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GP Week : Issue 115
Jenson Button thinks his three-stop strategy during sunday’s Grand Prix was a mistake, after dropping to sixth in the closing stages of the race with his worn tyres. Unlike seven of the top ten finishers, Button opted against a four-stop strategy and had to complete 19 laps on the hard tyre at the end of the race. That left him vulnerable to the four-stoppers behind, and he soon succumbed to pressure from Hamilton and Rosberg in the final 10 laps “It’s a pity to finish so far back after everything in the first stint seemed to go so well. Strategy-wise, I don’t think we got it right today,” he admitted. “My battle with Lewis was great fun and I there was a lot of excitement on the track, but I was disappointed to finish where I did: the car felt very good but we just went the wrong way on strategy.” Button added that he could and should have gone longer at the end of each stint, insisting that the tyres were in good shape when he pitted, suggesting that he could have pushed harder and built up a larger gap to the four-stoppers behind. “I think most people probably started the race aiming for a three-stopper, but because many of them damaged their tyres in the first stint, they changed their approach,” he continued. “ We didn’t, and I was able to put a couple of laps on everyone and my tyres still felt pretty good – but I felt the next two stops were earlier than the tyres could have done, which is disappointing. “ We didn’t leave the stops late enough – the tyres were still good at the end of every stop, so we should have stayed out longer because it just made the last stint extremely difficult.” Button: three-stop strategy was wrong call Hamilton fourth after pitlane scares Lewis Hamilton will be counting his lucky stars that he was able to come home in fourth place on sunday and keep his championship points tally ticking over, after twice coming close to making contact with Felipe Massa in the pitlane. Hamilton and Massa first came close at the first stop when Massa was released into the path of Hamilton, but the roles reversed during their third stops when Hamilton nearly exited his box into the oncoming Massa. Hamilton’s third stop was a frustrating one for the Briton, after a problem with a pair of cross-threading front-right wheel nut cost him almost 15 seconds. He then almost left his pitbox without the traditional lollipop being raised, but stopped just in time to avoid contact with Massa. In the end the wheel nut problem didn’t cost him any places, as he finished the race 30 seconds behind the podium-finishers. “Considering the time I lost at my third, I think we recovered reasonably well,” said Hamilton. “I don’t think that made a huge difference to our overall finishing position, and I was quite happy with the way the car behaved once we’d taken out some wing.” Hamilton also enjoyed a tussle with team-mate Jenson Button, when he passed and was repassed in the battle for fifth early in the race. “ The battle with Jenson was good and fair, as always, but that, and the fact that I had too much front- wing dialled into my car meant I struggled to look after the rear tyres; so my tyres were finished and that’s what kick-started the four-stop strategy,” he explained. F1 TURKEY >> 29