Button feels podium finish was possible in Brazil

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Jenson Button has been left ruing a communication error at McLaren during today’s Brazilian Grand Prix that he feels cost him a shot at a podium finish at Interlagos.

According to paddock speculation, Button could be set to leave Formula 1 at the end of the year to make way for Fernando Alonso at McLaren, but has made such a decision particularly difficult in recent weeks with a fine run of form.

In Brazil today, Button rallied to finish the race in fourth place, seven seconds behind third-placed Felipe Massa at the flag. Although he was pleased with the race, he felt that a podium finish may have been possible.

“Judging the race was so tricky today,” Button said. “I pushed really hard on my first stint on the prime so as to maintain the gap to Valtteri [Bottas].

“That meant I destroyed my rear tires, but I reasoned that, if I could keep using DRS, I could establish a gap to the guys behind me. It was worth it, and it worked, but it meant I had to back off during the following stint to look after my tires.

“It all went pretty smoothly until my final pit stop. There was a bit of miscommunication about stopping, which meant I ended up doing an extra lap. That could have cost us a chance of the podium. It’s a shame we couldn’t hang on to Felipe [Massa], but it was still a fantastic race.”

Button enjoyed a particularly spirited fight with Kimi Raikkonen during the race today, with the experience that the two oldest drivers on the grid boast being put on display for all to see as they fairly scrapped for position.

“I really enjoyed it,” Button said when asked about the race. “One of the best aspects of it was my great fight with Kimi. You always push to the limit with him, but you never go over it. So I enjoyed that very much.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.