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GP Week : Issue 176
RECOVERY KINGS: BUTTON AND GROSJEAN BOUNCE BACK 31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: While the US Grand Prix glory belonged to Lewis Hamilton, there were two unsung heroes on Sunday’s grid: Romain Grosjean and Jenson Button both did a sterling job to bounce back from early difficulties. Button’s race was hampered by his poor qualifying, which saw the Briton line up on the dirty side of the grid in P12. By the end of the first lap, the McLaren driver had been shunted further back still, to P15. But the 2009 world champion is nothing if not a fighter, and Button spent Sunday afternoon fighting his way up through the pack for an eventual P5 finish thanks to a one-stop strategy that saw him stay out on track till lap 36. By lap 23, Button was using his DRS to slip neatly past Fernando Alonso, putting a brief dent in the Spaniard’s title hopes. “Starting on the dirty side of the racetrack was very tough – I ended up 15th by the end of the first lap,” Button said. “So fifth was probably the best result I could have had. I had a lot of fun this afternoon, and fought a lot of good battles on my way through. There was lots of action and lots of overtaking – and most of it was very clean, which was good to see. Obviously, however, fifth place wasn’t the result I’d have ideally liked, but the car was working really well, and, with a better grid position, I could definitely have been right up there.” Grosjean was not similarly disadvantaged at the start – the Frenchman qualified in P4, although he was dropped down to P9 after a gearbox penalty. But the opening phase of the race saw a catalogue of errors from the Lotus driver, who span like a top early on, damaged his tyres, and became the first man to pit. Undeterred, Grosjean quietly got on with the serious business of fighting his way up through the pack, eventually crossing the finish line in P7, two places ahead of his start position. “Not a bad race but the spin on lap seven was frustrating,” Grosjean said. “The start was good, the first lap was good and the pace was definitely there. I recovered pretty well from where I was to finish P7 and was fighting Kimi at the end which is a positive sign. I pushed as hard as I could.” F1 >>> UNITED STATES