the first bit. When the rain came down harder he was initially quicker. So for a few laps, the inter was the best tyre.

    3. There are plenty cases when Button gets it wrong (Korea 2010). It’s just the few where he gets it right that seem to be remembered.

      Or he is just so damned lucky that all the mistakes he makes don’t even matter anyway (Canada 2011 for instance)

      Hamilton seems to rely more on the team. I’d say that would be the wiser thing to do since they should have more information (about wether predictions and the other cars). McLaren does tend to get it wrong rather often too though.

  3. Button just said on BBC F1 Forum that he ignored the call from the team to come in and switch to inters, originally planning to stack the Mclarens in the pit. Then the next lap he was told to stay out as Hamilton came in. If true, it was a great call by Button not the team.

  4. I find it funny that Whitmarsh calls it a team decision but just looks like he is trying to swerve away from the blame. I think he made the call.

    1. I find it funny that you think the team principle makes the strategy’s.

      1. He seems very nervous when asked those questions, more so than anyone else.

        1. Come on, you head Red Bull asking Seb if he thought it was ready for slicks early in the race, and Jenson has said that he made the call to not come in for inters when he had the chance. Strategy is not decided purely on the pit-wall, driver input is a huge part of it. Unless of course you are saying that a world champion can’t tell what tyres he thinks he should be on and would roll over and do whatever the team wants him to do all the time.
          We have seen this time and time again with Lewis, when something goes wrong for him nobody seems willing to accept that he is at least partly to blame.

  5. Jeffrey Powell
    31st July 2011, 16:14

    It appears whenever the team can make a mistake with strategy for Lewis they come up trumps .Perhaps he should just follow Jenson under these conditions and then take him on the last lap .

    1. Unfortunately that will mean he will either.

      a. come in a lap too late (because he was in front)

      or

      b. queue behind Jenson (if behind)

  6. By which he is referring to the pit call for Lewis Hamilton.

    Whatever call was made for whom and why, McLaren should be embarassed at throwing away an easy 1-2, as those kind of results are hard to come by these days, even for RBR.

  7. Hamilton pitted for inters but the rain had already fallen for a couple of laps. Of course nothing would have changed, but if you want to risk a different strategy put the inters on immediately. Ferrari waited and when they were going to put them they saw it had stopped raining.

  8. Mclaren screwed up.
    A driver can’t decide to use inters if it will ran fr only 2 laps. He was obviously given the wrong information.
    Besides giving him the supersofts had already ensured Button’s win as those tyres were never going to last.
    Mclaren don’t care about drivers championships only constructors or worse, driver parity.

    1. If Hamilton’s super-softs were never going to last, then why did he elect to save a set of them in qualifying?

      No matter. What’s done is done.

      I dare say that Button would have preferred not to have his KERS fail at Valencia, his wheel to fall off at Silverstone or his hydraulics to fail at the Nurburgring. But hey! That’s racing!

      1. Thats not a valid point, he saved in qualifying what? 3 laps of running on the super-softs. Whereas in the race, he would have had to go 30 laps(!) on them. And Jenson also 30 laps, but on the softs. I have no idea why on Earth they decided to put super softs on, or even after they did, how they would have expected them to last as much as the prime tire.

  9. Hamilton was destroying his super softs much faster than Button was. Hamilton, himself, said as much. Button would also have preferred the race to have stayed dry, he said, as he was pretty confident of passing Hamilton in those conditions as well.

    Button ignored the instruction to queue up behind Hamilton for intermediate tyres. I guess that Hamilton could have ignored that instruction too. But he didn’t and came into the pits for intermediate tyres, because his super-softs were shot anyway.

    “Mclaren screwed up”

    No. Hamilton and his race engineers screwed up. Can we stop blaming ‘McLaren’ for mistakes being made by individuals in the team who are responsible for the progress of one car throughout a race.

    Whitmarsh has little to do with decisions made from a race strategy point of view. There are others in Hamilton’s side of the garage who go above Whitmarsh’s head when the pressure is on during a race.

    1. Or radio issue screwed up.

      1. Where would F1 drivers be without their radios? LOL

        1. Back where they were relying on their own feel for the track and pitboards before they had radios in the car?

          1. Yes, because drivers have weather radars and they can calculate where they will come out on track (in traffic or in a clear spot)

  10. I bet Vettel’s guys are kicking themselves just a little bit. Still, a good job getting the car ready for qualifying.

    That was Button’s 10th victory. He’s won 5% of all races he’s been in. Not a bad figure by any stretch.

    1. Wasn’t it his 11th? Hungary x 2, 6 in his WDC year, 2 last year, and Canada this year.

  11. Once more, McLaren ruin Lewis’s strategy for him. They shouldn’t have put him on the super-softs when Button went on to the softs; and they shouldn’t have called him in for inters…still, he showed-off his overtaking again…

    I pray for a dry race at Spa where McLaren will have less opportunity to ruin their drivers’ (almost always Lewis’s, for some reason) strategy. The only positive is that Mclaren seem to be much quicker now; although, we have had cold temperatures in the last few races which certainly helped them.

    1. McLaren seem to choke when they need to decide on a strategy when they are leading. Like when they managed to almost lose the championship putting Hamilton on a “safe” strategy for a 5th place in Brazil 2008. When all weekend he had the pace to in that race (or at least P2).

      It’s the gambles from a lost position which they take with (usually) Button that sometimes work. When these fail no one ever remembers them since he race was lost to begin with. If they work then they are remembered as great tactical decisions.

      So they tend to throw away leading positions with bad strategy. Which usually hinders Hamilton. Yet give the more risky (and therefore sometimes more rewarding) strategies to the car behind. Which usually benefits Button.

      1. what i don’t get is how button still has a reputation for being easy on tires. at least twice he shredded his tires early and had things fall his way for a win. not to knock him at all, just an observation

        1. Correct. However, i think car set up and balance have a bigger effect on tyre wear. Therefore if the balance wasn’t right the car will chew through tyres regardless of and efficient driving style.

          What you will find with Jenson is that he is very sensitive to having a perfectly balanced car before he has the confidence to push through the corners. It is when he is happy with the set up that he is untouchable with regards to both tyre wear and consistent pace. So basically, when he and the car are in the zone he really can perform magic.

          During changeable conditions, his ability gives allows him to stay out longer on the same set of tyres, which in turn gives him greater flexibilty with regards to strategy. Hence Lewis, burning through the super softs, when pitting, chose the super softs as with a lack of lap times from other drivers on softs it seemed like the most logical choice at the time. Jenson and co, having seen strategy call of other drivers to go on softs and the respectable lap times that could be achieved with the softs, now had the strategical advantage; again because he made the super softs last longer in the first place.

  12. Jenson wasn’t 3 seconds behind Lewis during their first pitstop, but 8 seconds behind as he claims. During the 3rd stop when Lewis took on supersoft tires, how could Mclaren believe that Lewis would have been able to pull out enough of a gap to maintain his lead on Button and Vettel who put on the soft tire, and didn’t have to stop again till the end, whereas Lewis had to stop once more to comply with the rules…….How?????

    1. correction……Jenson was 8 seconds behind Lewis at the first pitstop, and not 3 as he claims.

      1. Not correct. Just as Lewis pulled into the pits Jenson was 4 secs behind Lewis. Just 3 laps before this he was about 7 seconds behind and closing. He was able to close at a dramatic rate just before Lewis pitted as Lewis had hit the cliff with regards to tyre degradation and Jenson hadn’t.

        1. Button’s closing down on Lewis as you say in a dramatic rate, I believe that Michael Schumacher blocking Lewis had something to do about this. My original comment dealt with Jenson’s claim when he said, ” I think I was about 3 seconds behind Lewis when we pitted for the 1st time “. When Jenson pitted for the 1st time, he was 3 seconds behind Vettel who was in 2 place, and Vettel was 5 seconds behind Lewis who was in 1st place……5+3=8.

          1. You’ll find that you have misquoted. When interviewed he was specifically asked at which point of the race did he feel he could win. He then said that it was towards the end of the first stint on supersofts where other drivers where struggling for pace due to degradation yet he was able to push on. He then specifically stated how he was closing on Lewis [because of his degradation] and that he was only 3 seconds behind him when he pitted. Just before Lewis pitted, Button was second and Vettel was third. He was not referring to when they pitted to change from inter’s onto supersofts. But I can see how you got confused.

  13. Thankfully at least Mclaren didn’t said

    “Hamilton/Button is faster than you”
    or
    “Hold your position”

    A true team spirit of both their driver racing which even Mclaren hater won’t mind enjoying.

    1. Agreed. I know they sound clichéd when they say it, but I do believe the Mclaren drivers do have a lot of respect for each other. Side by side into turn 2 of the first lap, swapping positions later in the race… These were two guys allowed to race with superb control so they didn’t take each other out.

      It’s such a shame not every team trusts their drivers in this way.

      1. Yeah,what other team is afraid of that every time they will fight they may end up in tears.

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