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Jenson Button Q&A: Lost track time not a concern 08 Jun 2012

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012

Mechanical problems cost McLaren’s Jenson Button serious track time on Friday. But when he did get going he was quickly on the pace. And with team mate Lewis Hamilton leading both sessions, Button believes he is still firmly in the hunt for victory in Montreal this weekend - especially after his last-lap triumph in Canada last year…

Q: How is the mood within McLaren this weekend prior to the Canadian Grand Prix?
Jenson Button:
We have a racing weekend, and always before the Grand Prix it is great. (laughs) You get excited about the new challenge, and we are in a good mood about the place. Probably as many other teams, we think that if we get our things together we can have a great weekend. One thing is for sure; we will not be able to win every Grand Prix from here on till the end of the season, as this is simply not how this season is working. For us it is important to constantly get double-digit points. For me the last few races were more like stop and start again, as I had two non-finishes and two points only in Barcelona. For me it has been a pretty bad stretch in terms of gaining points, and I need to turn this fact around. So I am very positive to be able to do exactly this, and I have some great memories about Montreal.

Q: So how does the lack of mileage today change the outlook for the weekend for you?
JB:
Of course it hurts, as you cannot do any high-fuel running - and you can’t do any set-up work when you change the gearbox. We have to see where the car is now in FP3. But luckily we did collect some data in the Friday running that will help us for qualifying. So I believe that we can still have a good weekend, that things definitely look positive. The car is quick - Lewis did a good job today and was really fast - so I am not worried at all.

Q: Does that mean that you will probably sacrifice qualifying and concentrate fully on race pace tomorrow - as this is a track were you can overtake?
JB:
No, definitely not. For me it is more important to run low fuel and get a feeling for the tyres. True, Friday was not perfect, but we’ve done worse and still have been able to change course. (laughs)

Q: Looking ahead at the next few races, what is your personal goal for Valencia and Silverstone?
JB:
I have to try and achieve some big amounts of points not only here but at the next few races. I’m quite a bit away from the leader, although the gap is not massive. There are about 150 points up for grabs, and I think the leader has roundabout 80 points. Doing well at the next few races, I could be right back in the mix. In Silverstone I would love to do well, being my home Grand Prix, and the car used to work pretty well there. And about Valencia, we’ll have to see.

Q: Last year you had a big success here in Canada. What is it that needs to be addressed this year?
JB:
We think that it is going to be a lot drier this year than last year. There are still a lot of challenges here even when it’s dry. The tyres grain a lot around this circuit and you have a lot of rubber flying off the tyres. It is a tough circuit and really difficult to find the right balance, and there is a lot less downforce than at other circuits. Also it is the first time that we run on low downforce this season. As well it is a street circuit, so it is quite bumpy. Also looking at the corners, most of them are low-speed corners. Viewed from a distance, one would say that it is similar to Melbourne, but the set-up of the car is very different here than in Australia.

Q: There is the expression of the so-called ‘sweet spot’ that a driver needs to find. Please explain to us what it is and how you get there?
JB:
We work very hard to get to the sweet spot and this is when you feel that the balance is just right. It is the right amount of understeer and the right amount of oversteer. Then you feel that the tyres suddenly turn on and they work. Especially this year it is very hard to find the spot where the tyres turn on, but when you do find that spot, suddenly the car comes alive and then you see these cars shoot up the timesheets and shoot up the results table in the race.

Q: What situations are the ones that you most remember from last year’s race?
JB:
Clearly winning, but also when I was chasing down Sebastian (Vettel) and the team informed me that I was two and a half seconds quicker than the car in front. That was pretty exciting. Then I pushed him into making a mistake, as one of his wheels got into the wet and he had to run wide and I was able to make my move. That was a very special feeling from the point of view of a racing driver.

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