Hamilton comments ‘surprise’ Button

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Following his move to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula One season, Lewis Hamilton has made no secret of his adoration for his new team and particularly the greater freedom he enjoys with the German outfit. However, ex-McLaren teammate Jenson Button has said that he struggles to understand these comments.

“I was very, very surprised to hear that. The freedom I have in this team is phenomenal.

“It’s so not like that. It’s a very open team, free team, and a team that will do anything for you.”

2009 world champion Button admitted that he found the work rate at McLaren startling at first, but he quickly settled in, and he has gone on  to win twice in three years at Albert Park with the team.

“In this team, you work, you have to work, and perhaps harder than in other teams. Initially when I came to the team, it was a shock.You learn to understand, to adapt – that is the job.”

On top of his two wins with McLaren in Melbourne, Button also won the race during his championship-winning season with Brawn, making him the most successful active driver at the Grand Prix. Alongside new teammate Sergio Perez, Button will be hoping for a repeat of last year’s race which saw both McLarens lock out the front row and finish on the podium. He will hope that Perez has adapted quickly to the team, and with both drivers renowned for their conservative driving style, the new tires may play in McLaren’s favor.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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