Q&A with McLarens Jenson Button 06 Sep 2012
Considered by many to be a championship outsider before the summer break, McLarens Jenson Button jumped back on to the top step of the podium and back into title contention last weekend in Belgium. He reviews his Spa race and considers the possibility of repeating his Belgian victory in Monza on Sunday
Q: Jenson, just when people had started to write you off you bounced back with a win in Belgium. How welcome was your Spa victory?
Jenson Button: Of course it was very welcome! (laughs) Winning is highly addictive so I had been missing it for much too long. The win in Spa was a fantastic reward after that wait.
Q: It was fortunate that you werent involved with the first-lap collision. What do you think about Romain Grosjeans one-race ban?
JB: I dont really know. I think it was not about just this incident. If you are looking just at this incident you would probably say that it was a bit heavy but he has had quite a few first-lap incidents. But I dont really know what missing one race will change for him. Maybe something like that might cause people to back off a little bit but I also think that with experience you might calm down too. In the end I dont think it makes a big difference because when you are on the grid and the lights go out the adrenalin is pumping and you want to get to the first corner first.
Q: Do you talk about these incidents in the drivers briefings? Is it something that you want addressed?
JB: Well, I dont want to point any fingers because we all make silly mistakes and I definitely have in the past. But, yes, there have been a lot of mistakes this year; things that you just wouldnt imagine happening at this level. But it makes exciting pictures for the TV! It seems quite a new thing in Formula One and I don't know why that is. Maybe this is a good thing to show people that it wont be tolerated because we are still racing in a dangerous sport. Obviously it is a lot safer than it was two or three decades ago but it is still a dangerous sport. And it was really close to Fernandos (Alonso) head.
Q: Monza, like Spa, is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar. Do you think you can repeat your Belgian win here?
JB: Well, there is a lot less downforce than at Spa here so we will have to wait and see. I always like to come to Monza even if it is obvious that there is massive support for one particular team. For us it will be crucial to find the right balance with the car, as to fight for a win here would be really great. The last three years Ive raced here I finished second so it would be much appreciated if I could finish one step higher this weekend. But this is a track where in the past the Ferraris and the Red Bulls have done pretty well so lets see.
Q: The Spa incident triggered much discussion about closed cockpits. Do we need them? Do you want to see them introduced?
JB: Well, we might say that it would look ugly but a couple of times in the last two or three years weve seen wheels and parts of cars very close to drivers heads, so I think that we will see something in the future. But we also have to be careful about what we do, as it will take a little while to get it right. Using a closed cockpit is very tricky. There are lots of negatives. Visibility is one of the most difficult things, as is how you get out of the car when its upside down. So it needs a lot of thought. It will take some time.
Q: How upset were you that others might have learnt something from the picture Lewis Hamilton tweeted?
JB: Well, I think it was good to speak about it and not sit back and hope that the issue disappeared. It was a mistake on Lewis part and he has already admitted that it was. Now it is in the past and I had a great weekend anyway so lets move on. Lets do our talking on the track.
Q: There are rumours that Hamilton may be heading for Mercedes. You left Brawn (now Mercedes) to come to McLaren. Do you think it is important for a driver to move to a new team once in a while?
JB: Well back then I was very excited about the challenge of racing for McLaren and also about racing alongside Lewis, who is an extremely quick driver and a world champion. So for me it was a very important move. It was a bit scary and a lot of people thought that it wasnt the right move for me but I think I have proved them wrong. McLaren is a team that pretty much always gives you a car that can win races - and I knew that when I came here. Id say congratulations to the guys at Mercedes for winning a Grand Prix this year but they havent been in contention for a win as often as McLaren has won over the last three years. But I dont know, we all want to make some changes once in a while. But clearly for me the best place to be is McLaren.
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