Jenson Button: “My race was effectively over on the first lap”

Jenson Button - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Jenson Button retired from the Singapore Grand Prix as a precautionary measure due to soaring brake temperatures, but the Briton felt his race was already heavily compromised by his first lap clash with Valtteri Bottas.

The McLaren-Honda driver clipped Bottas with his front wing as he took avoiding action around the stricken car of Nico Hülkenberg, which necessitated a first lap pit stop, while the incident also caused an imbalance of his downforce for the remainder of the race that left it impossible for him to challenge for points.

“I might have retired on lap 43, but, to be honest, my race was effectively over on the first lap,” said a disappointed Button after the race. “I got a very good start and pulled alongside Valtteri [Bottas], but I didn’t see Nico’s [Hulkenberg] car coming across the track until he was right in front of me, facing the wrong way.

“I lifted and pulled to the right, but there wasn’t really anywhere to go, so I tagged Valtteri with my front wing. That broke my front wing, brake duct and floor.

“I pitted to change tyres and fit a new front wing, but the car had been damaged, so I was lacking downforce for the remainder of the race. Even then, the downforce I did have wasn’t properly balanced across the car, which made it even more difficult.

“The reason we stopped was that we were concerned about the brakes – the temperatures were rising because of the duct damage. We were worried about a failure – it was the right decision to stop.”