Jenson Button highlights fast-improving F1 team which has flown under radar

Sam Cooper
Williams and McLaren

Williams and McLaren have both made big strides this year.

Jenson Button has highlighted the impressive progress of Williams since the start of the season with the team currently in seventh.

Having spent the last few seasons as perennial backmarkers, Williams under the leadership of James Vowles have emerged as a regular contenders for the points.

A double disqualification in Austin allowed both Alex Albon and Logan Sergeant to score points and with four races left to go, Williams look on for their best finish since the 2017 season.

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The transformation under Vowles has been nothing short of remarkable. Taking over from Jost Capito at the start of the year, the former Mercedes motorsport strategy director has so far seen Williams score the most points in a single year since 2017 and build a car that is able to score points not just by luck but also on merit.

It is that quick progress that has impressed former Brawn and McLaren driver Button. Asked about the form of McLaren, the current Williams senior advisor was quick to point out the progress of the Grove team.

“It’s great to see them [McLaren] getting back to the front,” he told Sky Sports F1. “They’ve had a couple of pretty tough seasons and it’s a great group of people within their team.

“It has changed a little bit since when I was there but it’s really nice to see them fighting at the front and they really are fighting at the front with Red Bull. They’re so close to challenging them for race wins, obviously in the [Qatar] sprint they did, but actually in a grand prix. So it’s exciting, great to see. recommends

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“Also great to see…for me, there are two teams that have really made big progress this year. It’s McLaren and it’s Williams. You just don’t see that so much because it’s just into the points [for Williams] rather than fighting for victory.”

Sargeant enjoyed a rare experience of earning his first Formula 1 point hours after he crossed the finish line but still relished the moment.

“It’s amazing to score my first point in F1 on home turf after the challenging weekend I’ve had,” the American said.

“I’m so proud of this team and myself for the hard work and progress we’ve been making this season.

“We worked hard overnight to find a direction with the car that was going to be positive, and we found that. We couldn’t change a lot as the car was under parc fermé, but we worked on the systems side using the tools on my steering wheel to help move the car in the right direction. The pace was so much better today, and I was driving really well.

“I had a great start but was unfortunate to catch the sausage kerb in Turn 1 and went into anti-stall which cost me a couple of positions. That changed the race a little bit, but we fought back, and I gave it my all every lap. We made steps in the right direction that we can build on and move forward as we head to Mexico.”

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