Jenson Button Q&A: It's been an incredible start to the season 22 Apr 2010
Although some doubted his move to McLaren, reigning world champion Jenson Button has proved the naysayers wrong, clinching two wins and 60 points from the opening four races. In an interview on his official website, Button reflected on his progress so far...
Q: Four races, two wins, 60 points. Not bad!
Jenson Button: It has been an absolutely incredible start to the season. Just...incredible. To say I'm satisfied would be a massive understatement - I am absolutely blown away by all the events of the last five weeks, and to be on top in the world championship is just an amazing place to be. And it feels so good. But, make no mistake, it's been achieved through hard work. We got here because every one in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has been working for this every single day. I first got in the car in February, and it really hasnt stopped since then - whether its been at the tests, at the races, on the track or off it, we've all been working like crazy to get to the front - and I think our current position in both championships is well and truly deserved. We've not got everything right - but the fact that we've admitted that, and just got on and learned from it, has been a very valuable experience. And were not relaxing now - we might have some difficulties getting the people, the cars and the freight home before Barcelona, but that wont stop the efforts were making to be even more competitive when we return to Europe.
Q: Can you pick a personal highlight from the year so far?
JB: Well, the two wins have been fantastic, obviously. But sometimes its the smaller things that really stick with you. I remember going to the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) back in January to start the job for the first time, and that moment of getting to know people, and seeing how friendly and enthusiastic and fired-up everybody was - that was a really good moment. It's been about getting to know the team and of not actually needing to fit in, but finding a natural fit through the help of everybody here. That's been incredibly rewarding. Other moments; perhaps the final test in Barcelona, where we fitted the new parts and realised we had a pretty decent car, and one that I could really enjoy driving - particularly through high-speed corners. And taking the chequered flag in Melbourne. Still a pretty unbelievable feeling.
Q: After Malaysia, you went back to MTC to work on the car's set-up direction - do you think that had an impact on the result in China?
JB: It did, yeah. We still had to sort of explore quite a bit in practice in China, and we only really got a good handle on the car by the time we got into Q3 on Saturday. But I think its more about the knowledge that we gain; each time we run the car we learn something new, and were able to apply that extra knowledge to each lap that we do. Ive said it before, this is still a learning process for me, and, hopefully, I can improve all the time. Whats most important is that we didnt really make any mistakes in China - we didnt really drop the ball. And I know from experience that its the way you protect yourself from problems over a race weekend that will help you in the championship. You can have a great race one weekend, but if you follow it up with a bad qualifying lap and a bad race, then youre wasting points. We need to look at this championship, make sure that we learn from every lap and try to make fewer mistakes than the rest.
Q: Finally, have you been affected by the travel disruption?
JB: Not at the moment, no. Jess (Michibata) and I had already made plans for a few days' holiday before we knew of the travel disruption. Of course, it's something that I've been following, because I know its affected a lot of people in the team, and I'm wishing them all well in their efforts to get home, because I know its not been easy. But I know that no problem is too big for our team and that well get home eventually. Actually, the one thing that its made us think about is the distance we travel: usually, at a Grand Prix you don't feel too far from home because you know you can always jump on a flight anywhere in the world and get home. When that's taken away from you, it does make you realise just how much land there is between you and home. It gives you quite a different perspective than normal - which is quite interesting. I hope everyone manages to make it home soon.