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With his McLaren team struggling mightily to break out of its current slump, Jenson Button is maintaining a positive attitude as he heads into tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.
The former World Champion failed to advance out of Q2 on Saturday but will start 10th on the grid tomorrow after Paul di Resta’s exclusion from qualifying. Even before then, however, Button was pleasantly surprised by his qualifying result.
“I’m higher on the grid than I expected after practice,” he said. “Yesterday, I didn’t think we’d qualify ahead of one Ferrari and just behind the two Lotuses. But I was much happier in qualifying than I’d been all weekend – we should be positive that we’ve improved the car.”
Whether or not Button can deliver a solid result in front of his home fans remains to be seen, but he is nonetheless appreciative of the support he’s had throughout the weekend – and he’s vowed to do all he can to send them home pleased on Sunday.
“There were so many Union Jacks and rocket-red caps out there, and the fans have been unbelievably supportive all weekend,” Button said. “You always want to do a good job in front of your home crowd, so I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to them for their support.
“You never know what will happen tomorrow…I will drive my heart out for a good result.”
Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.
Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.
Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?
Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!
Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden
Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.
Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)
Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.
Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.
Follow: Jerry Bonkowski