Button: A matter of time until McLaren bounces back

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Jenson Button believes that it is just a matter of time until McLaren returns to the front of the field in Formula 1 despite the team’s struggle in 2014.

After a disastrous 2013 campaign that was the McLaren’s worst in thirty years, 2014 has not gone much better with the team lying sixth in the constructors’ championship as the lowest ranked Mercedes-powered outfit. However, Button is pleased with the progress being made, and made his feelings clear on British radio station TalkSport.

“It’s been a tough year to be fair, very tough year,” the Briton explained. “We’re not where we’re used to being near the front. McLaren is used to fighting at the front with the other top teams, but this year hasn’t been the case, but we are getting stronger, and the British Grand Prix showed that.

“We’ve got the best engine, we’ve got a Mercedes engine so we don’t have that excuse. We just haven’t built a good enough car to win races this year. We’re working hard, there’s been a lot of improvements this year already, personnel changes and what have you, adding to the strong team we already have, so we will win races, it is a matter of time.

“It is very frustrating because when you’ve won races before and a world championship nothing else is good enough, but we’re on the right track and that’s the important thing.”

When asked to predict who would win the drivers’ championship, Button was reluctant to make a firm choice between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but said that his compatriot could win out if he is mentally stable.

“It’s a tricky one, people say Lewis is quicker but Nico is more intelligent, but I don’t know,” Button said. “I know how quick Lewis is, and if his head is in the right place, he will be unbeatable.”

Button finished an excellent fourth at the British Grand Prix, matching his best ever finish at Silverstone. He will head to next weekend’s German Grand Prix with his tail up, but there is still a long road ahead for McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

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.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

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.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).