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BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2013: Nico Rosberg on pole as Lewis Hamilton starts ninth after penalty

Rosberg on pole for Bahrain Grand Prix as Hamilton starts ninth after grid penalty

PUBLISHED:

12:05 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 20 April 2013

Nico Rosberg will start from pole position for only the second time in his career at tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver will be joined on the front row by Sebastian Vettel with Fernando Alonso in third.

Hamilton, who was out-qualified by his team-mate Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career, starts in ninth after being handed a five-place grid drop.

Man in the middle: Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow's grand prix from the front of the pack ahead of Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso

Man in the middle: Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow's grand prix from the front of the pack ahead of Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso

Job done: Today's pole for Rosberg is only the second of his Formula One career

Job done: Today's pole for Rosberg is only the second of his Formula One career

The British driver will be joined on the
fifth row by former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button who failed to post a
competitive time in Q3 for the second successive race.

It is the first time since last year's race in China that Rosberg will lead away the field, and the first time this season he has out-qualified team-mate Hamilton.

Following Hamilton's pole in Shanghai, Rosberg handed Mercedes back-to-back poles for the first time since their return to the grid in 2010.

Hamilton cut a bitterly unhappy figure post race as he knows such an incident undoubtedly affects his early title hopes, with the Briton currently 12 points adrift of Red Bull's Vettel.

Asked for his thoughts on a potential rule change, Hamilton said: 'It doesn't really matter. The rules are the rules.

'I've got a penalty and I will have to suck it up and deal with it. I just got unlucky as I think it was some debris with the tyre.'

Red Bull's Mark Webber was fifth quickest, but like Hamilton, faces a penalty of three places after colliding with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne last weekend.

Blow: Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-place grid penalty after he was forced to change his gearbox

Blow: Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-place grid penalty after he was forced to change his gearbox

Head down: Hamilton (right) was out-qualified by Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career

Head down: Hamilton (right) was out-qualified by Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)*
5. Mark Webber (Red Bull)**
6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
7. Paul Di Resta (Force India)
8. Adrian Sutil (Force India)
9. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
10. Jenson Button (McLaren)

* Lewis Hamilton handed five-place grid penalty
** Mark Webber handed three-place grid penalty

It means Felipe Massa will move up to fourth in his Ferrari, with the Force India's of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil lining up fifth and sixth.

Then comes Webber, who actually only loses two places courtesy of Hamilton, followed by Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus who moves from ninth to eighth.

In 11th and 12th, after dropping out in Q2 will be Romain Grosjean in his Lotus and McLaren's Sergio Perez, beaten by team-mates Raikkonen and Button respectively for the fourth straight race.

Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo, who a week ago in China qualified seventh, will start 13th tomorrow, with team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne 16th.

Sandwiched in between the pair are Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Leading the way: Nico Rosberg sealed only the second pole position of his career on Saturday

Leading the way: Nico Rosberg sealed only the second pole position of his career on Saturday

In a remarkable twist at the end of
the opening 20-minute Q1 session, Pastor Maldonado dropped out after
setting the same time as Williams team-mate Bottas.

Posting
a lap of 1:34,125, as the Venezuelan's time came after that of the
Finn, it left Maldonado kicking his heels whilst Bottas took part in Q2.

Maldonado
will start 17th ahead of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, with the Mexican
out-qualified by Hulkenberg for the fourth consecutive race, and failing
to make it into Q2 for the third time.

Slow start: Jenson Button creeped into the top 10 but didn't complete a lap in Q3 and will start tenth

Slow start: Jenson Button creeped into the top 10 but didn't complete a lap in Q3 and will start tenth

With
a five-place grid penalty to serve for the race after running into the
back of Sutil in Shanghai, Gutierrez will start at the back of the grid.

Caterham
and Marussia naturally share the bottom four places, with Charles Pic a
season's best of 19th since switching from the latter to the former for
this season.

Either side
of Caterham's Giedo van der Garde are Marussia duo Jules Bianchi and Max
Chilton, with the 21-year-old Briton setting the slowest time in
qualifying for the first time this year.

On track: Fernando Alonso

On track: Fernando Alonso

Rosberg admitted to being 'a little surprised' at starting from pole, but natually claiming to be 'really, really happy' with 'a fantastic result'.

The question is whether Rosberg has the pace to go on and take the chequered flag given Hamilton dropped back to third from pole in China, and whether the tyres will hold up under the conditions.

'Tomorrow is going to be a tough day given the degradation of the tyres,' added Rosberg.

'I want to really kick start my season given the first three races which have been tough for me so far.

In the lead: Vettel holds a three-point advantage over Alonso ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

In the lead: Vettel holds a three-point advantage over Alonso ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

'It's difficult to say if we have enough to pace to win, but I will try, and I'm really looking forward to starting from first.'

Vettel was far from disappointed with second, especially after the time of Rosberg.

'Congratulations to Nico because it was a very strong lap,' said Vettel. 'When I crossed the line and I saw I was second I didn't know how much was missing from my lap.

'But then when I was told the gap to Nico it was clear, even with a perfect lap, he was unbeatable.'

Alonso declared himself 'very, very happy with third'.

It is the third successive race Alonso will start from third, adding: 'Normally we struggle a lot in qualifying, so this has put us in a strong position for the race.'

Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn was irked by the Hamilton penalty.

Difficult weekend: McLaren driver Sergio Perez could manage only 12th in qualifying

Difficult weekend: McLaren driver Sergio Perez could manage only 12th in qualifying

He said: 'The difficulty we have in the future is where we get marginal cases where you have a problem, perhaps aggravated by the driver, and you don't get a gearbox failure as such, but it needs to be changed.

'Then you get into these long debates.

'But it is frustrating to get a penalty when there has been an outside influence. It's annoying.

'Fortunately it doesn't happen too often, but if it were to happen at a critical part of the season then it would be doubly frustrating, so it's worth looking at again.'

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was certainly dismissing any prospect one of his company's tyres lay behind Hamilton's woes.

Hembery said: 'The problem seen on Lewis' Mercedes during free practice was not the result of a structural tyre failure, but instead must have been down to a piece of debris on the track.'

It was one of those bitter-sweet afternoons for Mercedes in light of Rosberg helping them to back-to-back poles for the first time since their return to F1 three years ago, and after Hamilton led away the field a week ago in China.

With two DNFs in his first three races, Rosberg has so far suffered in contrast to Hamilton, but was smiling again after claiming what is only his second pole in his 132 races.

'This is great for me because the start (to the season) has really not gone to plan, with a lot of issues,' said Rosberg.

'I'm really hoping this is going to kickstart my season. It's the first time everything has really gone to plan. Up until now it has been great.

'To turn up with the pole position, which I have to admit is a bit of a surprise, I'm really, really happy with.

Off colour: Hamilton will start on the fifth row with former McLaren team-mate Button for company

Off colour: Hamilton will start on the fifth row with former McLaren team-mate Button for company

'I'm now looking forward to tomorrow when hopefully everything will go well, although I'm not sure we have what it takes to win the race.'

That is based on the fact this year's Mercedes, whilst quick over one lap, lacks the race pace of rivals Ferrari, Red Bull, and Lotus on occasion.

The pits: Hamilton had to settle for starting fifth on the grid in the grand prix

The pits: Hamilton had to settle for starting fifth on the grid in the grand prix

Alonso declared himself 'very, very happy with third'.

It is the third successive race Alonso will start from third, adding: 'Normally we struggle a lot in qualifying, so this has put us in a strong position for the race.'

Lionel Messi breaks another record by completing stunning scoring circle against every La Liga team

Messi breaks another record by completing stunning scoring circle against every La Liga team

By
Pete Jenson

PUBLISHED:

19:16 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 30 March 2013

Lionel Messi extended his five-month
scoring run to 19 games to became the first player ever to score in
consecutive matches against every other team in the division.

The Argentine scored in Barcelona's
2-2 draw with Celta Vigo to take his La Liga tally to 43 for this season
with nine games left of the campaign.

Messi has now scored 30 goals in the last 19 matches.

Scroll down for his full scoring record

Record breaker: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Celta Vigo

Record breaker: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Celta Vigo

Hot shot: Messi extended his scoring run to 19 league games

Hot shot: Messi extended his scoring run to 19 league games

In the equivalent of an entire half-season, he has delivered match after match, scoring against all opponents.

It was on November 3 last year that
he last failed to score – at home to Celta Vigo – a game played less
than 24 hours after his partner, Antonella Ruccuzzo, had given birth to
their son, Thiago.

Messi played 90 minutes in the 3-1
victory that night, but there was to be no special goal dedicated to the
new born. He has made up for it since.

On eight occasions he has scored
twice and in a 5-1 win over Osasuna at the end of January he scored
four. With this latest strike, he is now on course to shatter the
half-century of league goals he clocked up last season.

With 10 games left last season he had
scored 33 goals – with nine games left now he is already on 43 and
homing in on last season's record-breaking 91 in all competitions in a
calendar year.

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura
said: 'The fact that no one has ever done this before shows just how
difficult it is. Only with the passing of time will we realise just how
incredible his achievements have been.'

A belter: Barca's Cristian Tello beats Celta Vigo keeper Javi Varas

A belter: Barca's Cristian Tello beats Celta Vigo keeper Javi Varas

In control: Messi takes on Natxo Insa

In control: Messi takes on Natxo Insa

Messi, 25, started as captain, despite being sick on the pitch in Argentina's midweek draw against Bolivia in the high-altitude conditions of La Paz.

But with both Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez rested ahead of Barcelona's trip to Paris in the Champions League on Tuesday, Messi was starved of service.

He went down under a challenge from Vadim Demidov but referee Mateu Lahoz waved away penalty appeals.

Barcelona struggled in defence, with on-loan Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young causing problems for young centre-back Marc Bartra and only a fine double save from Jose Pinto kept out the home side after a mistake by Gerard Pique.

messi scoring circle updated

On 39 minutes, Barcelona fell behind when Fabian Orellana crossed for Natxo Insa to score. Messi saw a free-kick saved by Javi Varas, but two minutes before the break he turned provider for Cristian Tello to net.

It was Messi's 10th assist of the season – only Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil has managed more – but it was a goal he needed for the record and it came on 73 minutes.

In front of the penalty area, he fizzed the ball out wide to Tello and when the youngster played it back to him first time, Messi finished past Varas.

A late equaliser from Borja Oubina two minutes from time prevented Barcelona from taking all three points but Messi at least had his incredible record.

Boss Tito Vilanova is expected to travel with the squad after his return from New York, where he was having cancer treatment. 'It's a massive boost,' said Roura.

Lewis Hamilton pulls into McLaren pit lane in Malaysian Grand Prix after ditching team for Mercedes

Embarrassment for Hamilton as he pulls into McLAREN pit garage during Malaysian GP… months after ditching team for Mercedes

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

08:44 GMT, 24 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:16 GMT, 24 March 2013

Lewis Hamiton has always insisted he made the right decision in leaving McLaren for Mercedes for the new Formula One season.

But the British star's mind seemed to be on his old team in Malaysia when he pulled into the WRONG pit garage.

The McLaren crew were in position for Jenson Button but were forced to let Hamilton through when he came in on lap seven.

Oops: Lewis Hamilton pulled into the McLaren pit lane during the Malaysian Grand Prix

Oops: Lewis Hamilton pulled into the McLaren pit lane during the Malaysian Grand Prix

Oops: Lewis Hamilton pulled into the McLaren pit lane during the Malaysian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton drives in to the wrong pits during the Malaysian Grand Prix

Thankfully for the 28-year-old he was
able to complete his pit stop in the right garage and resume his fight for the lead.

Hamilton's girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger reacted with shock to the unfortunate mistake as she watched a replay.

Afterwards Hamilton, who finished in third despite having to save fuel, said: 'I did a Jenson. He did that a couple of years ago.

'I am used to driving in the McLaren pits, I don't know how I got it wrong so I apologise to my team.'

More to follow…

Shock: Nicole Scherzinger reacts after boyfriend Hamilton pulled into the wrong garage

Shock: Nicole Scherzinger reacts after boyfriend Hamilton pulled into the wrong garage

Shock: Nicole Scherzinger reacts after boyfriend Hamilton pulled into the wrong garage

All's well that ends well: Hamilton finished third in the race, his first podium finish with Mercedes

All's well that ends well: Hamilton finished third in the race, his first podium finish with Mercedes

Feeling sheepish Hamilton made a huge call by ditching the team that had nurtured him from childhood

Feeling sheepish Hamilton made a huge call by ditching the team that had nurtured him from childhood

Big day ahead: The British star arrives in the paddock before the race with former Pussycat Doll Scherzinger

Big day ahead: The British star arrives in the paddock before the race with former Pussycat Doll Scherzinger

Australian Grand Prix 2013: All you need to know about the 2013 race in Melbourne

Australian Grand Prix guide: All you need to know about the 2013 race in Melbourne

pole position: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 1min 24.922secs

2012 winner: Jenson Button (McLaren)

2012 fastest lap: Jenson Button 1min 29.187s

Number of corners: 16 (6 left/10 right)

Winning start: Jenson Button won last year's Australian Grand Prix

Winning start: Jenson Button won last year's Australian Grand Prix

Winning start: Jenson Button won last year's Australian Grand Prix

Winning start: Jenson Button won last year's Australian Grand Prix

Tyre compounds to be used: supersoft/medium

Bumpiness: medium

Overtaking chance: low

Engine severity: high

Brake wear severity: high

Average lap speed: 200kph (124.274mph)

Full throttle per lap: 71 per cent

Gear changes per lap: 54 (race = 3132)

2012 winning strategy: 2 stops (laps 16, 36)

2012 total race pit stops: 41

2012 total 'normal' overtakes: 22

2012 total DRS overtakes: 12

Number of safety car deployments over last 10 years: 13

Congrats: Lewis Hamilton (right) has since changed teams to Mercedes

Congrats: Lewis Hamilton (right) has since changed teams to Mercedes

On 11 occasions from 17 Australian Grands Prix, the winning driver at Albert Park has gone on to become world champion.Pole position has accounted for eight of the 17 winners of this race, with six in the last nine years.The lowest starter to win was Eddie Irvine, who started 11th for Ferrari in 1999.Jenson Button has won three times in the last four years, leaving him one victory shy of equalling Michael Schumacher's record of four wins achieved in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.The demise of HRT returns F1 to a 22-car grid for the first time since early in 2008. During that season the withdrawal of Super Aguri after four rounds reduced it to 20. It expanded to 24 in 2010.Kimi Raikkonen has now had 17 consecutive results in the points. Only Michael Schumacher (24), Sebastian Vettel (19) and Fernando Alonso (18) can boast a longer run.Red Bull start the season aiming for their fourth consecutive constructors' title. Only one team in F1 history has achieved the feat – Ferrari, with six, from 1999-2004.Sebastian Vettel also goes for his fourth consecutive crown, an achievement previously accomplished by just two other drivers – Juan Manuel Fangio (1954-57) and Schumacher (2000-2004).

Nico Rosberg gives Lewis Hamilton"s Mercedes a boost after third day of test in Jerez

From Silverstone to Spa! Rosberg puts in the mileage to give Hamilton's Mercedes much-needed boost in Jerez

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

19:08 GMT, 7 February 2013

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UPDATED:

19:50 GMT, 7 February 2013

Lewis Hamilton has new teammate Nico Rosberg to thank for getting Mercedes' pre-season plans back on track after the German driver reeled off a staggering 148 laps of the Circuito de Jerez on Thursday.

Rosberg's Herculean effort – he put a much needed 407 miles on the new Mercedes W04, the equivalent of two grand prix distances – means it should be all systems go for Hamilton on Friday as he brings to a close the opening test of the 2013 season.

The mammoth stint was in stark contrast to the two previous days of running for Mercedes during which they managed to complete just 29 laps in total.

Going long into the night: Nico Rosberg gave Mercedes a much-needed boost in Jerez on Thursday

Going long into the night: Nico Rosberg gave Mercedes a much-needed boost in Jerez on Thursday

New team: Lewis Hamilton, who completed 14 laps yesterday, speaks to Rosberg

New team: Lewis Hamilton, who completed 14 laps yesterday, speaks to Rosberg

On Tuesday, Hamilton suffered a heart in the mouth moment when his brakes failed as he slowed from almost 200mph. After hitting the tyre wall the damage to Hamilton's car was enough to end his day's work after just twenty minutes behind the wheel.

Rosberg fared little better on the first day of action in Southern Spain, an electrical fault which sparked a small fire bring the Mercedes to a premature halt.

Delighted at the change in fortunes, Rosberg said: 'The last two days we were unlucky because they were small things but we were unable to solve them in a day.

Off track: Jenson Button spent most of the morning in the garage before a wobbly wheel forced him to park his McLaren

Off track: Jenson Button spent most of the morning in the garage before a wobbly wheel forced him to park his McLaren

'Today we really made up for it and put a smile on everyone's face. And it was a fantastic achievement to drive from Silverstone to Spa distance-wise with an F1 car with no problem what so ever. We were very consistent and I am feeling good because I can push it straight away.'

It was a day of mixed fortunes for McLaren as Jenson Button got off to another slow start, spending more of the morning in the garage than on the track.

And after returning to the circuit to complete 83 laps, the 2009 world champion brought the day's events to a close five minutes early when a wobbly rear wheel forced him to park his McLaren MP4-28 between turns seven and eight.

Sergio Perez vows to beat Jenson Button next season

I'm here on merit! Perez vows to beat Button and silence critics who claim he's a 'pay driver'

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

15:29 GMT, 9 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:29 GMT, 9 January 2013

Sergio Perez is determined to prove class not cash has earned him his big chance at McLaren by beating Jenson Button in his first season with his new team.

After arriving in style for his first day at work behind the wheel of a 195,000 McLaren road car, the 22-year-old Mexican insisted he is not fazed by the task of replacing Mercedes bound Lewis Hamilton.

And hitting back at claims he is a 'pay driver' who is only in Formula One thanks to the backing of billionaire countryman Carlos Slim, Perez vowed to silence the critics by seeing off the most experienced driver on the grid.

First day on the job: Perez is welcomed by his new team in Woking

First day on the job: Perez is welcomed by his new team in Woking

'I remember my first press conference everyone asked me what it felt like to be a pay driver,' said the 22-year-old Mexican who has spent the past two seasons cutting his teeth with Sauber.

'But it took me a long time to get into Formula One. I had to make a lot of sacrifices. And I think I showed from my very first race in F1 that I was not a pay driver.

'We have to accept that these days we have to come with support. But I was a runner-up in GP2 in 2010 and won five races that year.

'It made me angry at the beginning as people didn’t realise what I had sacrificed. I had to leave my family when I was 15 and live above a restaurant in Germany. But sooner or later you learn how to deal with it.'

Far from paying for his seat this season, impressive driving which brought a trio of podium finishes for Sauber last year convinced McLaren’s powerbrokers to hand Perez a contract worth 20million over the next three seasons.

And Perez fully intends to repay that faith by taking the fight to Button – the 2009 world champion who most assume will provide McLaren with their best chance of glory in the coming campaign.

Centre of attention: Perez is planning for the forthcoming F1 season

Centre of attention: Perez is planning for the forthcoming F1 season

'I think at the moment it looks like Jenson has experience, has the team,’ said Perez. 'He's a great champion – the most experienced driver in the paddock now. So I think I have a lot to learn from him. And obviously I want to beat him as well. I will be disappointed if I don’t beat him. I am here to win.'

'If you don’t expect to win you should go home. I am here to win the championship. That is the target.'

That said, Perez is adamant he should be judged on his own achievements in his first season with McLaren rather than those of Hamilton, his predecessor having come close to winning the drivers’ championship in his debut year before clinching the crown in the following campaign.

Perez said: 'I fully respect Lewis. I think he’s a great driver. Not only that but a very special personality. He’s great. I’m not here to compare myself to him. What he achieved here is incredible – he is the last world champion the team has so he has a lot of respect here. And I wish him all the best at his new team but there’s no point comparing myself to him.'

All smiles: Perez wants to beat Button

All smiles: Perez wants to beat Button

Indeed, Perez conceded he will have enough on his plate dealing with the intense spotlight that is part and parcel of being a McLaren driver.

'When you come into McLaren you realise that everyone is watching you,' he said. 'Not only the journalists watching through the window but the whole world.

'As a driver you always dream to drive for McLaren. To be here sitting down and giving my first interviews as a McLaren driver is a very special moment.

'I am quite surprised about, how warm the team is. How together the team is. From the outside it looks as if it might be a very cold team – very strict and very cold – but when I came here I was surprised at what a great family it is.

'To be part of that family is great. And if they choose me it’s because they saw I can deliver what we all want here – to win the world championship. I have to respond to the trust they put in me.'

Sergio Perez thinks he can win driver"s championship next year

I'll do what Lew couldn't: Perez thinks he can win championship in his first season

|

UPDATED:

18:59 GMT, 12 December 2012

Sergio Perez is determined to do what both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button could not – win the drivers’ championship in his first season with McLaren.

Perez has taken on the considerable challenge of filling the shoes of Hamilton following the latter’s decision to leave McLaren for Mercedes.

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Mexican also faces the formidable task of beating the vastly more experienced Button.

Aiming high: Sergio Perez (left) believes he can win the title next year

Aiming high: Sergio Perez (left) believes he can win the title next year

But despite having just two years’ of Formula One under his belt with Sauber, Perez is adamant he will be fighting for the title in his first season with his new team.

‘My target is to win the championship already next year,’ Perez said. ‘That takes a lot of work during the season, so it's very important to start my preparation really well with them and try to reach their targets.’

Perez acknowledges that such a heavy workload is part and parcel of driving for a top three team and is convinced the switch to McLaren will make him a realistic world championship contender.

New team: Hamilton will join Nico Rosberg at Mercedes next year

New team: Hamilton will join Nico Rosberg at Mercedes next year

Asked if he could outdo the achievements of Hamilton and Button, Perez replied: ‘Definitely, because you are going to the best team and the best team normally wins.

'This year, they had many reliability issues and if they solve that they will be ready to fight for the title.'

He added: ‘I think what I am saying is realistic because the team is capable of putting out a very strong car. The targets have to be high. McLaren wants to win every single race.

Long time: McLaren haven't won a championship since Hamilton's victory in 2008

Long time: McLaren haven't won a championship since Hamilton's victory in 2008

‘As a driver you are looking for every challenge and I think it's a very good challenge. It's the best team in F1, the best team in the world so definitely a very big challenge.

‘I must be very competitive from the first race. So I'm really looking forward to being in Melbourne. I'm sure that we will be fighting for the championship next year.’

Jenson Button beats Lewis Hamilton to British Driver of the Year award

No parting gift for Hamilton as Button beats him to British Driver of the Year award

|

UPDATED:

10:48 GMT, 4 December 2012

Jenson Button was last night named British Driver of the Year beating outgoing McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the prestigious Autosport award.

Hamilton, who joins Mercedes in a controversial three-year deal next season, ended his McLaren career with more points, victories and pole-positions than his team-mate this term.

But it was Button who scooped the award for the third time in four years, seeing off competition from fellow F1 racers Hamilton and Paul Di Resta as well as Dario Franchitti, who won the Indy 500 for a third time this season, Touring Car Champion Rob Huff and DTM runner-up and McLaren reserve driver Gary Paffett,

Winner: Jensen Button has won the award for a third time in four years

Winner: Jensen Button has won the award for a third time in four years

TALE OF THE TAPE

Hamilton
Wins: 4
Pole positions 7
DNFs: 6
Points: 190

Button
Wins: 3
Pole Positions 1
DNFs: 2
Points 188

Button, who benefited from Hamilton’s retirement in Brazil to win the final race of the season, said:

‘It has been a very up and down year for us, but [winning in Brazil] was a great way to end the season and hopefully for all the guys working that’ll be good for 2013.’

After a disappointing season in 2011, Hamilton bounced back this term to enjoy arguably his best season for McLaren during his six-year spell with the British outfit.

But he was unable to mount a title challenge after retiring from the lead of three races at Singapore, Abu Dhabi and in Brazil, while a pit-stop gaffe and fuel error cost him big points at the Bahrain and Spanish Grands Prix.

Praise: Lewis Hamilton was backed by Button even though he is leaving for Mercedes

Praise: Lewis Hamilton was backed by Button even though he is leaving for Mercedes

And Button, who will be joined at McLaren by Sergio Perez in 2013, was quick to laud his outgoing team-mate after accepting his British Driver of the Year award.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

He said: ‘For me the excitement of going to McLaren was obviously in racing for the team, but it was also racing against Lewis. He’s unbelievably fast.

‘I love the role of being the experienced driver and that is definitely the case next year – I think I am the most experienced guy in F1 next year. Really looking forward to working with Checo [Sergio Perez] next year too, he has shown great speed and seems like he wants to learn, so it should be good fun.

‘I think this year we’ve shown there is a real heart to this team. They are so passionate about motor racing, they’ve been around for decades and achieved so much. They are very professional but they also have a lot of fun fighting for victories. It’s a big family and I didn’t expect that when I got there.’

Jensen Button beats Lewis Hamilton to British Driver of the Year award

No parting gift for Hamilton as Button beats him to British Driver of the Year award

|

UPDATED:

12:12 GMT, 3 December 2012

Jenson Button was last night named British Driver of the Year beating outgoing McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the prestigious Autosport award.

Hamilton, who joins Mercedes in a controversial three-year deal next season, ended his McLaren career with more points, victories and pole-positions than his team-mate this term.

But it was Button who scooped the award for the third time in four years, seeing off competition from fellow F1 racers Hamilton and Paul Di Resta as well as Dario Franchitti, who won the Indy 500 for a third time this season, Touring Car Champion Rob Huff and DTM runner-up and McLaren reserve driver Gary Paffett,

Winner: Jensen Button has won the award for a third time in four years

Winner: Jensen Button has won the award for a third time in four years

TALE OF THE TAPE

Hamilton
Wins: 4
Pole positions 7
DNFs: 6
Points: 190

Button
Wins: 3
Pole Positions 1
DNFs: 2
Points 188

Button, who benefited from Hamilton’s retirement in Brazil to win the final race of the season, said:

‘It has been a very up and down year for us, but [winning in Brazil] was a great way to end the season and hopefully for all the guys working that’ll be good for 2013.’

After a disappointing season in 2011, Hamilton bounced back this term to enjoy arguably his best season for McLaren during his six-year spell with the British outfit.

But he was unable to mount a title challenge after retiring from the lead of three races at Singapore, Abu Dhabi and in Brazil, while a pit-stop gaffe and fuel error cost him big points at the Bahrain and Spanish Grands Prix.

Praise: Lewis Hamilton was backed by Button even though he is leaving for Mercedes

Praise: Lewis Hamilton was backed by Button even though he is leaving for Mercedes

And Button, who will be joined at McLaren by Sergio Perez in 2013, was quick to laud his outgoing team-mate after accepting his British Driver of the Year award.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

He said: ‘For me the excitement of going to McLaren was obviously in racing for the team, but it was also racing against Lewis. He’s unbelievably fast.

‘I love the role of being the experienced driver and that is definitely the case next year – I think I am the most experienced guy in F1 next year. Really looking forward to working with Checo [Sergio Perez] next year too, he has shown great speed and seems like he wants to learn, so it should be good fun.

‘I think this year we’ve shown there is a real heart to this team. They are so passionate about motor racing, they’ve been around for decades and achieved so much. They are very professional but they also have a lot of fun fighting for victories. It’s a big family and I didn’t expect that when I got there.’

Lewis Hamilton farewell to McLaren

Hamilton rues Brazil crash as Brit bids emotional farewell to McLaren

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 25 November 2012

A numb Lewis Hamilton bade an emotional farewell to McLaren as his six-year journey with the team ended in bitter frustration.

Just seven days after the ultimate high of victory in the United States Grand Prix came a gut-wrenching low after crashing out in an extraordinary race in Brazil when in the lead.

It is the third time in the last seven races Hamilton has lost out on a maximum haul of points when front running, epitomising the turbulent campaign he has been forced to endure.

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button celebrate the latter's win in Brazil

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button celebrate the latter's win in Brazil

On this occasion, with mayhem taking place all over Interlagos, the 27-year-old was slid into by Force India's Nico Hulkenberg as the German attempted to regain a lead he had earlier lost to Hamilton.

The resulting damage of a broken front-left suspension saw Hamilton retire for the fifth time this year, and a walk back to the garage where he was given a standing ovation.

For Hamilton, there is now a month off before joining Mercedes on January 1 on a three-year deal, but not after many goodbyes to a team he has been associated with for the last 14 years.

'I don't remember too much about the accident with Nico, but he came to see me after the race, which was nice,' said Hamilton.

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

'Now the season is done and dusted, I feel a bit numb. It's been a day of mixed emotions, and I'm sad I didn't finish the race.

'But I'm excited about the future. I'll miss my friends and McLaren, but I'm optimistic about what lies ahead for me.

'I feel comfortable going into this winter because I feel I did a good job this year. I gave 2012 everything I had. I couldn't have done anything more.

'It's been a brilliant experience to be a part of McLaren over the past six years.

'I want to thank everyone, and sincerely wish everyone the very best for the future.

'They've been fantastic, so supportive, and they continue to do an amazing job, so to everyone at McLaren, I'll miss each and every one of you.'

Head to head: Hamilton and Button had one final battle (above) before hugging it out (below)

Head to head: Hamilton and Button had one final battle (above) before hugging it out (below)

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton at least wore a rocket-red victory top one final time, even if not in the circumstances he had hoped for, given team-mate Jenson Button inherited the victory following his collision with Hulkenberg.

It was Button's third triumph of the year for McLaren, and enough to see him finish ahead of Hamilton on total points over their three-year partnership.

Once the furore had died down, Button paid a heart-felt tribute to Hamilton as he said: 'I had a lot of fun racing with him, especially for the first 10 laps. We had a really good, clean fight.

'It's a pity he wasn't still there at the end, but it was nice to have such a great dice with him in our last race as McLaren team-mates.

'And I really want to say this: 'It's been so good working with you, Lewis. Over the past few years, we've driven a lot of great races together. It's been fab'.'