Belfast Telegraph

Formula One: Canada far from dry as Button grabs win

Jenson Button hailed his 10th Grand Prix victory in Canada his greatest ever but that was only part of the story on an incredible day in Montreal.

Monsoon-like conditions were the backdrop for an extraordinary day of drama, capped by Button pinching victory from the clutches of championship leader Sebastian Vettel on the last lap.

With the British racer pushing Vettel all the way, the reigning world champion made a rare mistake allowing his predecessor to roar past and cruise through to the chequered flag.

How Button managed such a win is a remarkable story as he pitted six times in total, five occasions for tyres and once for a drive-through penalty for speeding behind the safety car.

In particular, though, he was also involved in an accident with McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton, resulting in his retirement.

Button was naturally emotional given what had transpired over the preceding few hours as the race also involved a two-hour delay for torrential rain.

“I really don't know what to say, it's been an emotional three hours,” said Button.

“Regarding the incident with Lewis I didn't see him and I've apologised to him. We both agree it was one of those things.

“For me it was a fantastic race. Even if I hadn't won I would have enjoyed this race immensely, but it's a win, definitely my best.

“I'm definitely going to be celebrating. I'll have a good night and enjoy what I achieved. A big thank you to the team for what they've done.”

Vettel, who led for the majority of the race through all the chaos, said: “Of course I'm disappointed.

“I was probably too conservative at the last safety car and I did not open up enough of a gap.

“Then when it came down to the fight at the end the mistake was down to me, I locked up the rear. When there is only one line I ended up in the wet.

“It is still a good day as many mistakes were made and cars did not finish, yet we've picked up good points.”

Vettel, who has opened up a 60-point lead to Button, added: “When you've got it in your hands and you give it away, it's not the sweetest of feelings.”

It wasn’t all sweet though, with three-times Formula One world champion Niki Lauda saying Hamilton will end up killing someone on a race track if he does not calm down.

As in the Monaco Grand Prix a fortnight ago, Hamilton was involved in two accidents in yesterday’s race.

In wet conditions at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, after running into Mark Webber and sending the Australian spinning, Hamilton collided with Button.

It was the first serious incident between the duo, with Hamilton attempting to overtake Button around the outside along the start-finish straight heading into lap eight.

Button, however, took the racing line and squeezed Hamilton against the pit wall, resulting in a puncture to the left-rear tyre and eventual retirement.

For the safety of other drivers, Lauda believes the FIA have to punish Hamilton to teach him a lesson.

Speaking on German television station RTL during his commentary, Lauda said: “What Hamilton did there goes beyond all boundaries.

“He is completely mad. If the FIA does not punish him, I do not understand the world any more. At some point there has to be an end to all the jokes. You cannot drive like this as it will result in someone getting killed.”

With the drivers forced off by rain it was two hours before action resumed.

Vettel owned the restart, when it eventually came, and pulled away as he pleased as Kamui Kobayashi fought a valiant rearguard action against Felipe Massa and a suddenly revitalised Schumacher, who moved up to second place on the 51st lap as Kobayashi slid momentarily off the track and held Massa wide as he recovered.

As Massa fell away with front-wing damage, Webber challenged Schumacher for second until a clash between Kobayashi and Nick Heidfeld prompted yet another safety car intervention on the 56th lap.

By then Button had survived a collision with Fernando Alonso, which put the Spaniard out, and charged back up from last place to fourth after a great recovery. He faced investigation by the stewards afterwards for the collision, however.

Over the final laps it was the Old Guard under pressure as Schumacher fought Webber and Button. Button disposed of them both and set off after Vettel, slashing his advantage until the crucial mistake came on the final lap.

Belfast Telegraph


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