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Jenson Button Q&A: Perez deserves to stay at McLaren 31 Oct 2013

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Friday, 25 October 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28 leads Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Saturday, 26 October 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren and Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 25 October 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Friday, 25 October 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 25 October 2013

In what has been a very tough year for McLaren, there were signs of a real improvement in India when the team showed an impressive turn of speed. Ahead of the 2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Jenson Button tells us why he’s optimistic of a good performance this weekend and why his team mate, Sergio Perez, deserves to keep his seat at the team next year…

Q: What challenges will the race in Abu Dhabi bring for you and McLaren?
Jenson Button:
During the last weekend in India the car was working quite well, so there shouldn’t be a reason why it shouldn’t work here as well, as the circuit is also quite smooth with few fast corners and a modern-style layout. Also, the next race in Austin will be comparable to both India and Abu Dhabi. Here it is a bit tricky with the weather, with P1 and P3 being in hot conditions and then qualifying and the race itself are held at twilight when the temperature is cooling down. So all of us have to be careful with this.

Q: Were you surprised that Lotus and Force India were able to do just one pit stop in India?
JB:
It was a bit surprising that they could make their soft tyres last that long, but obviously they knew what they were doing. It did work out for a couple of them, although not really for Kimi (Raikkonen). But for Romain it worked perfectly, coming from 17th on the grid to third on the podium.
We, on the other hand, know that it would not have worked out for us.

Q: Looking back at this season so far, did you have the feeling that somewhere the championship drifted away?
JB:
I don’t think that the championship drifted away, as for me it was never there. Right from the beginning we did not have the pace, although we have developed the car during the year to close the gap to others, except obviously to the Red Bulls. They have a good advantage to everyone on the grid at the moment. With very limited changes from last season to this, with also our aerodynamicists not being able to do a lot, it was quite hard for us to really make a step forward.

Q: It might be that Ross Brawn will only be with Mercedes until the end of this season; you have worked with him and also won a world championship together. What does he mean to Formula One?
JB:
He has achieved a lot, including world championship titles with three different teams - even one named after him. He is a great guy to work with, and when he walked in at Brackley the whole workforce gained a lot of confidence as we were having a difficult time back then. And it was definitely a quite emotional time when we won the championship with the Brawn logos all over the car. So for me it is clear that we will still see a lot of him in the future. For any Formula One team it is beneficial to work with Ross as he is experienced and a very strong character. I am very surprised that they are letting him go at all as for me he is the perfect guy to run a team.

Q: What can you say about your team mate Sergio Perez’s performance in the race in India, and do you think that he deserves another year with McLaren?
JB:
He deserves to be here next year anyway. He is very quick, has good pace and he proved that all weekend in India. For the whole team it was a very promising weekend, even more so for Checo and his future in the team.

Q: What do you think about the race in general here in Abu Dhabi?
JB:
It is very special as we are racing from bright daylight into dusk. For us drivers we maybe would want some more high-speed corners. But the facility itself is amazing, and I think it is very difficult to keep anything that well maintained when it is in the desert and exposed to very dry conditions and sand. It is definitely one of those races that is more glamorous, like the ones in Monaco and Singapore, and we definitely enjoy coming here.

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