Button: Delayed second pit stop ruined possible finish in points

1 Comment

After having high hopes for turning their season around in Barcelona, McLaren instead finished outside of the Top 10 for the third consecutive race.

But in Jenson Button’s mind, things could’ve turned out better if not for problems during his second pit stop in last Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Button was looking to crack the points during the race and opted to pit with Sergio Perez on his second stop in hopes of jumping Perez’s teammate, Nico Hulkenberg.

However, that plan went awry.

“During the first two stints, it felt like we were making progress, because we were faster than the cars in front,” Button said.

“But we gambled on taking the second stop early, thinking we could jump one of the Force Indias, but Daniil’s [Kvyat] Toro Rosso followed me in, and caused my release to be delayed by a few seconds while he came past me in the pit lane.”

Things didn’t get much better for the former World Champion when he finally got back on the track.

“Then I came out of the pits just in front of [race winner] Lewis [Hamilton], who was lapping me,” Button said. “He was running old tires, while I was on fresh rubber; I had to let him past, but it delayed me a bit more.”

Things remain relatively tight in the Formula One pack, particularly in fourth through sixth in the Constructors’ Championship. P4 belongs to Force India with 57 points, followed by Williams with 46, and then McLaren with 43.

With that in mind, Button is looking forward to getting further development in during a two-day test session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which begins tomorrow.

“The test should be useful – not necessarily for [the next race at] Monaco, but for two or three races down the road,” he said. “The midfield is extremely close, so even small improvements will make a difference.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.