Jenson Button

Button: Delayed second pit stop ruined possible finish in points

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After having high hopes for turning their season around in Barcelona, McLaren instead finished outside of the Top 10 for the third consecutive race.

But in Jenson Button’s mind, things could’ve turned out better if not for problems during his second pit stop in last Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Button was looking to crack the points during the race and opted to pit with Sergio Perez on his second stop in hopes of jumping Perez’s teammate, Nico Hulkenberg.

However, that plan went awry.

“During the first two stints, it felt like we were making progress, because we were faster than the cars in front,” Button said.

“But we gambled on taking the second stop early, thinking we could jump one of the Force Indias, but Daniil’s [Kvyat] Toro Rosso followed me in, and caused my release to be delayed by a few seconds while he came past me in the pit lane.”

Things didn’t get much better for the former World Champion when he finally got back on the track.

“Then I came out of the pits just in front of [race winner] Lewis [Hamilton], who was lapping me,” Button said. “He was running old tires, while I was on fresh rubber; I had to let him past, but it delayed me a bit more.”

Things remain relatively tight in the Formula One pack, particularly in fourth through sixth in the Constructors’ Championship. P4 belongs to Force India with 57 points, followed by Williams with 46, and then McLaren with 43.

With that in mind, Button is looking forward to getting further development in during a two-day test session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which begins tomorrow.

“The test should be useful – not necessarily for [the next race at] Monaco, but for two or three races down the road,” he said. “The midfield is extremely close, so even small improvements will make a difference.”

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.