Jenson Button embarrassed by lack of pace

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McLaren driver Jenson Button has admitted that he is embarrassed by the lack of pace the team has this season in light of the great support he receives from the fans.

Button finished the Spanish Grand Prix in 8th, which he conceded was not too bad considering he had dropped to P17 at the end of the first lap.

“For me it was an interesting race my start wasn’t very strong which was unusual because we are usually strong at the start,” Button told the BBC.

“Turn one was a mess so to finish 8th probably wasn’t too bad but there is a lot of work still to do. Some of the speeds cars were going past me means we have got as lot to do.”

Button did manage to fight back to finish in the points, crossing the line just ahead of teammate Sergio Perez, and the 2009 world champion is confident that McLaren can turn their fortunes around.

“It is still possible for us to still get up there and I want to thank all the fans for their support, it’s a bit embarrassing really to see them all but we will get it right.”

During the race, Button passed Lewis Hamilton for 11th place, which summed up how far back both drivers are compared to their 2012 pace. With these upgrades failing to provide McLaren with a great increase in performance, questions will be asked of the British team heading into the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.