F1 fraternity doff their hat to Button

F1 fraternity doff their hat to Button
Jenson Button retired from Abu Dhabi GP

Abu Dhabi - Starting from the sixth row of the grid from 12th, the McLaren-Honda driver was involved in a tussle for P8 with Force India's Sergio Perez

By James Jose

Published: Sun 27 Nov 2016, 5:46 PM

Last updated: Sun 27 Nov 2016, 7:49 PM

The sun disappeared into the horizon and so did Jenson Button.
But it wasn't the dream ending, he and everyone else, who adore the Briton, would have envisaged as fate had something else in mind.
Starting from the sixth row of the grid from 12th, the McLaren-Honda driver was involved in a tussle for P8 with Force India's Sergio Perez.
But then, as fate would have it, his car - the MP4-31-03 - gave up on the Briton after Button hit the kerb on Turn 9 and had to retire on Lap 13 because of a suspension failure.
He radioed back to the team saying: "Something feels a bit wrong with this steering.yeah we've got a failure guys."
A downbeat Button headed back to the pits and there was tinge of sadness to it all as he got out of his car before shrugging it off and smiling and waving to the crowd in the Main Grandstand. He was later given a big hug by his mom Simone Lyons as he removed his specially-designed helmet and balaclava.
"I don't think we've ever had a failure like this," said Button. "Anyway, it's done now," he added.
Earlier, just before the drivers were to line up on the grid for the start of the race, Button was given a standing ovation and a guard of honours by the Woking-based team, as he headed out of the Team Paddock.
And McLaren-Honda paid tribute to Button, who previously raced for Williams, Benetton and BAR-Honda.
McLaren-Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier said that the Englishman was a "perfectionist."
 "Something I also found special from him is that, even if he has a tricky weekend, he can switch off everything and still deliver in qualifying and the race. He's a perfectionist," said Boullier.
 "He's still going to have an active role with us, and it's a flexible role. Clearly, he will be part of the team. It's good to have an external eye, and I think any criticisms will be very constructive. I think his advice will be very, very useful for us," added the Frenchman, who was previously the Team Principal of Lotus F1.
Meanwhile, Mercedes Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe, who previously worked with Button when he was Technical Director of McLaren until 2013, said that Button was a pleasant bloke to work with.
 "He's a very, very balanced driver, and very pleasant to work with. Of all the drivers I've worked with I'd say Jenson seems to enjoy his job the most of all," said Lowe.
"Jenson is a world champion, and it doesn't matter how good a car you've got, it's never easy to win a world championship. Apart from anything else, there's a bloke in the other car that you have to beat. Jenson should be respected and is respected as a great world champion. The season he drove in 2009 was really phenomenal," he added.
Button's race engineer Tom Stallard, who has seen him up close, said that Button should be taken in the same breath as multiple world champions Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.
 "I think everyone in the team is fully aware of what a talent Jenson is. He's always done very well against whichever teammate he's been up against. Everyone in F1 seems pretty certain that Fernando is one of the top drivers, and that Lewis is one of the top drivers, and in both cases Jenson has more than held his own against them," said Stallard.
Stallard also gave an insight into Button's ability to help improve different aspects of the car.
"As the engineer, if you have a bad Friday, he'll give you very good feedback, you'll go away, you fix the problems, you know that if the problem is fixed, you'll start from a clean sheet of paper. If the car is capable of going quickly, then he'll make it go quickly," he said.

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