McLaren praises Button's never-give-up mentality

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

McLaren managed to get both cars in the points thanks to a surge late in the race, helped of course by the incident that saw two cars ahead ofthe McLarens retire in the penultimate lap. Jenson Button finished 4th while Kevin Magnussen ended in 9th place.

Both Jenson and Kevin spent much of the race fighting in between the traffic, but, as the race’s cards were decisively shuffled at the mid-point, both drivers slowly began to move up the order.

Jenson was the greatest beneficiary – in just two laps, he jumped from eighth position to fourth at the flag; first, taking the opportunity to pass Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso to take sixth, then gaining a further two places after a last-lap crash took out Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa.

Kevin spent the last 22 laps of the race attempting to find a way past Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso. At the finish, the last-lap accident helped him take ninth position.

Jenson Button, MP4-29-04, 4th: “What a fantastic race! Big congratulations to Daniel – I’m a big fan of his, he’s a great guy, and he’s obviously got the skills. Your first grand prix victory is always very special, so very well done to him.

“The opening stint on the Option tyre was tough-going for me, so I decided to jump off it quite early and move to the Prime. But then I just kept coming up on traffic – there were cars everywhere: if you were racing against a single car, it was easier to get past, but if you were in a bunch, it was tough because lots of drivers were able to use the DRS.

“Still, I fought my way through at the end. I had a little dice with Fernando and Nico [Hulkenberg] – Fernando almost hit Nico at the hairpin, and had to dive down the inside. Then they both ran wide and I got down the inside of both of them.

“On the final lap, you never want to see an accident like Felipe and Checo’s – but, fortunately, they both got out of their cars okay, which was good.

“We come out of this weekend knowing that there’s a better overall feel to our car – it’s encouraging that we’re making progress. In a straightforward race, I wouldn’t have finished fourth, but we did a good job today and ought to be happy. These points are helpful, and they’ll spur us on to do another good job in Austria.”

Kevin Magnussen, MP4-29-01: “Before the race, I told myself that I’d be happy if I could score some points this afternoon. Getting both cars home in the top 10 was great for the team, but we know there’s still work to do to catch up with the teams ahead of us in the championship.

“Everyone is pushing so hard at the moment, so we just have to try and push that little bit harder. At the moment, I think we’re finding our way – there are a lot of good things happening back at MTC – and the whole team is working flat-out, doing a really great job.

“This was a bit of a challenging and frustrating race for me. It’s tough when you have to focus on looking after the tyres – I was racing Vergne for a long time at the end of the race, but I just didn’t have the pace to get past him.

“Still, I think we can be encouraged – we have some positive steps in the pipeline, but it’s still relatively tough-going for us at the moment. We just need to be patient and things will start to come our way.”

Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren Mercedes: “Firstly, it’s worth saying that, as both a sporting event and as a piece of pure spectacle, this afternoon’s Canadian Grand Prix was an absolutely fantastic showcase for Formula 1. As always, this circuit created the circumstances for an incredible race, some tense battles and the sport’s newest-ever victor, Daniel Ricciardo. Bravo, Daniel – yours was an exceptional performance today.

“Secondly, we’re also fortunate to be able to pass on our best wishes to both Felipe and Checo, both of whom escaped uninjured from a frightening accident on the last lap. It’s a testament to the safety work that the sport tirelessly undertakes that both men were able to walk away from such sizeable impacts. We wish them both a full and speedy recovery.

“As Jenson said yesterday, eventful races like these really demonstrate the strength in depth of our trackside and strategy operations: we didn’t have the raw pace to finish fourth, but a combination of good strategy calls, some excellent pits-to-driver communications, and aggressive drives from both drivers pushed both cars into the points.

“Jenson showed the never-give-up attitude that has served him so well at this circuit in the past: he started the penultimate lap in eighth position, and finished the race in fourth, making a brilliant move at the hairpin on lap 69 to overtake Nico and Fernando.

“Kevin’s pace has been extremely strong all weekend, but his grid position, and the closeness of the cars around him, meant that much of his race was spent battling with traffic. After his pitstops, he did well to push back strongly in the second half of the grand prix.

“We take 14 points home from this weekend – let’s hope we can continue to rack them up once we return to Europe.”