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GP Week : Issue 118
Jenson Button will be counting the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix as ‘one that got away’ after looking strong for his second win on the Principality’s streets on Sunday. The Briton took the lead after his first pit stop, benefitting from a slow stop by leader Sebastian Vettel. He then pitted again to emerge in clean air in P2, but a mid-race safety car bunched the field up. He then had to pit a third time for his mandatory stint on the soft tyre, putting him back in third place and unable to find a way through Fernando Alonso or Vettel. “I didn’t put a foot wrong out there, pulled away into a good lead... but came away with ‘only’ 15 points in the end. But that’s Monte-Carlo,” said Button. “ We jumped Sebastian at the first stop and I then pushed like crazy on the Super- Soft, even tapping the wall a couple of times. The car was good and I pulled out a big lead, about 15 seconds, so it was all looking great at that point. “ Then we made another tyre stop – just moments before the Safety Car was deployed. By that stage, we still hadn’t run the Prime, which meant we still had to fit another set of tyres to finish the race. “ With 10 laps to go, it was looking like either myself, Sebastian or Fernando could win the race: Sebastian’s tyres were going off and Fernando was pushing him really hard. I could tell that Fernando was getting ready to have a go into Turn One – it was fun to watch because they were either going to crash or there was going to be an opportunity for me to try and get through as they battled each other. Any of us could have won at that point.” Button was understandably disappointed to see the red flags come out and take away the first chance he’s had of victory this season. “After the red flag for Vitaly’s big accident, all the teams were able to fit fresh tyres – which meant we couldn’t do anything because the three of us were all on the same pace and I’d lost my advantage,” he continued. “ The team did a great job this weekend and I’m very happy. We really went for it and had to try something different in order to beat Sebastian here. It was looking good, but it didn’t work out in the end...” Strategy and red flags plot Button downfall F1 MONACO >> 27