SILVERSTONE England (Reuters) - Jenson Button did his late father proud on Sunday even if the McLaren driver seems destined not to stand on the podium at his home British Grand Prix.
The most experienced driver on the Formula One starting grid has yet to finish in the top three at Silverstone but, on a day dedicated to the memory of the dad who died in January, he came as close as he ever has.
Fourth place, after starting third, put a smile on the 34-year-old’s face and he was pretty sure his father John would have enjoyed it too.
“It was almost a great day,” he grinned after so nearly overhauling Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo in a chase to the finish.
“Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn‘t. We definitely gave it our all today. To get a third yesterday and fourth today is far better than what we expected coming into the weekend,” he told reporters.
”He (John) would have loved it. I can see his face now...he would have loved the fight with Fernando (Alonso) and chasing down Daniel. It was the perfect type of race for him, he loved that type of race.
“I think he would have been a very happy man.”
Button had urged fans to wear pink - his father always wore a pink shirt for luck on race day - with special T-shirts made with all funds raised going to the Henry Surtees foundation set up by former champion John Surtees in memory of his late son.
The McLaren driver also wore a pink helmet and proudly sported a pink woven wristband given to him by a young girl he had met.
“It was a great weekend and one that I will remember for a very long time,” he said.
The ever-smiling Ricciardo, also hugely popular with the fans, said he felt almost like a villain for keeping the Briton off the podium.
“It did cross my mind a little bit,” he grinned.
“Probably for once I’ve got a lot of people booing me and cheering on the local lad but obviously for me it was good. I think for him as well. They (McLaren) haven’t had a great season so a fourth is – yeah, it’s not a podium, but he’d still be fairly pleased with that result. So hopefully we’re all happy.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Keith Weir