Jenson Button Q&A: Melbournes a good place for me 29 Mar 2010
In 2009 Jenson Button took his first win of the season in Australia en route to the title. On Sunday he took the first win of his title defence in the same place - surely a good omen. After qualifying fourth, Button had predicted the real strength of the McLaren would be race pace - and he was right. After victory in only his second outing for his new team, can it get any better for the Briton? Button certainly thinks so
Q: Jenson, your second race for McLaren and the first win - not too bad at all
Jenson Button: No, not at all! Its been a great weekend for me. From the first lap I felt very good in the car and weve made some very good improvements to the car in terms of balance - and qualifying was good. We werent at the pace of the top guys - weve been some five to six-tenths off - but we knew that our race pace was better and with these tricky conditions we made some very good calls - and that brought us the victory. You can say that maybe weve been lucky in some ways, but I just think we made the right calls - and that is so important these days. Its not just about the speed, its about making the right calls, being consistent and conserving the car.
Q: It was a brave move when you came in on lap six. What was going through your mind?
JB: It was a necessary move because I didnt have any balance at all so I was really, really struggling for grip on the inters. The rear tyres for some reasons werent working for me - I had the car set up wrong I think and the tyres were gone in two laps and I thought that if the rears get destroyed that quickly it must be time for dries. So I pitted, drove down the pit lane and it was soaking wet, so I thought it was a massive mistake on my part. We changed the tyres which took a bit longer, I went out and just thought: Oh, no here we go. My off probably warned others not to follow, but guess what - I got grip very quickly and then I really felt good in the car. I have to give a massive thanks to the team - theyve done a brilliant job. It is amazing not only to be on the podium but to have the top spot after only two races.
Q: The decision to come in as the first for slick tyres - was this your own decision?
JB: Yes. I was helped in a way from two areas. One was from the team giving me feedback, but also my inters helped to make this decision because they simply didnt work for me and I was losing places.
Q: The start was a bit like a pinball game. Can you say how that scenario was from your perspective?
JB: Last year it was even worse. It seems to be the case with these circuits. Turn One is a tough one. I was pulling up alongside Fernando (Alonso) and Michael (Schumacher) was on the outside and we all touched. In my opinion I didnt expect Fernando to turn in when he did. I thought he would give me a little room, but probably he couldnt because Michael was on the outside. Its the way it is here. If someone gets a bad start - like Fernando did - it always turns out in mayhem in Turn One. I am sorry for Fernando, but it also cost me some places.
Q: Do you believe in omens? One year ago everything started for you here in Melbourne?
JB: Yes, it did. But this is a slightly different situation. Now we have to get the points even if we think we arent quick enough. These are really important points for us. Now we have to get our heads down and keep improving as weve done between Bahrain and Australia and hopefully turn up in Malaysia with a slightly better car and get close to this performance again. But yes, obviously Melbourne is a good place for me.
Q: At what point in the race did you really think, Wow this could be my day?
JB: You never really know until the last lap. I think if everyone is on a same strategy then you get a feel for it, but Robert (Kubica) was kind of helping me in a way and when some of the guys were pitting towards the end for new tyres and came out again stupidly quick - which you should be when you have new tyres, two or three seconds - I had to keep up the gap between Robert and me, just in case someone wanted to hunt me down. In fact I really became aware of it when I crossed the finish line. This is an amazing victory for the whole team.
Q: So how is the feeling for you right now?
JB: I want to go and spend time with the team. I am very, very happy. This was a very special day for me. But still we are very hungry for victories and with some improvements this is going to continue.