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With his McLaren team struggling mightily to break out of its current slump, Jenson Button is maintaining a positive attitude as he heads into tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.
The former World Champion failed to advance out of Q2 on Saturday but will start 10th on the grid tomorrow after Paul di Resta’s exclusion from qualifying. Even before then, however, Button was pleasantly surprised by his qualifying result.
“I’m higher on the grid than I expected after practice,” he said. “Yesterday, I didn’t think we’d qualify ahead of one Ferrari and just behind the two Lotuses. But I was much happier in qualifying than I’d been all weekend – we should be positive that we’ve improved the car.”
Whether or not Button can deliver a solid result in front of his home fans remains to be seen, but he is nonetheless appreciative of the support he’s had throughout the weekend – and he’s vowed to do all he can to send them home pleased on Sunday.
“There were so many Union Jacks and rocket-red caps out there, and the fans have been unbelievably supportive all weekend,” Button said. “You always want to do a good job in front of your home crowd, so I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to them for their support.
“You never know what will happen tomorrow…I will drive my heart out for a good result.”
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 9th
Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.
Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.
Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.
Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.
Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.
Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.
Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.