John Watson respects Perez’s fighting spirit

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Former McLaren driver John Watson has told Jenson Button to stop complaining about Sergio Perez after the two teammates went head-to-head in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

During the race, Button came under pressure from Perez who was on a different strategy. The Mexican driver lost his front wing endplate when trying to make a move, before eventually getting past the 2009 world champion a few laps later.

Despite protesting the move, Button could not respond, and he did not hide his annoyance after the race. However, Watson believes that Button should just face facts and admit that he was slower.

“If Perez gives Button a difficult time, it’s up to Button to come to terms with it,” Watson told the BBC.

“It’s a fact of life. He can’t expect Martin Whitmarsh to tell Perez to back off.”

Instead of complaining, Watson encouraged Button to respond by fighting back and dealing with the situation on track.

“If your kid teammate is pushing you hard, it’s not nice, but it’s part of the game. You have to respond by getting in and doing the best job.”

Watson also said that Button’s experience and credentials made him a yardstick for Perez this season.

“Button is very experienced and the number one driver in that team, even though McLaren say there is no number one and number two.

“He has a target on his back and Perez will think that if he beats him, he’ll be in the pound seat at McLaren.”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh has held talks between the drivers to discuss on track etiquette, and McLaren will be keen to avoid a similar situation when Formula One returns to Europe in two weeks’ time.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.