F1: Jenson Button needs to try harder, says McLaren boss Ron Dennis

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Ron Dennis realizes that his McLaren team has not had the greatest of seasons and doesn’t have the greatest of cars.

But that isn’t keeping him from spurring on his veteran driver, Jenson Button, to do better.

Button, the 2009 World Champion, is ahead of rookie teammate Kevin Magnussen in points but not by a resounding margin (43-29).

After coming up with a solid fourth-place finish in Canada, he regressed in the most recent Grand Prix in Austria, finishing 11th.

“Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do,” Dennis said of Button in a recent interview with Britain’s Sky Sports. “He’s a highly paid Grand Prix driver.

“Yes, we’re not giving him the best car. Yes, it’s challenging for him to win in this car. But he could do his bit. And Kevin has got to make it as difficult for him as possible.”

In regards to Magnussen, Dennis believes that his efforts are giving Button “a big wake-up call.”

Dennis continued: “In some ways, you say: ‘Great, we’ve made a great choice with Kevin.’ But in other ways you say: ‘Come on Jenson, you are a world champion and absolutely one thing you can do on a consistent basis – and you should be doing it – is beating your teammate.”

Button has chalked up a better overall finish than Magnussen in six of the eight races this season, but Magnussen has more finishes in the points with five to Button’s four.

However, since they both hit the podium in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix (Magnussen 2nd, Button 3rd), Button has had the best points finish between the pair with the aforementioned fourth in Canada.

With that said though, it’s clear Button hasn’t exactly blown Magnussen out of the water. Some of that can certainly be placed on the deficiencies of the MP4-29, but it looks like Dennis thinks that Button himself needed a bit of extra motivation, too.

How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

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Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.