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GP Week : Issue 188
McLaren have seized the advantage in their constructor’s battle with Force India by virtue of Jenson Button’s sixth place finish in Belgium. Button’s eight points over Adrian Sutil’s meagre two points for ninth place give McLaren a four- point buffer over Sahara Force India after trailing the Silverstone -based squad for much of the season. Both teams are Mercedes engine customers, and McLaren lends substantial technology and support to Force India, making the Woking outfit’s previous trailing of their clients in the constructors’ standings something of an embarrassment. Sutil and Button were the only point-scorers for their respective teams at Spa, with Button retaining his sixth-place starting position and Sutil jumping three spots from twelfth place on the grid. Button in particular managed his medium tyres to perfection, leading the race by lap eighteen before pitting for hard tyres and setting after Romain Grosjean and Felipe Massa for seventh. Button’s pace will be an encouraging sign for McLaren, who finally appear to be unlocking some of the potential from the MP4-28 that had seemed relatively dormant up until the mid-season break, serving notice to critics who had questioned the wisdom of not developing last year’s more competitive machinery. Sutil was unlucky to be caught up in the incident with his teammate Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado at the final chicane, but got off lightly compared to di Resta, who had shown great form in qualifying. Nevertheless, Sutil was severely penalised in track time and finished some fourteen seconds behind his nearest competitor in Grosjean. Sergio Perez also engaged in some spirited dices up and down the field and deserved a points- scoring finish. Alas, it was not to be, and the Mexican racer crossed the line in 11th place. While Spa will be seen as damage limitation for McLaren, the crew at Force India will be eager to redress what is fast becoming the habit of lost opportunities. PIC: Interesting angle on Button during Friday practice ... McLaren wrestles back the Force ... 31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> BELGIUM