Jenson Button Q&A: Id love a good result at this milestone race 29 Jul 2011
Ferraris Fernando Alonso may be celebrating his 30th birthday in Hungary on Friday, but this weekend McLarens Jenson Button will mark a far more substantial milestone - his 200th Grand Prix start. Back in 2006 Button clinched his first-ever Formula One victory at the Hungaroring, and after a trio of difficult races, the Briton is hoping to bounce back in Budapest
Q: Hungary has always been a special place for you. You won your first race here in 2006 and this weekend it will be your 200th Grand Prix
Jenson Button: Yes, Hungary will always have a special place in my memory. The first win probably is always the hardest. And 200 races - that definitely sounds like a milestone! Its probably a good moment to look back at the good, the bad and the ugly. And after looking at photos from the beginning I must say that I havent changed that much. I still cant grow a proper beard - its still basically just stubble. (laughs) I do like to race on this track - especially in mixed conditions - and we will probably see them this weekend and I predict a very, very close race. From what weve seen today there are three teams who will be able to grab the win so six drivers will fight like hell to get the top spot, and then have some days of relaxation when Formula One sails off for the summer break.
Q: So what will be crucial for a good result?
JB: Qualifying has been always very important here - today probably not so much as some years ago, but still whoever is in front will very likely stay in front.
Q: When you look back at the last couple of races, are you frustrated?
JB: Yes, it is frustrating. The Nurburgring event was especially frustrating because I had a tough start to the race but then it became exciting with a lot of good passes. I was chasing Sebastian (Vettel) and Felipe (Massa) and then we had a failure. Silverstone was frustrating as well. It was looking good, the pace was good, and then I had a failure. The same goes for Valencia where much more would have been possible if I hadnt lost KERS at one point in the race. Hopefully this will all change this weekend, as this track has brought me luck. I definitely hope to have a good race for my 200th Grand Prix.
Q: How long does it take you to forget a bad weekend like you had in Germany?
JB: You can see me smiling so I obviously must have forgotten last weekend! Something like that never stays with you long. There is absolutely no negativity within me. I love racing too much to have any distracting emotions.
Q: How important is it to have good result before the summer break?
JB: Sure, I would want to have a good result, but its obviously more because of the number 200 than because of the summer break. We definitely want to bring home both cars in good positions - hopefully on the podium. To be honest, ever since I won in Canada its not been so great for me, so I definitely hope that is behind me now.
Q: What is your target for the championship now?
JB: You could say that at the last three or four races we havent been thinking of the championship. Weve just been doing our best to constantly keep improving. That is the only recipe we can follow right now because we cant do anything about the Red Bulls in terms of slowing them down. So development is key at the moment.
Q: You have won a championship before so do you believe you are still in the running this year?
JB: It will be very difficult for me this year. Sebastian has twice the points that I do and I only scored eight points in the last two races. You cant do that anymore when you want to win the title, as everybody has become very reliable. It is tough, but of course Im going into every race thinking that I still can.
Q: It looked like you had a trouble-free Friday - are you back in business?
JB: It was a trouble-free day and I carried out some good runs and some good set-up work. I didnt have my wing level 100 percent right, but taking that into consideration it felt reasonably good. We are definitely in a position to hunt and I am definitely happy about the direction the car is going, both on low and high fuel. In low-speed situations we seem to be very quick - I was quickest in the first sector and Lewis was quickest in the last sector, so if you put all that together we are looking pretty good. But we all know that the weekend really starts tomorrow and I would definitely love to qualify well.
Q: So do you think that the car is good enough to win here?
JB: Definitely, but so is the Red Bull and Ferrari. I think the situation - having six guys eligible to win - is incredible for Formula One and the millions of fans. I just wish we could have a bit more of an advantage!
Q: Many times in the past it has looked like you hold an advantage in mixed conditions
JB: Not really. And if I did have one I wouldnt tell! (laughs)
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