Button triumphs with one of F1’s greatest drives ever
The McLaren man went from last to first in 30 laps to win an amazing Canadian Grand Prix
Jenson Button won an extraordinary Canadian Grand Prix with what must go down as one of the greatest drives in F1 history. The McLaren man was involved in two crashes, one with his team mate Lewis Hamilton, endured six visits to the pits and then embarked on an astonishing charge from last place to first in 30 laps.
Add into the equation a two hour rain delay in the middle of the race, four restarts under the safety car and a host of other incidents and the race will surely be remembered as one of the most chaotic yet absorbing ever.
No-one at McLaren could have forseen the dramatic conclusion to the race, in which Button stole the lead midway through the 70th and final lap as Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel ran wide under huge pressure from the Englishman. For much of the afternoon it appeared that McLaren was enduring the Grand Prix from hell.
Lewis Hamilton was, as usual, the centre of attention in the opening laps. He started from fifth and soon collided with Mark Webber but survived. He then ran wide on the hairpin trying another manoeuvre but his race ended on lap seven when he tried to overtake Button on the pit straight.
Button did not see his team mate behind him and the pair touched wheels, sending Hamilton into the wall where he picked up the puncture that ended his race. "What is he doing?" screamed Button into his radio.
If that wasn't bad enough a shaken Button appared to pick up Hamilton's bad luck. Almost immediately after the crash he was handed a drive-through penalty for speeding behind the safety car, which left him well down the field.
Next up came McLaren's decision to fit Button with intermediate tyres in the hope that the track would dry out. In light of what happened next it was an absurd decision. The heavens opened and the Englishman was forced into the pits yet again for new wet tyres and the race was stopped soon afterwards.
After a two hour delay for rain and to let the flooded track recover, the race restarted and so did the drama. Button, who was moving up from 10th position, collided with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso picking up a puncture in the process and sending the Spaniard out of the race.
Button somehow made it round to the pits in his stricken car, but by now he was 21st out of 21 and more than 100 seconds behind Vettel.
But yet another safety car enabled the McLaren man to catch up with the back markers and after the restart he began his incredible surge from last to first.
With the track finally drying Button put on slick tyres and began to slaughter the opposition, gaining two seconds a lap on the leaders. With 16 laps remaining he caught Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher who were fighting for second and third.
He roared past the pair of them and into second place with five laps left. Vettel was now only three seconds ahead of him in the drying conditions. It was suddenly clear that one of the greatest comebacks in F1 history was on the cards and there was an air of disbelief in the voice of the McLaren mechanic as he told Button he was in a position to win the race.
The pressure on Vettel, who had led the race from the start, was now huge and in the final lap he cracked, running wide midway through the lap as Button stormed past him to take the flag.
Understandably the McLaren driver was absolutely wild-eyed as he clambered from his car to celebrate and he later hailed the win as "the best race of my life". ·
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