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Jenson Button Q&A: Hot weather in Hungary a good thing 26 Jul 2013

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Hungaroring, Hungary. Thursday, 25 July 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 26 July 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 26 July 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28 and Pirelli tyre marbles.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 26 July 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 26 July 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 26 July 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 26 July 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 26 July 2013

The first half of the 2013 season has been an enormously frustrating one for Jenson Button and McLaren. Instead of challenging for the title as expected, they've found themselves without so much as a podium finish to their names. But the Woking-based team's form has shown a marked improvement over the last few races and Button was looking in positive shape in practice at Budapest on Friday, finishing sixth and ninth in the day's two practice sessions. Afterwards he spoke about his prospects for Sunday's race, the first half of the season and beyond...

Q: Jenson, it looks like it will be a hot race on Sunday. How much of a concern is that for you?
Jenson Button:
Actually no concern at all - it’s going to be a good thing. And it’s going to be a tough race. I don’t know what the car is going to do, but that is what we are doing with the fitness training so that we don’t struggle throughout the race. With the tyres my guess is that the heat makes it a bit more difficult to understand what to do - but that goes for everybody so my personal preference is: it’s good that it’s hot.

Q: What do you read from today’s times?
JB:
Well, I had the feeling that everything we’ve tried didn’t work too badly, but that there is still a gap of nine tenths to the frontrunners. But if the car feels good there is no reason why we shouldn’t do reasonably well in the race.

Q: We are at the halfway point of the season - what feelings are you taking into the summer break to chew on?
JB:
I will tell you after the race! (laughs)

Q: But it was half of the season without a McLaren driver on the podium. That must be unacceptable to the team…
JB:
Yes, it is. We know that - but it is also not that easy just to say 'yes, we’re going to be there' as it is a competitive field. You make a mistake over the winter and you are six months behind everybody else. It is not like, let's say, twenty years ago where you had two, maximum three teams fighting for podiums - now you have many, and right now we are not one of these teams. But we will recover - McLaren always has.

Q: So when will we see a McLaren driver on the podium again?
JB:
My gut feeling tells me Spa - right after the summer break.

Q: So you do have the feeling that you have gained ground in the last couple of races?
JB:
Yes, I think we did, especially in the races. We were fighting for fifth and sixth in the last race, so that's promising - and my guess is that it is going to be a bit better here and, as I just said, Spa should mean another significant step forward.

Q: You won your first ever Grand Prix in Hungary in 2006 so this place still must be dear to you, even if times are tough right now…
JB:
Of course it is still a special place for me. Your first F1 win is something that you will never forget. I like the layout here - it is very tight and twisty - and with the mid-speed corners it is really fun. Don’t forget I also celebrated my 200th Grand Prix here in 2011 with a win - so this track has something going on with me - or vice versa! (laughs)

Q: As you just described, it’s a tricky circuit. What is the secret to it?
JB:
Under the conditions that we will be facing here on Sunday, the one lap pace - so qualifying pace - will be quite important as it is not easy to overtake and you don’t want to stress your tyres more than necessary. Much will depend on the strategy: whether you do two or three stops - or even more! Degradation is high throughout the year, but here it will be mainly the rear tyres due to the layout of the track.

Q: With half the season gone, what is a realistic goal for you over the second half of the season?
JB:
The most important thing is that we’ve realised that our car is not good enough and that we have to make it better. We have started doing that, and the last race at Nurburgring already saw as on the up again and my guess is that here we should to better again. Spa should suit us as well. But, for sure, being on the up cannot be a target for McLaren - we want to be at the top. Realistically I would say that winning is out of the question this season, but we will be there - that you can take as a sure thing.

Q: What chances do you see for tomorrow's qualifying session? You just said that overtaking is not easy here so grid position is important…
JB:
Well, I finished ninth in the afternoon session (on Friday) but if you look at the cars that are in front of me, all are the ’fast’ cars of this season. So I guess that I'll hopefully stay where I am now!

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