Stand in McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Jenson Button did not have the greatest of returns to F1 this weekend, crashing out of the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix on lap 57.
The Brit, who was filling in for the Indy 500 bound Fernando Alonso this weekend, was involved in a bizarre accident with Sauber F1 Team driver Pascal Wehrlein.
Having started from the back of the grid due to penalties from a PU component change, Button found himself stuck behind the German for the majority of the race unable to get by, despite twice changing strategy to try to compensate.
With no other options seemingly available to him, Button made an ambitious move on the Sauber driver up the inside at Portier. There was never really going to be enough room to make the pass stick however, and with Wehrlein unable to see the Brit coming, the two came together, culminating in the Sauber C36 unfortunately ending up on its side and against the barrier.
Luckily the German was unhurt in the collision, and although he initially carried on, Button was forced to park the MCL32 at the end of the harbour-front escape road, having sustained a broken left-front corner, bringing his one-off race to an end, and leaving the Brit feeling somewhat disappointed with his performance.
“Today was a disappointing day and one where we couldn’t make any progress.
“The race was made very difficult from lap one, and then obviously the incident happened with Pascal [Wehrlein]. His tyres were completely gone from lap one – I know because I had the same set of tyres on from the start of the race after I pitted just after the start.
“I had a lot more traction coming out of the previous corner, because when these tyres go on the marbles they have no grip. I thought I was a long way up the inside and then I looked across and saw that he hadn’t seen me, so I tried to back out, but obviously it was too late by then.
“You do struggle to see in these cars, but you don’t think in that moment that the guy’s not going to see me when you go up the inside. I gave it a go and thought it was a fair enough judgment, but it didn’t work out.
“You never like seeing a car tip over because you don’t know if his head’s going to hit anything, but the most important thing is that Pascal is okay – I spoke to him and he’s a bit shaken of course but the best thing is he walked out okay.”
Button had hoped to pull off a good result for the team this weekend, unfortunately that was not to be however. The Brit will now return to his back room role for the remainder of the season, but did advise that he had really enjoyed taking part in a F1 race again.
“Today was a bit frustrating, but, as a racing driver, it’s difficult to just drive around at the back and not get to have a go. I had a go, and thought it was a fair enough judgement, but it didn’t work out.
“I’m sorry to the team for even more damage this weekend. I enjoyed some laps today too, but obviously, I never want to damage that car, and it’s not something I do very often.
“Yesterday was awesome – I loved it – and I’ll take away lots of good memories.“