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WATCH: Button makes up 8 places on first lap in Austin

25 Oct 2016

Three races ago in Malaysia Fernando Alonso made one of his trademark virtuoso starts, gaining 10 places on the opening lap. But in the USA it was his McLaren team mate Jenson Button’s turn to perform some first-lap heroics…

With his McLaren team having (in his own words) “messed up the timing” in qualifying, Jenson Button found himself stranded down in 19th on the grid.  But when the lights went out on Sunday he wasted no time in moving himself up the order with a sublimely judged opening lap in which he used all his experience and racing instincts. As the video shows, the 2009 world champion got a good jump off the line, but played it reasonably safe at the first corner – a tactic which enabled him to get an excellent run down the hill towards the sweepers at Turns 3, 4, 5 and 6 and to pick off both Nico Hulkenberg’s damaged Force India and Kevin Magnussen’s sliding Renault. Romain Grosjean’s Haas is the next car to be dispatched, though only after Button has spent several corners wheel to wheel with the Frenchman, during which time they pass Valtteri Bottas’ ailing Williams. Out of Turn 10 and Button had passed four cars – but he wasn’t done there. Arriving at the Turn 11 hairpin just in time to see Daniil Kvyat punt Sergio Perez Force India into a spin, Button brilliantly takes advantage of the ensuing confusion to pass both Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber and Jolyon Palmer’s Renault. Kvyat’s Toro Rosso appears suddenly to his right as he exits the left-hander, but with the Russian’s front wing visibly damaged, Button easily makes his eighth pass of the lap before Turn 12. From P19 to P11 in less than 5.5km – you sure you want to take a sabbatical next year Jenson?  

Check back to tomorrow for more exclusive onboard videos from the United States.