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Jenson Button Q&A: We hope to give British fans reason to cheer 01 Jul 2010

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 27 June 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 27 June 2010 (L to R): Robert Kubica (POL) Renault R30 and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 27 June 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren on the podium. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 27 June 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010

Although he finished behind his team mate - and standings leader - Lewis Hamilton, McLaren’s Jenson Button was pleased to convert his seventh-place grid slot into a third-place finish in Valencia last weekend, especially as it was his third successive podium. At the forthcoming British Grand Prix he’ll race for the first time on home soil as world champion and, as he explained to his official website, he can’t wait…

Q: Your third podium finish in a row - I guess you weren’t necessarily expecting that from seventh on the grid?
Jenson Button:
In this sport, you never know. So while I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, I never doubted that we could have a good race. And that’s what happened - I got a good start, had a great fight with Robert Kubica for almost the whole of the first lap, we each went around the outside of Mark Webber, and then I was perfectly positioned to make the most of a sudden pit stop when the safety car came out.

Q: What happened then? Was it another rapid call between you and the engineers?
JB:
Yeah, they’d already told me over the radio that if there was a safety car then I’d be coming in. So, as soon as I got the actual message that the safety car was out, I was just coming up to the pit-entry and was able to dive into the pit lane immediately. It was another great call, and that’s what made my race.

Q: You rejoined behind BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, who had yet to pit for tyres -were you keen to get past him, or happy to sit and wait?
JB:
When we were sitting behind the safety car waiting for the restart, I did ask the engineers to tell me Kamui’s top-speed figures, so I could see how difficult it was going to be to get past him. It was probably possible, but his race pace was actually pretty respectable, so, even though it meant I wasn’t in a position to challenge Lewis, I was comfortable sitting behind Kobayashi. And it was actually impossible to get close enough to have a go, because of the dirty air. We knew he’d have to pit again, so we just waited for that. I was definitely playing the long-game there.

Q: And fastest lap right at the end - was that a sign of frustration or just exuberance?
JB:
Definitely the latter. Like I said, it wasn’t too damaging being stuck behind Kobayashi because I knew I’d still pick up a podium finish, but once I got in the clear air, it was just so much fun to put the car through its paces. I was just enjoying myself for the last few laps, to be honest. And fastest lap was just a nice bonus.

Q: We’re almost halfway through the season - and it never seems to stop. You’ve got the British Grand Prix in a fortnight and the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. How do you feel about both events?
JB:
I’m really looking forward to Goodwood. For this year, I’m going to be driving two famous McLarens - Lewis’s championship-winning MP4-23 from 2008. It’s funny, even though it’s only a few years ago, you kind of forget just how many aero parts were on these cars. The ’08 car was the last of that era - and the most successful - and it just looks fantastic, all fins and flicks. It looks mean! But the car I’m most looking forward to driving is Alain Prost’s 1986 car - the MP4/2C. I’ve already had a seat-fitting, and it’s just a different world - when I’m sat in the cockpit, there’s no lateral protection, I can touch the suspension wishbones, I can even touch the floor. Those guys must have been pretty fearless to have raced those things back then. It’s a really cool car. As for Silverstone, yeah, Lewis and me are one-two in the title fight, so hopefully we can give the British fans something to cheer about, particularly as we’ve been knocked out of the football. Last year, I had the pleasure of heading into Silverstone as the championship leader, and I’ve got to say, the attention I received, and just the sheer number of people who were shouting my name, or stopping me for autographs was phenomenal. For 2010, I have the added bonus of going into the Santander British Grand Prix as the reigning world champion - my first race on home soil as champion. It’s going to be a brilliant weekend. Silverstone really is like no other circuit on the calendar - the fans are not only so passionate, but also incredibly dedicated and knowledgeable. There’s always a unique atmosphere there, and I’m really looking forward to it.