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Jenson Button Q&A: Opportunism could be key on Sunday

06 Jun 2014

Jenson Button is hardly a stranger to dramatic triumphs in Montreal, having remarkably come from the back of the field to snatch victory on the final lap of the 2011 race.

So while the Briton feels Mercedes - and Lewis Hamilton in particular - are the early favourites, he insists the race is still wide open, and that an ability to react to the unexpected could prove the key to victory on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

Q: Jenson, what do you realistically expect this weekend?

Jenson Button: Well, let's start with the track: it is a circuit where aerodynamics are important - but not as important as some of the races we've been lately - which is an area where we are still a bit weak. Mechanical grip is more important on this track, and the long straights should suit us - we've got the best engine in the car - so I hope we are a little bit more competitive here. But we will know more tomorrow afternoon. My impression from today is that it will be a bit tricky here with the torque that we have on these cars, especially on corner exits, but we've made the best of it. It has to be points on Sunday - how many, who knows! But points are definitely on the cards. My guess is that all the Mercedes-powered cars will be even more competitive here than two weeks ago in Monaco so it will be interesting to see who the best team are after Mercedes.

Q: How do you like driving on this track?

JB: Well, there aren't any fast corners here but it is still a fun circuit with the long straights and a lot of low speed chicanes where a good exit speed is important. We've seen here some pretty cool races in the past - one was a few years ago when some British guy won! The race itself was something like four hours long! (laughs)

Q: Have McLaren brought any changes to Montreal?

JB: Yes, we do have some changes here. We have more for the lower downforce circuits to come, which means that we will have more significant changes for the next two races, but I think we should also do all right here.

Q: You have a Mercedes power unit in the back of your car, but not a Mercedes car. Are you jealous about them winning every single race?

JB: Jealousy is probably not the right word - but yes, we all want to win. We all fight to be the best, but this season Mercedes is doing a better job than anyone else, so it us up to us to keep our heads down and keep improving so that we can challenge them - sooner rather than later!

Q: What will be the secret to success on Sunday - other than having a Mercedes engine?

JB: We have seen in the past that the conditions can be very tricky here. You can have 30 degrees one day and the next day pouring rain - or even both on the same day. One thing is for sure: you have to look after your tyres and be ready when circumstances suddenly change. I have already been here since Saturday, to acclimatise and get the jetlag out of the bones! (laughs)

Q: Can you talk us through both sessions?

JB: Well, the long run in the morning was actually pretty good. I made some changes for the second session and indeed on lower fuel it wasn't too bad - but then on high fuel it wasn't quite as good as expected. The good news: we did a lot of laps with both cars, and a lot of useful tests were accomplished producing lots of data. We now will analyse that to get a clue as to what is best for the rest of the weekend. We also played around a bit with the brakes, so I would say it was a good testing day! It is funny to see that we are pretty close to the times we did here last year with the old cars - but that we are still somewhere in the range of five seconds off the times that we did here ten years ago.

Q: When did it become obvious that it will be another difficult year for McLaren - and did that change your approach?

JB: No, because you still want to win the race. And we have seen many times that being ready to grab an opportunity can be decisive. You have to make the best of what you have - and I think we are pretty good at that. I still enjoy every race, even if I'm just scrapping for minor points. Sure this is not as enjoyable as winning - especially if you have won before, because then nothing else is good enough - but you want to get the best from what you have and I enjoy doing that.

Q: As it stands, change will not come overnight…

JB: No, it doesn't happen overnight. Teams do have bad seasons, bad periods. We are in a tough period at the moment - but there is also a lot changing, so change is on the way!

Q: So what do you expect on Sunday?

JB: That the Mercedes will be at the front - either Lewis or Nico (Rosberg). I have been racing alongside Lewis for many years so I know that he is always very strong here, and also in Abu Dhabi. I don't know why these two tracks stand out - but yes, he will be strong. And the only man standing between him and victory is his team mate Nico. I do think the gap between the Mercedes and the rest could be even bigger here. I also expect that Ferrari and Red Bull will not be as competitive here as they've been at the last races. It will be a mixed up field on Sunday - a fun mix!