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Jenson Button Q&A: Title destiny is in my hands 10 Sep 2009

(L to R): Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Grand Prix with Andrew Shovlin (GBR) Brawn GP Race Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 10 September 2009 Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Grand Prix BGP 001.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 29 August 2009 Damaged Brawn Grand Prix BGP 001 of Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Grand Prix.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 30 August 2009 Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Grand Prix.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 27 August 2009 Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Grand Prix BGP 001.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 28 August 2009

Does he look stressed? No. Brawn GP’s Jenson Button comes across as a relaxed, down-to earth ‘boy from next door’ who - by some strange twist of fate - finds himself leading this year’s championship, with just five rounds to go. Will he be able to keep up the momentum? And will his current 16-point advantage prove enough? One thing he does know - his destiny is in his own hands and not those of his rivals…

Q: Jenson, some people have argued that any problems you’ve had in the recent past where only in your head. What do you say about that?
Jenson Button:
I have not read anything about it. It’s rather the people who tell you.

Q: And of course you will not admit that you are under pressure…
JB:
No, I’m in good shape.

Q: You have won six out of 12 races, which in the past would have easily won you the championship. Now you still have to fight hard to make it happen…
JB:
Exactly. If you look at it like that, it is great, and I have a 16-point lead, which is a good position to be in as the championship is coming to a close. There are five races still left and it is more about looking forward to every single race.

Q: A medal system in place this season would have solved your problem…
JB:
Yeah, it would be a nice idea, wouldn’t it? But that’s not the case and it’s this way and this way it’s been for decades, so this way it should be.

Q: Fernando Alonso has said that when he won his two championships by this stage of the season the title was constantly in his mind. Do you find that at the moment that you are looking at the points table, as well as looking at the races ahead?
JB:
Well, I was but I’m not so much thinking of it any more. I’ve been thinking about this race and to get in the car is the best possible decision I can make and spend a lot of time with my engineers to talk about how to set-up the car.

Q: So what you have done to switch off mentally?
JB:
Not really much. It’s just experience of being in such a situation.

Q: Earlier in the season the car looked really good over kerbs. Should that help here - as this is a very ‘kerby’ track?
JB:
It should be nice on kerbs. It does ride kerbs well - and there are a lot of low-speed corners here. The highest-speed corner realistically is a third-gear corner. That's good for us. They've put these big kerbs here now - it's very like Barcelona, very like the Nurburgring - so you can't ride on them now, which is a bit of a pain. Both chicanes have big mountains of concrete, so it changes the style of driving around here a little bit. Maybe it's not that important to have a car that rides kerbs that well. Our strong points are riding kerbs, but also mechanical grip and downforce at low speed.

Q: A little earlier you said that experience is helping you. But you've never been in this position before…
JB:
No, but I've been in this position for months now.

Q: What’s your opinion on the Renault issue?
JB:
I think I'll save my comments until there is fact.

Q: But can you imagine a driver crashing deliberately?
JB:
No, I can’t. But I don't want to comment on the situation because we don't know if that is the case or not. We'll find out in a few days.

Q: Let’s get back to the championship: there are four guys in the running for the title with you in the best position. Who do you think is your biggest opponent, and why?
JB:
It seems to be someone different every weekend, which is a good thing. All kinds of people are taking points from each other. Rubens (Barrichello) has been doing a good job, but he's been doing a good job all season. The last two races, he's done better than I did.

Q: But that could be decided internally…
JB:
No, that won't happen. It's not like certain teams in the past. But Rubens is a hard competitor. I know exactly what his equipment is - it's the same as mine. The Red Bull is a car that works on different types of circuits. It should work okay here, but the circuit where they should be strongest is in Japan, at Suzuka. But I'm sure they will be working on improving the car for slow speed corners. I'm sure we'll see them competitive.

Q: That’s the talk about cars, but what about drivers? Who is breathing down your neck?
JB:
I don't know, it's difficult. Within Red Bull, they've both been quick at different circuits. I suppose that's always going to be the way when you've got two very competitive drivers. Vettel you'd say has had the upper hand in qualifying at most races, not all of them. But in the races you'd say that Mark (Webber) is always strong. If he stays out of trouble, which obviously he didn't do at Spa, he's going to be very strong in the races. It's difficult to know between them.

Q: So there is not one who you have singled out in your head?
JB:
No, it's both of them - and also Rubens. But it is not about me controlling them. It's about me doing the best job I can. Instead of looking back, I’m looking forward.

Q: Could the lack of KERS hold you back here?
JB:
KERS could be very important here. The McLarens and Ferraris, I think they'll be very strong. Renault I'm not so sure, as they haven't run KERS for some time. It's going to change the balance of their car quite a bit here, so I'm not sure if it will really help them except for the start. It's better with KERS here for sure, but we'll do the best we can without KERS. It's been a problem for many races. At least our main competitor in the championship doesn't have KERS, and that's the real important thing for us.