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Button happy for McLaren to sacrifice reliability for performance

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Jenson Button is happy for McLaren to sacrifice reliability for performance as it continues to close the gap to the front of the grid in Formula 1.

Since switching to Honda power units at the start of the 2015 season, McLaren has struggled to match the pace of its rivals, finishing a lowly ninth in last year’s constructors’ championship.

However, as Honda has acclimatized to life back in F1 and McLaren has made further gains, the gap to the rest of the pack has shrunk.

In Austria last weekend, Button qualified third and finished the race sixth in what was arguably McLaren’s most competitive display over the past two years.

McLaren has continued to struggle with reliability in 2016, getting both of its cars to the checkered flag just three times in nine races so far this year.

When asked if the team’s lack of reliability was a concern, Button said: “I don’t think so. If you look at a lot of teams, cars aren’t finishing, so I don’t think that is an issue.

“I would rather be pushing things to the limit and getting better results and possibly having some reliability issues.

“We’re not fighting for a world championship this year, far from it, so it’s important for is to try to maximize what we have, enjoy the weekend and get the best out of what we have on the weekend and I think they are doing a good job of balancing that.”

Button doubts that McLaren can repeat its Austria form, barring the conditions playing into the team’s favor as they did last weekend.

“Coming here I don’t expect to be qualifying fifth, unless we get some really good British weather and have a good downpour, which I’m hoping for, because then I think we do have more of an opportunity,” Button said.

“The race is going to be reasonably tricky for us here. The car is very good in low-speed corners. High-speed corners we don’t really know.

“We do have some upgrades, aero-wise, engine-wise, so it’s moving forward. It’s just never as a quick as you hope is it.

“But the guys are doing a very good job of bringing something to every race and on the power side it should be a positive step.”

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.