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GP Week : Issue 196
Jenson Button put in a storming drive in sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix to lead McLaren to a double points finish, capping a difficult year for the team, even if the podium remained tantalisingly out of reach for the Woking racers. Button, who started 14th on the grid after a disappointing qualifying session in the wet, scythed through the field to cross the line in fourth behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, his drive reminiscent of the one he put in at the same race in 2009 to clinch the world title. Button charged through the field right from the moment the five red lights went out and was up to tenth and among the points as early as by the end of the second lap. His rapid progress up the order continued and the Briton was running sixth by the time he came in for his first stop after which he set about regaining the ground lost during the stop and put his fresher rubber to good use to get past drivers yet to pit. He further benefitted from drive - through penalties for Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to move up to fourth but was unable to end McLaren’s podium drought, making this the first time since the 1980 season that the outfit has failed to finish in the top three. “ We needed this at the end of the year – especially for myself, I've had a rough time in the last few races,” Button said following the race. “T hings happened to different people in the race, but you take it because it happens to you too.” Button’s teammate Sergio Perez – who is being replaced by rookie Kevin Magnussen next season – mirrored the 2009 champion’s charge. The Mexican had started 19th on the grid after a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox, but finished sixth following a late- race battle with the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg to bring home a valuable haul of points on his McLaren swansong and score the team’s best joint result of the year. “Unfortunately from where we started it was a long way through. We were unlucky to lose those five places yesterday,” Perez said. “But we recovered well. I struggled to do more and I had to save fuel at the end of the race so I couldn't attack Nico any more.” Great drives from McLaren duo, but still no podium 29 GPWEEK.com // 29 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> BRAZIL