Briton Jenson Button took a remarkable fourth-place finish in Montreal after a strong end to the Canadian Grand Prix saw him make up a number of places in the final laps of the race. His Danish McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Kevin Magnussen inherited ninth place after a final lap crash eliminated two drivers ahead of him.
Button’s race was definitely one of two halves. In the early stages he was around the lower end of the points, but in the closing laps he put in an amazing fight back that saw him eventually claim fourth position. He gained two places from the crash of Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez on the final lap, but also made two places up after overtaking the battling Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso at the hairpin moments before the safety car was deployed.
“The opening stint on the Option tyre was tough-going for me, so I decided to jump off it quite early and move to the Prime,” said Button. “But then I just kept coming up on traffic – there were cars everywhere: if you were racing against a single car, it was easier to get past, but if you were in a bunch, it was tough because lots of drivers were able to use the DRS.
“Still, I fought my way through at the end. I had a little dice with Fernando and Nico [Hulkenberg] – Fernando almost hit Nico at the hairpin, and had to dive down the inside. Then they both ran wide and I got down the inside of both of them.
“On the final lap, you never want to see an accident like Felipe and Checo’s – but, fortunately, they both got out of their cars okay, which was good.
“We come out of this weekend knowing that there’s a better overall feel to our car – it’s encouraging that we’re making progress. In a straightforward race, I wouldn’t have finished fourth, but we did a good job today and ought to be happy. These points are helpful, and they’ll spur us on to do another good job in Austria.”
Team-mate Magnussen finished down in ninth, and would have missed out on the points altogether had it not been for Massa and Perez’s crash. He could not find a way past the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne in the final stint, and he felt he could have gone quicker had the Frenchman not been in front of him.
“Before the race, I told myself that I’d be happy if I could score some points this afternoon,” said Magnussen. “Getting both cars home in the top 10 was great for the team, but we know there’s still work to do to catch up with the teams ahead of us in the championship.
“Everyone is pushing so hard at the moment, so we just have to try and push that little bit harder. At the moment, I think we’re finding our way – there are a lot of good things happening back at MTC (McLaren Technology Centre) – and the whole team is working flat-out, doing a really great job.
“This was a bit of a challenging and frustrating race for me. It’s tough when you have to focus on looking after the tyres – I was racing Vergne for a long time at the end of the race, but I just didn’t have the pace to get past him.
“Still, I think we can be encouraged – we have some positive steps in the pipeline, but it’s still relatively tough-going for us at the moment. We just need to be patient and things will start to come our way.”
Racing Director of McLaren Eric Boullier was happy about scoring points with both drivers, and in particular praised Button for his stunning drive to fourth despite not having the car beneath him that merited that position.
“Eventful races like these really demonstrate the strength in depth of our trackside and strategy operations: we didn’t have the raw pace to finish fourth, but a combination of good strategy calls, some excellent pits-to-driver communications, and aggressive drives from both drivers pushed both cars into the points,” said Boullier. “Jenson showed the never-give-up attitude that has served him so well at this circuit in the past: he started the penultimate lap in eighth position, and finished the race in fourth, making a brilliant move at the hairpin on lap 69 to overtake Nico and Fernando.
“Kevin’s pace has been extremely strong all weekend, but his grid position, and the closeness of the cars around him, meant that much of his race was spent battling with traffic. After his pit stops, he did well to push back strongly in the second half of the grand prix.
“We take 14 points home from this weekend – let’s hope we can continue to rack them up once we return to Europe.”