Jenson Button used to drive for both Williams (his first year in 2000) and Mercedes (when it was known as Brawn, and he captured the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship).
He pegs those two teams, and not his own McLaren squad, as front-runners heading to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix next week.
“It has been a messy winter for a lot of people in terms of mileage on circuit. The two that you would pick out that look strong and consistent are Mercedes and Williams,” Button told Sky Sports.
Button doesn’t know whether their pace would translate to Melbourne. But the reliability aspect is something those two teams have got down.
“Those two are the teams that I think looked strongest over winter testing, whether that will be the case when we get to Melbourne – it is a very different circuit to Bahrain – we have to wait and see.”
The Englishman also said Red Bull, which has had a rough winter, could still surprise on one-lap pace. He also said F1’s two newest teams – Caterham and Marussia – stand a good chance of scoring their first career points if they can make the finish.
In 14 prior Australian Grands Prix, Button has three wins (2009, 2010 and 2012). He finished ninth in last year’s Australian Grand Prix, in the first race with what proved to be a troublesome 2013 chassis.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.