Q&A with McLarens Jenson Button 24 Jun 2010
Youre the defending champion, second in the standings and only three points off the lead. Yes, the man in front is team mate Lewis Hamilton, but life still feels pretty good for Jenson Button. As the season hits its midpoint, Button reflects on races gone and dares to gaze on those to come - particularly his home event at Silverstone in two weeks time, when McLaren plan a major upgrade in their bid to stay ahead
Q: Now that we are halfway through the season, could you please sum up your impressions of McLaren?
Jenson Button: Not bad at all. After eight races with the team, being second in the drivers world championship and only three points behind my team mate is not such a bad place to be. It has been a real challenge for me moving teams, but I thought it would be much more difficult to settle in. The team has really welcomed me in, and this is great, so I could start with business straight away. I am looking forward to the rest of the season, as the team is fighting to improve the car. And during the last couple of races we have shown that we are making good progress, and we hope for lot more - especially heading for the British Grand Prix.
Q: What exactly is it that you are looking for in qualifying?
JB: In Montreal I thought I got the most out of the car, but Lewis was just a phenomenon. I couldn't touch him there. He is a bit of a specialist there - he hasn't qualified anywhere but pole position in his three visits to Canada. I am definitely not putting myself under pressure for qualifying. I am very happy with the balance of the car, and it suits my style. So I am very positive to have a good qualifying, as it's quite important to be in the front here, as it is quite difficult to overtake.
Q: How about racing against Lewis and the general standard of Formula One racing at the moment?
JB: We all know that he is a good racer. I am positive, as we had a couple of good battles, in Turkey and some other occasions. And in race trim both of us are very competitive, as we have shown during the last couple of races. The standard of racing is very high at the moment. Everyone said at the beginning of the year that the new regulations won't work, but ever since weve had great races - better than in previous seasons. There has been a lot of overtaking. There are always doubts over why there will or wont be great racing, whether it is the regulations, the tyres or the weather.
But who cares what the reason is, as long as we have great racing. I am sure that we will have more of it, but not all races can be exciting. If all of them were, then what would be exciting then, as it would be the norm. I am happy about how it is, and that we have so many teams to fight in the front - and teams that we haven't seen in the front so far, like Renault who have been on the podium in Monaco.
Q: At the last couple of races it was one-two for McLaren, but with your team mate on the top step. Obviously you want to change that here in Valencia. How are you feeling about the car, the track and some possible upgrades?
JB: Lewis has done a great job, and where he always got me was in qualifying. My race pace was very good, and I was quite happy with this. There were just some little things in qualifying that haven't gone my way. Here it's a great circuit, and both Lewis and I enjoy it very much. It's a quite slow one though, but this suits our car. A lot of long straights, which suits our car, and the F-duct. The only thing is that we don't have any upgrades here, which most of the other teams do. What I have heard is that three other teams have this funny exhaust system, which has been used by Red Bull for the last few races. That is going to give them an advantage compared to the last race in Montreal. Ferrari is definitely going to fight for a victory, as they were very quick in Canada plus they have some upgrades here. So this will be a tough race, which we are looking forward to before going to Silverstone with an upgrade there.
Q: What do you believe makes McLaren stronger than Red Bull at the moment?
JB: For most of the season we have not had a car that was quicker than theirs. I think that the Red Bulls are very strong in qualifying, but in the race we have been as competitive as them a couple of times. On our side the decision making and also the reliability has been very good. Weve only had one non-finish and that was basically it for this season so far, whereas Red Bull have had more issues with their cars.
Also we have a lot of very experienced personnel in the team who have been there for many years. As a team we have done a very good job for the first eight races, and I don't think that theres been any team doing a better job.
Q: England playing against Germany in the World Cup on Sunday - what would be your message regarding this?
JB: It's really a pity that we are playing Germany already this early in the World Cup, but this is really a game that I have been looking forward to. It's not only a competitive game for the players, but also for the fans. Also that last game has been quite challenging for the boys. I really hope that it will not finish on penalties, but that one team wins on goals during the game. I will be watching it as soon as I jump out of the car on Sunday after the race. Hopefully we will not have any safety-car phases, because this would be eating up the match time. I hope it will be a good result for the
English team, so good luck to them.