British Grand Prix: Button's Silverstone jinx

By on Monday, June 24, 2013

Jenson Button has won a world title, 15 races and has started well over 200 races. 13 of those races have taken place at Silverstone, yet the Brit has never even managed to climb onto the podium. Silverstone is only one of three circuits on the 2013 calendar where Button has failed to finish on the podium, the others being Yeongam (three attempts) and Austin (one attempt). Through a mixture of uncompetitive machinery, mistakes and misfortune, here’s why Button has such a peculiarly poor home record...

2000: Williams 

Qualified: 6th, Race: 5th

Williams F1 Team

Button had made an impressive start to his Formula 1 career with Williams and the 2000 running of the British Grand Prix took place in April, which meant it was only the fourth race of the new season. Button outqualified team-mate Ralf Schumacher and raced to a strong fifth place in the race, claiming the second points finish of his brief career.

2001-2: Benetton/Renault

2001: Q18, R15 | 2002: Q12, R12

Having been loaned out to Benetton, Button was having a miserable season in 2001 as he struggled with an uncompetitive B201. He qualified a lowly eighteenth and trailed home in fifteenth place. His fortunes picked up a year later as he qualified on the fringes of the top 10 but a wheel problem late on ended any hopes of points.

2003-5: BAR-Honda

2003: Q20, R8 | 2004: Q3, R4 | 2005: Q3, R5

In 2003 Button switched to BAR-Honda but his weekend began badly as he lined up at the back of the grid. During a race that involved a track invasion, Button stormed to eighth place to secure the final point. A season later the Brit was enjoying his most successful season as he finally stepped onto the podium earlier in the year in Malaysia and was regularly rivalling the Renault drivers as Ferrari’s primary challengers. In Britain he qualified in third and raced to fourth place, just 10 seconds behind winner Michael Schumacher. Button again qualified in third place in 2005 but could not compete with McLaren or Renault and came home in fifth.

2006-8: Honda

2006: Q19, DNF | 2007: Q18, R10 | 2008: Q17, DNF

Button had an awful race in 2006

Button endured three miserable British races after Honda bought out BAR. In 2006 a mix-up in qualifying left him stranded in nineteenth and, after a fighting start, an oil leak forced him out of the race after only eight laps. Honda took a sharp step backwards in 2007 as in the ‘Earth car’ he could manage only tenth from eighteenth on the grid as home fans turned their attention to rookie Lewis Hamilton. A year later Button again qualified towards the back of the grid in a poor car but was running well - including a spectacular double pass that was missed by the world feed - when he spun off as weather conditions deteriorated.

2009: Brawn

Q6, R6

Button entered Silverstone off the back of four consecutive wins on his way to the world championship but the British Grand Prix was a disappointment. Button qualified and finished in sixth place as he struggled with the cooler conditions in his Brawn BGP001, which was no match for the Red Bull RB5 around the fast, sweeping corners. It was the start of a reversal of fortune for several front runners as Button didn’t win another race for the rest of the season.

2010-present: McLaren

2010: Q14, R4 | 2011: Q5, DNF | 2012: Q16, R10

A loose wheel ended 2011 hopes

Following his switch to McLaren, reigning champion Button was knocked out in Q2 but staged a comeback to finish in fourth place, an agonising half a second behind Nico Rosberg at the first race to be held at a heavily revised Silverstone. In 2011 Button qualified well but a mistake during his second stop meant his right front wheel was not attached properly, forcing him out of the race. Last season, Button was knocked out in Q1 during wet conditions and recovered to tenth place in the race. With McLaren only sixth in this season’s championship, it’s difficult to envisage Button’s disappointing string of home results improving at his fourteenth attempt.

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