Jenson Button elated with fourth place in Canada

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Jenson Button has come away from the Canadian Grand Prix weekend with a smile on his face and 12 points in his back pocket after finishing yesterday’s race in fourth place.

The McLaren driver had qualified down in ninth, and believed that the team would struggle in the hot conditions on race day in Montreal. However, he put in a fine display to come home in fourth place – a result made all the more impressive by the fact that he was running eighth with just three laps to go.

Button managed to fight his way past Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg on track in the dying stages of the race, before benefitting from the crash between Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez on the final lap at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“I had a little dice with Fernando and Nico,” Button explained. “Fernando almost hit Nico at the hairpin, and had to dive down the inside. Then they both ran wide and I got down the inside of both of them.

“On the final lap you never want to see an accident like Felipe and Checo’s, but fortunately they both got out of their cars okay, which was good.

“We come out of this weekend knowing that there’s a better overall feel to our car. It’s encouraging that we’re making progress. In a straightforward race, I wouldn’t have finished fourth, but we did a good job today and ought to be happy. These points are helpful, and they’ll spur us on to do another good job in Austria.”

Button’s teammate, Kevin Magnussen, managed to squeeze into the top ten thanks to the accident, and was classified ninth when the checkered flag fell. The Dane has struggled ever since his stunning charge to second place on debut in Australia back in March. Following this 18 point haul, he has scored just five in the past six races.

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.