It’s interesting that at least one member of the Red Bull Racing team didn’t think Jenson Button’s stopping in the wrong pit during the Chinese Grand Prix was an accident.
When Button took his McLaren-Mercedes into the pits for fresh tires for the first time on Sunday, he pulled into the Red Bull pit, which was two or three pits before his own.
It was actually quite comical, with Red Bull mechanics and tire-changes urging him to “move along” because race-leader Sebastien Vettel was coming into the pits directly behind him.
There was no indication that Button’s “error” slowed down Vettel and, in fact, the German driver beat Button out of the pits on the stop.
But Red Bull's left-rear tire-changer, Mark Lenton, was not amused and suggested there was more to it than “brain-fade.”
“I realized they were cheating from the beginning," he said when asked about the incident by the BBC's David Coulthard after the race.
Asked by Coulthard if he was joking, Lenton — who stressed that his view was his alone and not a team opinion — added: “I honestly think they were trying to cheat. I thought it was a very cheeky move to try to slow us down.”
He’s not alone.
I told my wife about what happened later and I said that it was pretty funny.
“How do you know he didn’t do it on purpose?” she said immediately.
I didn’t know then — and don’t know now.
But the more I think about it, there could be suspicion.
Button is a master tactician. He’s a “thinking” racing driver. He’s won Grands Prix because of his quick-thinking — suddenly stopping for wet (or dry) tires ahead of everybody else, for instance, and then going on to win.
So who knows? Maybe he just decided to throw a little of the mickey into the Red Bull boys. To throw them off their game a little.
Wouldn't put it past him.