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McLaren: Button took ‘no convincing whatsoever’ to make Monaco return

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McLaren executive director Zak Brown says that Jenson Button took “no convincing whatsoever” when offered the chance to return to Formula 1 for the Monaco Grand Prix next month.

McLaren announced on Wednesday that Fernando Alonso would be entering the 101st Indianapolis 500 as part of a joint entry involving Honda and Andretti Autosport, ruling him out of the Monaco F1 weekend.

The team had planned to make an announcement regarding Alonso’s replacement by the end of the month, but fast-tracked confirmation that Button – who seemingly retired from F1 at the end of last year – would be returning in Monaco.

Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, Brown was happy to welcome Button back to a McLaren race seat, saying the 2009 world champion took no persuading at all.

“He was the obvious first choice but we had to make sure he was up for it, since he’s now relocated to the States, and he was very up for it as soon as we contacted him,” Brown said.

“I think it’s great for our team to replace one world champion with another for Monaco. Jenson has won a round there, loves the circuit, and didn’t take any convincing whatsoever when we contacted him.

“So good for us and good for the sport.”

Button’s return ensures his presence in F1 will extend to 18 consecutive seasons, the Briton having made his debut back in 2000 with Williams.

Button raced with McLaren between 2010 and 2016 before stepping back into an ambassador and reserve driver role, signing a two-year deal that runs to the end of 2018.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”