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GP Week : Issue 195
Jenson Button scraped into the top ten in the closing stages of the us Grand Prix to salvage a sole point from what has been a frustrating weekend for the McLaren driver. Starting 15th after a difficult qualifying session during which the Briton struggled to coax a competitive time from his McLaren and a three -place grid penalty for ignoring a red flag in practice, Button seemed to make little headway at the start. The former world champion, who damaged his front wing on the opening lap, spent the first stint stuck behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa until McLaren eventually chose to bring him in for his first and only stop at the end of lap 21 in an attempt to undercut the Brazilian. Once Button pitted, however, Massa’s race engineer Rob Smedley was on the radio telling his driver to push on what was effectively the Ferrari man’s in -lap in an effort to eke out just enough of a gap to maintain track position ahead of Button. The tactic worked, as Massa exited the pits ahead of Button and kept track position ahead of the McLaren. However, Button patiently bided his time and gained a place on the Ferrari when Massa pitted for the second time at the end of lap 38, the McLaren driver moving further up the field when Force India’s Paul Di Resta also peeled in for his second stop a few laps later. Now in 11th, Button set off in pursuit of Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso, the 33-year- old sweeping past the Red Bull-bound Australian down the hill into the second corner with just two laps of the race to go. “Even though I was only battling for a single world championship point, I still wanted to do the best job I could this afternoon,” Button said after the race. “ T he first 30 laps, during which I was stuck behind Felipe, were particularly tough, but I was able to make some good moves at the end, and that made our day a bit more interesting.” Jenson finds a point to a bad weekend 31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> UNITED STATES