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Jenson Button Q&A: We are still here for the win 06 Oct 2012

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 5 October 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 6 October 2012 Qualifying results:
Pole position Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing, centre.
2nd Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing, left.
3rd Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren, right.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 6 October 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 6 October 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 6 October 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 5 October 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 6 October 2012

With a late set-up change having left team mate Lewis Hamilton all at sea in Suzuka qualifying, it was down to Jenson Button to uphold McLaren’s honour around the circuit he loves. He did it in style, taking P3 behind the rampant Red Bulls. A shame, then, that a gearbox penalty drops him to eighth. Nevertheless, Button’s message for the race is ‘don’t count me out’…

Q: Jenson, when you do the third-fastest lap and then have to start from P8 due to a gearbox penalty, that’s not funny at such a crucial time of the season. Is there still hope left for a good race result?
Jenson Button:
Sure it is a shame - and yes, there is hope left. (laughs) The penalty is what it is and we have to try our best to overcome that handicap. In my mind I’ve always known that sixth would be my best grid position - now it is eighth and that’s not so bad. And believe me, the aim is still to win this race - or at least be on the podium. It was a good qualifying session as we have improved the car a lot from Friday. When you look at the times, true there are two guys in front, but those behind me are a good deal behind.

Q: How does that translate to tomorrow’s race? There has been a lot of speculation about the tyres and about the possibility to overtake…
JB:
…and they’ve shortened the DRS zone. I don’t know why this is. Overtaking here was never easy and even with the DRS zone of last year it was not easy, so this decision leaves me a bit puzzled. Coming back to my race, starting eighth is not ideal but I am still looking forward as I love racing here. I have started from far worse positions and got good results so the only thing that matters is to know that the car feels good. That can make all the difference because I would say that we are all pretty much up in the air regarding strategies and the way the tyres are working.

Q: Where do you see the biggest challenge tomorrow?
JB:
Well, the two Red Bulls, and I think the two Lotuses are also in front of me - that will be tough. But we are still here for the win.

Q: Is it that comfy feeling that you are the quickest of the rest that makes you so confident? What is the major difference between the Red Bull and the McLaren?
JB:
Ha, they are four-tenths quicker! Why this is so, I don’t know. The Red Bulls have always been quick on tracks like this, but I have to say that we’ve made a big step forward in doing well in high-speed circuits. Remember Spa and here? And I had the feeling that I did an almost perfect lap. But you have to accept the situation. What is a bit unusual is that Red Bull had quite a tough qualifying situation this season - and we’ve done pretty well - so let’s hope that things turn around tomorrow. (laughs)

Q: You are in front of your team mate Lewis Hamilton. Will you help him tomorrow in his shot for the championship?
JB:
I think we all have to look at the number one tomorrow - and that is ourselves! (laughs) We are not exactly in a great position on the grid - eighth and ninth - but I assume that there is still something in it for the both of us if we run on smart strategies. The tyres - the blistering and the degradation - will mix up the field and it is then where you have to be on a smart strategy and it definitely will help to understand the tyres.

Q: So do you understand the tyres?
JB:
I haven’t done any long runs so far, as I tried low downforce yesterday and it felt terrible. But Lewis’ run was very good, so in terms of degradation it looked pretty good on his car. So we hope for something similar in the race.

Q: Coming to a totally different topic, what are your thoughts on your new team mate for 2013, Sergio Perez?
JB:
To be honest I didn’t think so much about it - I was fully concentrating on this weekend. But of course a new team mate is always exciting. We all love the challenge of a new team mate. Obviously he is very young - and very fast. He seems to be intelligent and willing to learn.

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