(Reuters) - What started out as one of Jenson Button’s worst day as a driver turned into his best as the Briton mounted one of Formula One’s great charges to steal victory from Sebastian Vettel at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
A gloomy, rainy day took a more miserable turn for McLaren when Button squeezed team mate Lewis Hamilton into the wall and out of the race after just eight laps.
A run-in with Ferrari’s Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso, six visits to the pit lane -- five regular stops and one drive-through penalty -- added to a disastrous afternoon for the 31-year-old Briton before launching into what will be go down as one of the sport’s most dramatic comebacks.
Slashing his way through the field after being left at the back of the pack, Button stalked Vettel over the closing laps finally pressuring the German into an uncharacteristic mistake and pouncing when his rival’s Red Bull skidded wide.
“Eventually on the last lap I was chasing down Seb, he ran little wide on the wet part of the circuit and I was able to take the opportunity and take the win,” a beaming Button told reporters.
“It was one of those grand prix where you are nowhere and then you are somewhere, then you’re nowhere again and then somewhere.
“Fighting your way through the field is almost as good as winning a race.
“As we always say, the last lap is the important one to be leading and I was leading half of it.”
Button was quick to classify his 10th career win and first in North America as his greatest and few of those who sat through an afternoon of torrential rain that included a two hour race delay would disagree.
“Amazing day, I don’t know what to say,” said Button.
“It’s definitely my best race ... I’ll remember this for a long time.
“To be on the podium is was a pretty exceptional result.
“The most action I’ve had in a Grand Prix, probably, and come away with a win.
“My first Grand Prix win was pretty special as it always would be ... but I would say this race is the best one I’ve had in my career.”
When McLaren arrived in Canada their hopes for victory rested on Hamilton, who had started on pole every race in Montreal winning twice.
But the only thing Hamilton came away with from Montreal this year was a consolation hug from pop star Rihanna and an apology from his team mate.
“The incident with Lewis, I couldn’t see anything when he was alongside me,” said Button.
“I couldn’t see anything in my mirrors.
“It was one of those things and I apologised to him.
“I’ve spoken to Lewis and we both agree it was just one of those things.
“There were incidents you don’t like to see but sometimes they just happen.”