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Jenson Button Q&A: My goal is always to win 11 Sep 2010

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 11 September 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 10 September 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 11 September 2010 Qualifying parc ferme (L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari, third; Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, pole position; Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren, second.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 11 September 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 10 September 2010

In Monza on Saturday, the reigning world champion Jenson Button scored his first front-row grid slot of the season and moved nearer to regaining his footing in the title race. Unlike his McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton - and almost everybody else on the grid - Button chose to keep the F-duct on his car, but his brave gamble paid off. Now all he needs to do is make it past the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso…

Q: Jenson, you must be delighted with your Monza weekend so far…
Jenson Button:
Well, yes, I have had a good car all weekend. I didn’t have to make any major changes after Friday, when we were trying different levels of downforce. It was basically about data gathering to get it right for qualifying. The task was to find out what works at this track and in this climate. Unlike Lewis I kept the F-duct and more downforce and I have to say I was very happy about that decision, as it has shown that we are competitive with high and low downforce and that gave me a good feeling for qualifying. As it worked so well this afternoon, and given the fact that the car tends to be even stronger in the race, I am pretty confident even if I’m running more downforce than the others, which makes it quite tricky on the first couple of laps. I am really looking forward to the race as I very much enjoy driving the car here.

Q: So what were the issues that you had to solve for the race? You have said that it didn’t go so well for you on the option tyres. Have you been able to eliminate that problem?
JB:
It’s true that I was not completely happy with how the soft tyres worked and I have been convinced all weekend that there is still time to find and that this was the area we had to concentrate on because everything else is just decision-making. So we have changed the car accordingly and it was much better today - it got me P2 on the grid. But generally speaking there was always the feeling that we would be very competitive here, as we have two chances for the race with two different setups.

Q: Why are you and your team mate running different setups?
JB:
I think the team is very open to the decisions we take - and that is the way it should be. We are allowed to do what we feel is right. For sure this isn’t solely the driver’s decision, as we have gone through the issues with the engineers. We have to take into account that the circuit gets more grip as the weekend progresses and that will also have an influence on the race, as you are then confronted with different circumstances in terms of the balance of the car.

Q: You were just one tenth behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. It must be satisfying to be on the front row, as you have struggled a little in qualifying this season…
JB:
I would say that I have had six or seven good qualifying sessions this year and the other half I haven’t quite been there, so I am happy to be on the front row. It’s my first front row of the season! I had a good lap, driving a good car. The team has done a great job for me this weekend, bringing two packages that are very different in terms of efficiency and downforce but which have been able to produce almost the same lap times all through the weekend.

Q: You just said that the first few laps will be crucial. How will you approach that start?
JB:
First of all I just can’t wait for the race. I wish we could do it right after qualifying - I’m pretty excited about it. I know that I haven’t got the speed on the straights, so I have to be very careful. I know that my performance in the race will be good with this downforce level but if you are stuck behind a car that is fast on the straights you can never overtake, so the strategy will be important. When you are on the front row you are going to look for a victory. We always like to talk it down - say that we would like to be on the podium - but obviously a victory has to be the aim. Sure a podium would be nice, also.

Q: So you are aiming to take the lead on your first stint?
JB:
Sure you have to aim for that. My goal clearly is to win the race. It is either to get ahead of Fernando at the start or have a good strategy for the race. And we have the best in the world when it comes to strategy, so I am looking ahead to the race’s challenges knowing that they will make the right calls.

Q: What would be the argument for running the car without the F-duct at Monza?
JB:
The sole question is whether you get any benefit from running it on a low-downforce wing.

Q: You’ve a bit of ground to make up in the championship this weekend after how it went in Spa. Do you have a different approach?
JB:
I am happy at the moment and waiting to get out there for the race. I always go into a race with the aim to win.

Q: So would you say that you have to win here if you are to stay in the title race?
JB:
Sure this race is very important - and of course a win is the aim.

Q: Very recently the World Motor Sport Council decided on the Ferrari team order issue. What is your opinion?
JB:
My opinion on that is a pointless opinion, but personally I think that this is not the way Formula One should go. But it is not down to me. I think Formula One will not be the same as what it is now. We see some great racing at the moment - between team mates - and it is great to have 24 guys fighting out there - and not twelve. I love it the way it is.

Q: Have you ever demanded a Number One status in any team?
JB:
No, definitely not!

Q: Has a team mate ever demanded it?
JB:
I don’t know if anybody ever demanded it - all I know is that they haven’t got it. Even in the early stages of my career, when I had Jacques Villeneuve as my team mate, we both had equal status.

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