Following Jenson Button’s pitstop blunder in yesterday’s Chinese Grand Prix we’ve been taking a look at what’s being said about the Brit’s mistaken trip to the Red Bull box.
Jenson himself was quick to hold his hands up, admitting that he was distracted as he entered the pitlane.
“As I came into the pits I’d flicked a switch and realised ‘Oh my God, it’s not the right switch.’ As I was correcting it I looked up and realised it wasn’t my stop,” said the 2009 champion. “There are lots of things going on. It’s not like pulling up to the traffic lights in your road car.
“I made it difficult for them,” Button said of his crew. “It’s my mistake and I have to learn from it. It only cost one and half seconds and Lewis still would have won. I’ve made bigger mistakes.”
His boss, Martin Whitmarsh, added that Jenson’s error lost the team time, but was pleased with the way the mechanics had reacted.
“The first stop, we called him in and he didn’t come in on that lap. So he was one lap later, and that put us out of sync,” the Englishman told the BBC.
“Then he did come in and obviously he liked the look of the Red Bull tyres and he parked himself there. Unfortunately that process lost us a position to Vettel, so fairly disastrous. It could have been very easy for the team to go from 1-2 to fifth or whatever, but both the guys and the team did a good job to stay calm and it came good in the end.”
Meanwhile Red Bull chief Christian Horner saw the funny side of the incident.
“He is obviously so eager to drive for Red Bull that he wanted to stop here,” said Horner after the race.
However Mark Webber’s chief mechanic, Mark Lenton, took a much stronger view, accusing Button of pulling the move intentionally to slow and distract the Red Bull boys ahead of their pitstop.
“I realised they were cheating from the beginning,” he told the BBC in a post-race interview. “I was pretty disappointed when he wanted to stop, to slow us down. I honestly think they were trying to cheat. I thought it was a very cheeky move to try to slow us down.”
Lenton did clarify that he hadn’t spoken to any other members of the team and was expressing a personal opinion rather than that of the whole pitcrew.
And whilst there may have been suspicion of foul play from the team Vettel laughed the event off, and praised his crew for maintaining their composure during the confusion.
“He pulled over and into my slot, so I was just hoping for the front jack man to react and to indicate to him to keep going, you’re wrong,” said Vettel. “I lost a little bit of time because I waited, I didn’t want to stop then and then go again.
“Fortunately, Jenson realised and I could do my pit stop. It’s not easy for the guys. It’s very easy to lose the rhythm, wrong car and imagine if they’ve changed the tyres. Then it’s a big mess and I have to go one spot further to McLaren and ask them: ‘hello’. If I would have come in at the same time with Lewis and if he was supposed to get his new set it would have been nice, but that way, no way.”
“I would have got tyres,” racewinner Lewis Hamilton chimed in.
“From my team or from…” began Vettel, before Hamilton broke back in with “yeah, yeah, from your team.”
Now that we would have liked to have seen.