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GP Week : Issue 164
29 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Three-stop strategies cost Mark Webber and Jenson Button dearly in Budapest on Sunday, with both losing valuable ground in the drivers’ championship. Fears over tyre life prompted both drivers and Sebastian Vettel to pit three times, but those fears were later proven to be unfounded, leaving Webber and Button to count their losses. Webber and Button both made up places at the start, with Webber crucially jumping from 11th to seventh to put him in immediate points contention. Button was the first of the front-runners to pit on lap 15 from third place, but an early second pitstop put him behind Williams’ Bruno Senna, costing him valuable laptime on fresh rubber. His final pitstop then put him behind Alonso in seventh place, before picking up a place when Webber took his final stop. “After the first stop, I could still see the leaders, so we were obviously still pretty close,” said Button. “Then we decided to go for a three-stop strategy – but after my second and third stops I encountered traffic, unfortunately, which made things really difficult for me because the traffic I was stuck in was lapping quite a bit slower than I could have been lapping if I’d had a clear track.” Webber’s three-stop strategy cost him the chance to close on Alonso in the drivers’ championship, having taken an early second pitstop to get ahead of the Spaniard mid-way through the race. By dropping from fifth to eighth, he loses six more points to Alonso, but still lies second in the championship. “We were hoping people would be in a bit more trouble with their tyres at the end,” added Webber. “We were in fifth place and had a nice cushion, but we’ve had plenty of times this year where the tyres had stopped working towards the end of the race. “Today it didn’t really work out that way and we lost places through trying something different. I was quicker in the closing stages, but it’s hard to overtake here and I couldn’t get the job done.” WEBBER AND BUTTON BITTEN BY THREE-STOP STRATEGIES F1 >>> BUDAPEST