Jenson Button Q&A: We hope to give British fans reason to cheer 01 Jul 2010
Although he finished behind his team mate - and standings leader - Lewis Hamilton, McLarens 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 hell race for the first time on home soil as world champion and, as he explained to his official website, he cant wait
Q: Your third podium finish in a row - I guess you werent necessarily expecting that from seventh on the grid?
Jenson Button: In this sport, you never know. So while I knew it wasnt going to be easy, I never doubted that we could have a good race. And thats 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, theyd already told me over the radio that if there was a safety car then Id 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 thats what made my race.
Q: You rejoined behind BMW Saubers 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 Kamuis 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 wasnt 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 hed 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 wasnt too damaging being stuck behind Kobayashi because I knew Id 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: Were almost halfway through the season - and it never seems to stop. Youve got the British Grand Prix in a fortnight and the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. How do you feel about both events?
JB: Im really looking forward to Goodwood. For this year, Im going to be driving two famous McLarens - Lewiss championship-winning MP4-23 from 2008. Its funny, even though its 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 Im most looking forward to driving is Alain Prosts 1986 car - the MP4/2C. Ive already had a seat-fitting, and its just a different world - when Im sat in the cockpit, theres 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. Its 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 weve been knocked out of the football. Last year, I had the pleasure of heading into Silverstone as the championship leader, and Ive 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. Its 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. Theres always a unique atmosphere there, and Im really looking forward to it.