• Spanish Grand Prix

Button rues opening lap

ESPNF1 Staff
May 22, 2011 « Reprimands for Hamilton and Button but no penalty | »
Jenson Button was half a minute behind the front two by the end of the race © Getty Images

Jenson Button was pleased with his strategy but rued his opening lap as he finished third in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Starting the race from fifth place, Button had a poor getaway and ended the first lap back in tenth place. He only stopped three times though while most of the other drivers made four pit stops, and was able to climb up through the field, passing Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber on track. Button said he enjoyed the race even though he was quickly out of contention for the race win.

"It was a tough first lap," Button told the BBC. "I got a bad start and then turn one and turn three were just a disaster, I was on the outside on the marbles and I couldn't get back in. I was hung out to dry as they say, and I think I was about eleventh or twelfth after lap one. But then it worked out well, we had a reasonably good strategy, and the pit stops were great, the guys did a great job.

"We stayed on the option tyre as long as possible and I don't understand why other people didn't. But there you go, I think if one person at the front does something you have to follow the trend, but we weren't in that group at that point in time. So a great race, I really enjoyed getting past Mark and Fernando in one lap, I knew I wasn't going to catch the leaders but you have to keep pushing in case anything happens."

Button said it had always been his intention to carry out a three-stop strategy, saying that the lack of performance on the hard compound made it an easy decision, and that it could have been a race-winning decision had he made a better start.

"I don't want to give anything away - well I'm going to right now - but we never planned to do anything else. I didn't want to do any more stops because I thought doing two stints on a prime tyre is not good. It's one and a half seconds/two seconds slower than an option, why would you want to do two stints on it? So we wanted to spend as much time on the option, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if I didn't have a bad first lap but you're always going to think like that. But all in all a good day, a good end and nice to get a podium."