McLaren used Button as 'sacrificial lamb' - Horner

Red Bull has accused McLaren of using Jenson Button as a "sacrificial lamb" in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix. It could be seen as simply the latest tit-for-tat exchange of hostilities between the British based teams, but Christian Horner's theory...

Red Bull has accused McLaren of using Jenson Button as a "sacrificial lamb" in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

It could be seen as simply the latest tit-for-tat exchange of hostilities between the British based teams, but Christian Horner's theory would explain Button's very long first stint at Suzuka on the hard tyre.

The Red Bull team boss hypothesised that McLaren's plan might have been to have Button out of sequence ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton's rivals - including Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber - to slow them down.

"But then it looked like Hamilton developed a problem and they aborted that strategy for Jenson. It looked a little bit like he was a sacrificial lamb. I don't know.

"It just seemed strange," Horner is quoted by the Daily Telegraph.

McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh acknowledged the logic of Horner's theory but said the truth is that Button's race strategy had simply not worked.

"Yes there was," said the Briton when asked if the possibility existed of using Button as a 'blocker' for Hamilton with the unusual strategy.

"If we had left him out there longer ... it is not how we play our game," insisted Whitmarsh. "Maybe others would but that is not how we go motor racing."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Mark Webber , Lewis Hamilton , Sebastian Vettel , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams McLaren