Button hits out at Super GT penalty that cost possible win shot

Jenson Button has hit out at the inconsistent penalty he received during the Fuji 500 Super GT race that prevented him from fighting for a maiden victory

Button hits out at Super GT penalty that cost possible win shot

The 2009 Formula 1 world champion was handed a 10-second stop/go penalty for lapping a GT300 car under yellow flags during his first stint in Sunday's race that dropped him down the order.

Button and team-mate Naoki Yamamoto made up for the lost time by extending each of their next stints, taking advantage of their Honda NSX's superior Bridgestone rubber, and eventually finished fifth, 34 seconds down on the race-winning #36 TOM'S Lexus of Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi.

The 38-year-old's main frustration was the awarding of the stop/go - which cost him the best part of a minute - instead of a drivethrough penalty, like the one he received for the same offence at Suzuka last year.

It is worth noting that the overtake Button was penalised for in 2017 happened under safety car conditions rather than a standalone yellow flag.

"For me the frustrating thing was the penalty, it's so big," said Button.

"A drivethrough penalty, OK. But a 10-second stop/go... the strange thing is I did the same thing at Suzuka last year.

"I overtook under a yellow flag accidentally and I gave the position back, they gave me a penalty which [was a] drivethrough.

"And now we got a stop/go. Why does it change? Why is it not consistent? It's not correct.

"It needs to be consistent. If you overtake under a yellow flag, you get penalised. It doesn't change how you get penalised, it should be the same always.

"We lost 45 seconds to everyone, and we finished 34s behind the [winning] #36 car."

Pressed on whether he thought he could have finished on the podium or won the race, Button replied: "[It was] definitely possible. Who knows. It didn't happen."

With two podiums and only a single non-points finish, Button and Yamamoto sit joint second in the drivers' standings and only seven points behind championship leaders Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa.

With the next two rounds at Sugo and Autopolis expected to favour Honda, Button believes he has a "good chance" of winning the title in his debut season.

"It's always difficult because I feel there are many times we could have scored more points," he said.

"But with the way the championship is with weight restrictions, everyone is very similar with points because one car is fast because it's light.

"Super GT is very difficult - you just have to focus on every weekend, doing maximum attack.

"I still have to learn a lot but now I feel very confident with the car and myself. So Sugo hopefully will be a good race for us and then Autopolis is another good circuit for Honda.

"Motegi may be a little bit more difficult because Nissan is very fast. So we need good points at Sugo and Autopolis and [then] yes, we can fight for the championship."

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