F1 2014 Driver Review: Jenson Button

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Jenson Button

Team: McLaren-Mercedes
Car No.: 22
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 1
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 126
Laps Led: 1
Championship Position: 8th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

2014 has been a difficult year for Jenson Button both on and off track, with the 2009 world champion losing his father, John Button, in January to a heart attack. Jenson did consider quitting motorsport altogether, but opted to race on and lead McLaren’s charge into the new season.

After a difficult 2013, 2014 started in far better fashion with a podium finish in Australia following Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification, but that would be as good as it got for McLaren. Once again, the MP4-29 car was sub-standard despite running with a Mercedes engine, leaving the team scrambling in the lower echelons of the top ten.

Button proved he was made of sterner stuff once again, and claimed seven top-five finishes across the course of the year, finishing with over double the score of teammate Kevin Magnussen. However, he is still not sure of his place with McLaren for 2015, with the team still trying to decide between its two current drivers as a teammate for Fernando Alonso.

If Abu Dhabi did prove to be his final race, thanks for the memories, JB. You’re a class act that has given a human face to a sport that is hidden behind smoke and mirrors.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

This year had a different and slightly sad feel for Jenson Button, in that it felt as though things were conspiring against him to make things unnecessarily complicated or difficult. But nonetheless, Button remained all class ‘til the end, assuming it is the end of his F1 career as is likely.

Things started brutally at the beginning of the year with the loss of his father John, one of the paddock’s favorites. Jenson frequently wore a pink helmet throughout the year in tribute. On a happier note, he did announce an engagement to longtime girlfriend Jessica Michibata, so that was good to see.

On track he remained tenacious and dedicated as ever. Some seriously strong drives occurred at several points – Silverstone stood out to me – and his final run of five races included four top-five finishes in a car that was, at best, the third best chassis in the field by the end of the year. He beat rookie Kevin Magnussen in both qualifying and results, which showed he was still at the top of his game.  The only shame was that his promotion to a Melbourne podium finish didn’t get to feature a podium celebration, as it came after Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification.

McLaren has hung him – and Magnussen, for that matter – out to dry by delaying their driver announcement as long as they have. Overall, fans still want to see him with McLaren for one more year. But it may be in his best interest to leave with folks wanting more, rather than them being disappointed he held on too long.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.