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Button forced to retire in final Formula One race

Jenson Button's Formula One career ended in bitter disappointment on Sunday after he was forced to retire from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Button was given a standing ovation by the crowd. Credit: PA

Button, competing in what he described as "probably" his final race as he makes way for Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren next season, lasted only 12 laps before he parked his car.

The 36-year-old Englishman ran heavily over a kerb at the Yas Marina Circuit which damaged his front suspension.

"I don't think we've ever had a failure like this," said Button over the team radio as he limped back to the McLaren garage.

Button was given a standing ovation by the crowd before he stood on top of his McLaren cockpit and applauded them back.

The Englishman removed his crash helmet and his balaclava before hugging his mother, Simone, who brushed away tears, and the rest of his entourage. He then shook hands with his McLaren mechanics.

Button preparing for last race in Formula One

Jenson Button celebrates after winning the World Championship in 2009. Credit: PA

Jenson Button will treat Sunday's final race of the season in Abu Dhabi as his last in Formula One.

The 36-year-old British driver has still not completely ruled out a return in 2018, but it looks increasingly likely that Sunday's race will be his swansong.

"I go into this weekend thinking it's my last race," Button said at the press conference ahead of the race.

"At this moment in time I don't want to be racing in F1 beyond this race."

Button had already announced that he will take up an ambassadorial role for McLaren next year with the British team's highly-rated reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne partnering Fernando Alonso.

McLaren has an option for Button, who has competed in more than 300 grands prix, to return to their race set-up in 2018, but it is one which is largely viewed as an insurance policy should Alonso walk away from the British constructor.

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McLaren intend to keep Button next year

Jenson Button looks set to stay with McLaren. Credit: PA

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says it is the British team's intention to retain Jenson Button next season.

For the second consecutive year Button, the 2009 world champion, faces an uncertain future at McLaren.

Kevin Magnussen, forced sideways are one year following Fernando Alonso's arrival and Stoffel Vandoorne, the runaway leader in Formula One's feeder series GP2, are both reported to be under consideration for his seat.

But Boullier, speaking from Monza, dropped the biggest hint so far that Button could be handed a seventh campaign with McLaren - and the 17th season of his grand prix career.

"As far as we are concerned, at McLaren, we only have two cars, so there will be only two race seats," Boullier said.

"We have two world champions today and we do intend to keep them, so far. Nevertheless it is a luxury problem to have four good drivers.

"Kevin and Stoffel are very good drivers, but if we can't fit or accommodate them at home we will do our best to make sure they can race next year."

Jenson Button fails to make it onto grid in Bahrain

Jenson Button's wretched Bahrain Grand Prix weekend concluded even before the race started.

Button didn't even make it out onto the grid. Credit: Reuters

After incurring issues in both practice sessions on Friday, and again in qualifying on Saturday, Button's car failed to even make it out of the McLaren garage for the race at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Button was scheduled to start 20th and last after an electrical problem brought his qualifying to a halt after just three corners of his opening lap.

Despite his team of mechanics working feverishly to fix the problem, data materialised ahead of the evening event showing an issue still unresolved that could be traced back to the ongoing electrical problems.

With no guarantees the issue would not reoccur, on that basis it was determined the car would not be readied to start the race.

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