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Button: I won't be Perez's 'older brother' 02 Nov 2012

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 1 November 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 1 November 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 1 November 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 1 November 2012

He says that he is certainly not going to be Sergio Perez’s ‘older brother’, and is unsure what he will learn from the young Mexican when he becomes his team mate at McLaren next year, but Jenson Button was nothing but upbeat in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Obviously it's very difficult to know what he brings to the team, because he's not there yet,” he said. “With Lewis [Hamilton] leaving, obviously the team loses a very fast driver, a guy that's achieved a lot with the team, wins and obviously a world championship - he’s the last guy to win a world championship for the team. It’s a big loss but things change and you learn to move on and adapt. It's definitely not the end of two strong drivers at McLaren. I think Sergio will be fast but I really don't know. He's obviously unknown in a McLaren, because he's not there yet. But it's a great opportunity for Checo and I'm sure he will take it with both hands.”

When the 10-year age gap between himself and Perez was brought up, Button smiled and said: “I don't actually think I'm that old. I was surprised when I was told he was 22 years old. It seems like he's been around for a lot longer than that. But I don't feel like an older brother, no.

“It's important to work closely with your team mate. I think that when he's in the team he will probably learn a lot from someone who is older, with more experience, which is me, but I still think that when you're an older driver you can still learn from a younger team mate, to bring fresh ideas to the table. But as an older brother? No, I definitely don't feel like that. What to learn from him? I don't know yet what it is I’ll learn from him. We'll see.”

Over the years, McLaren’s 2013 team leader has finished third three times at Yas Marina, but admits he’s uncertain how well the track will suit McLaren.

“I really don’t know. I think as you’ve seen in the last few races, Red Bull, the Ferrari and our car have been relatively strong. Maybe Ferrari and us not quite as strong as the Red Bulls but this is a very different type of circuit to India. It’s not front-limited like India was, I think the rear is going to be the limitation. So, we will see. It’s going to be very competitive, I think. And that’s just those three teams: I think you’ll also have a couple of other teams that we’ve seen be strong on occasions, especially the latter part of the season, that we’ll see at the front fighting as well.

“I hear they’ve added some kerbs, so I’m going to head out this evening and check them out. This is a difficult circuit to overtake on but it’s fun to drive and it’s good that they’ve put bigger kerbs in, I think. Last year, if you saw the footage, we were using probably more of the circuit than we should be because there isn’t a limit in terms of a big kerb to stop you from going over the white lines. Now there are bigger kerbs, I think it’s a good thing: it keeps us all on the circuit, keeps us in the right place between the white lines. Now we have to see what the kerb ride is like because obviously it’s different to what it was last year.”

He admitted that the only time he has really spent in Abu Dhabi was for a post-race party. “Apart from that, I've never actually been to Abu Dhabi. I've only stayed at the hotels on the outskirts. I've obviously been to the circuit. The facilities out here are phenomenal, probably the best in the world. I think for the people watching there and the people watching on TV, it looks like a spectacular race. I think everything's done very well here. It's a good Grand Prix, and not a bad Grand Prix for me over the last three years. I like coming here, it's an enjoyable Grand Prix for me but as I said, I haven't really been here much. I've been down the road in Dubai for the last three days.”

As an interested observer, now that he’s out of the world championship fight himself after a largely unlucky season, he gave his view when asked who was more deserving of the title, Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso.

“That's a very difficult one to answer. They have both done a fantastic job this year. You would say that throughout the season, Fernando has been the more consistent. In the last few races, yeah, it's been a great job by Red Bull, but also a great job by Sebastian. He's been given the equipment and he's delivered. You don't win Grands Prix on your own, and you don't win championships on your own, so whoever comes out on top is the driver and team that deserves to win it.”

David Tremayne

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