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GP Week : Issue 186
In a season of abnormality, the law of averages finally turned in McLaren’s favour with Jenson Button and sergio Perez coming home in the top ten – sixth and eighth respectively. Starting in ninth and 13th, both Button and Perez were the only drivers to make the distance on a two -stop strategy in Germany, but with the Mexican racer on the early aggressive game plan, McLaren were taking no chances by instructing Jenson to let his teammate past during the opening phase of Sunday’s race. A side-by-side duel through Turn One briefly made it look as though the McLaren pair were on course to reignite their Bahrain duel, but Button demonstrated his maturity by backing off, easing the minds of the Woking crew lining the pit wall. As the leading drivers moved into a defensive position at Turn One, the extreme camber angle allied with a less grippier tyre saw more degradation on the medium tyre than initially anticipated – forcing Hamilton to pit early. This – along with a spin from Felipe Massa and a poor start from Daniel Ricciardo – saw Button running in fifth by lap eight and in a realistic points-paying position. The split strategy between Button and Perez saw the younger driver complete a final long stint, with Button on the same aggressive final laps soft- run strategy used to great effect by Kimi Raikkonen. Had the backmarkers of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde been more accommodating, there was a chance Jenson might have had a realistic shot at displacing Hamilton for fifth, a point Button rammed home to the press after the race. “ They [the Caterhams] destroyed our race in terms of fighting for fifth place,” s aid a furious Button. “T hey're obviously racing for position, but when you get blue flags you have to move over.” But the Briton found no solace in remonstrating with the Caterham drivers, both of whom claimed they had done nothing untoward in holding up the 2009 world champion. " It was disappointing and I've spoken to them both and they didn't really think they did anything wrong.” s aid a bemused Button. “Obviously we all have our different views, but when you're fighting for position and you're lapping someone you expect the backmarkers to move over." While missing out on a fifth place will have hurt in the short-term, the opportunity alone was enough to hint indicate a change in fortune at McLaren. McLaren gets strategy right this time 31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> GERMANY