Jenson Button thanks fans for Pink for Papa support

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Jenson Button has thanked fans for supporting the Pink for Papa campaign over the past few months in memory of his father, John.

John Button was one of Jenson’s biggest influences, attending all but a handful of the grands prix that his son raced in. He was well-liked in the paddock, known for his sense of humor and friendly nature, but died at the age of 70 earlier this year.

In memory of his father and in order to raise money for the Henry Surtees Foundation, Button started the “Pink for Papa” campaign. John traditionally wore his lucky pink shirt on race days, so pink t-shirts were sold ahead of the British Grand Prix weekend in July.

Silverstone turned pink for the weekend, and Button also got in the spirit by changing the livery of his race helmet accordingly. He also used the design in Hungary, where John would have celebrated his 71st birthday.

“The Henry Surtees Foundation is a charity that’s very close to my heart,” Button said in a statement yesterday. “To have raised a significant amount of money for them is an absolutely incredible achievement, and I’m so grateful to every single person who either bought one of the official T-shirts, or who chose to wear pink at Silverstone to remember my father.

“I know my dad would’ve been incredibly proud.”

Button equalled his best-ever finish at the British Grand Prix that weekend, finishing fourth and narrowly missing out on a podium finish. It was an emotional result in what has been a tough season for the 2009 world champion.

“The whole Silverstone weekend was an unbelievably positive experience for me,” he said. “To have raised so much money, and for such a good cause, just made it even better.

“A heartfelt thank you for everybody’s love, help and support.”

F1 2017 driver review: Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 5
Races: 20
Wins: 5
Podiums (excluding wins): 8
Pole Positions: 4
Fastest Laps: 5
Points: 317
Laps Led: 286
Championship Position: 2nd

2017 was supposed to be the year Sebastian Vettel finally fulfilled his ambition of emulating Michael Schumacher by returning Ferrari to its championship-winning heyday.

Instead, it ended in disappointment and frustration – once again.

Ferrari arguably made a greater step across the change in technical regulations for 2017 than any other team, living up to its pre-season tag as favorite by winning the opening round in Australia in fashion.

Vettel and Ferrari led their respective championships following the Monaco Grand Prix as the German ended a 16-year win drought for the Prancing Horse in the principality, and even heading into the summer break, a shot at both championships was looking good.

However, cracks had started to appear. Vettel’s remarkable antics behind the safety car in Baku sparked controversy after driving into Hamilton, suggesting the tension of the title fight was beginning to take its toll on the German.

The final run of flyaways was where things really fell apart for Vettel, though. Singapore looked to be a slam-dunk win, only for a start-line crash also involving teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen to put 25 free points in Hamilton’s pocket.

Reliability woes then struck in Malaysia and Japan – two more races Vettel could realistically have won – to make it game over in the title race, with Hamilton wrapping things up in Mexico.

Vettel only finished the year 46 points back from Hamilton, proving the impact the three bad races in Asia had. Realistically, this was a title race that should have gone down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Instead, Vettel remains a four-time champion, level with Hamilton, who had just one to his name back in 2013 when his rival secured his fourth.

Ferrari’s internal issues will come under the microscope over the off-season, and Vettel himself knows there is plenty to work on. Staying cool under pressure and not letting things boil over as in Baku is the most obvious area for improvement.

But there is reason for hope. If Ferrari can keep up with Mercedes and repeat its impressive step into 2017 through the upcoming off-season, we may well be treated to another Vettel/Hamilton scrap at the front of the field, perhaps settling once and for all who is the greatest driver of the post-Schumacher era.

Season High: A crucial win in Hungary despite battling with a broken steering column.

Season Low: Letting tensions flare in Baku and hitting Hamilton behind the safety car.