Button to serve drive-through penalty in Canada after engine element changes

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McLaren has confirmed that Jenson Button will serve a drive-through penalty during today’s Canadian Grand Prix after the team changed two elements on his power unit overnight.

Button was unable to take part in Saturday’s qualifying session due to a problem on his engine, leaving him 20th on the grid for the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

In order to get the car fit for racing on Sunday, McLaren was forced to change two elements on the power unit, resulting in a further two grid penalties for Button.

As the Briton is unable to serve any of the 15 place grid (ten places for the first component change, five for the second), he will have to take a drive-through penalty in the race on Sunday.

Button is clearly hoping to take inspiration from his drive at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix where he bounced back from six pit stops, a crash with teammate Lewis Hamilton and running last to win the race on the final lap ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Although a repeat seems improbable, Button is still be hoping to make the best of a bad situation and give McLaren something to smile about on Sunday.

“This morning we did a lot of set-up work in the car, and it felt much better than yesterday, so I was looking forward to qualifying,” Button said on Saturday.

“It was disappointing to miss it, therefore, but it happens – and we’ll make the best of it tomorrow.

“The guys have worked so hard this weekend; they did a great job of getting Fernando [Alonso]’s car back together for qualifying and they’ll do the same fantastic job as they always do with my car, but weekends like this one are tough for the whole team.

“It’ll be a long race, but I’m already looking forward to it.”

The Canadian Grand Prix is live on NBC from 2pm ET on Sunday, with F1 Countdown starting at 1:30pm ET on NBCSN.

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).