Jenson Button was delighted with third place in qualifying for the British Grand Prix today as he proved his wet-weather skills to qualify behind Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.
The 2009 world champion is renowned for his skills in changeable conditions, and this was clear at Silverstone today as he put in a last-ditch lap using dry tires on a damp circuit to secure his best qualifying result since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.
In that time, McLaren’s form has been very poor, and he admitted that there was a sense of relief after qualifying.
“Like you cannot believe,” he admitted. “I know it’s only a third in qualifying but for us at the moment, and for the last 18 months, we had no chance of getting this result.”
The result was made all the more sweet by the fact that he secured P3 at his home race in England.
“Yeah it’s nice in front of the home crowd to qualify well and all the way through qualifying, the pace was there. Not compared to the Mercedes, but with everyone else the pace was there.
“To come through and be third in Q3 is a good result for today and I’m really happy that I could do it here in front of the home crowd.”
Button is racing with a special pink livery on his helmet this weekend in memory of his father, John, who died in January at the age of 70. This result will unquestionably give both Jenson and the team a huge boost, but turning it into some solid points on Sunday is a must.
You can watch the British Grand Prix live from 7:30am ET tomorrow on CNBC and Live Extra.
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.