Jenson Button is hoping for rain in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix to level up the playing field as he struggles with the new McLaren.
The closest Button came to the top of the times sheets in Melbourne last weekend was during the wet Q2 session.
But in dry conditions on race day the inferiority of the MP4-28 told. The three-time winner of the Australian Grand Prix he could only finish ninth.
“For this weekend, I don’t think we can expect an improvement in our fortunes,” said Button.
“But the thing about Malaysia is that it can be so unpredictable – particularly with the later start time on Sunday afternoon, which tends to see late-afternoon showers fall. We saw that last year, when Fernando [Alonso] won, and we know that the unpredictable weather can make it a lottery for everyone.”
“That’s something that could play into our hands – I do enjoy driving in changeable conditions, and would love the challenge of being able to run competitively in a car that we all know is not quite capable of challenging for victories yet.”
Team mate Sergio Perez produced a breakthrough performance for Sauber in last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, finishing second, right on Alonso’s tail.
“For me, Sepang holds many happy memories,” he said. “I had one of the best races of my career there last year where I was able to push Fernando for victory until the closing laps.”
“It’s a fantastic circuit, really fast and demanding. It would be great to pull off another unexpected result for the team this year.”
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Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.