Jenson Button made good on his outstanding end to the 2011 season by ousting McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton from third in the Castrol EDGE Rankings. It is the first time since the Rankings began that Hamilton has finished behind his teammate.
Eight podiums in the final nine races for Button meant that Hamilton's advantage in the Rankings had been coming under increasing threat as the season drew to a close.
That the 2008 World Champion was able to stay ahead in the Rankings despite a growing points deficit owed much to his victory in the penultimate grand prix in Abu Dhabi, and also his superior qualifying record over the season.
It has now been 49 races since Button has qualified on pole, a run which stretches back to Monaco in 2009. In that space of time Hamilton has taken six poles, including at Korea this year when he finally ended Red Bull's lockout of the top spot. In Brazil, however, Hamilton's hopes were undone by gearbox issues during the race, which brought a frustrating and at times controversial campaign to a premature end.
That retirement also handed Button the chance to move ahead in the Rankings, an opportunity he duly seized by finishing third behind the dominant Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
For Webber, his first victory of 2011 helped secure second in the Rankings, and allowed him to finish just a solitary point clear of Fernando Alonso in the fight for third in the championship. Alonso could still have deprived Webber even as the Australian pulled clear at the front, having snatched third with an excellent pass around the outside of Button at Ferradura. He struggled for pace in the final stint however, with Button profiting to retake the position nine laps from the end.
Behind the lead quintet, the weekend's big mover was Sauber's Sergio Perez. 13th in the race was enough to earn a rise of 13 places in the Rankings, pushing the Mexican to 83rd – his highest position since May.
Force India's Paul di Resta also made gains, as a rise of seven places elevated him to 36th, just three spots behind teammate Adrian Sutil.
To see the full Rankings, visit www.castroldriverrankings.com.