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Jenson Button Q&A: I'm hoping for a dry race

23 Aug 2014

Given his pace over the weekend, McLaren’s Jenson Button might feel a little disappointed to be lining up only tenth on the grid in Belgium. But as the 2009 world champion explained to reporters on Saturday evening, if the weather stays dry on race day, he has every chance of moving up the order…

Q: Jenson, could you describe how qualifying went for you today, and is your tenth position where you had hoped to start the race tomorrow?

Jenson Button: Everything went quite well up until the last run where I had a new set of tyres in the then dry conditions. Unfortunately I locked up at the top of the hill, and as soon as it locks then that’s pretty much it for that run. I tried to continue this time, but I was already one and a half seconds down and you will never get that back. So overall I really did not get a proper lap in Q3. On the old tyres in Q1 and Q2 it was all fine, but then I struggled to get the fronts working. I have to say that the cars right in front of me are pretty quick as well, looking at the Williamses and also the Ferraris, who seem to be fast.

Q: For tomorrows race what would suit you and your car?

JB: I would prefer if it stays dry, as then I could see what I could get out of the tenth position. If it is a wet race, then we’ve seen in the past that it is always a big mess here, especially after Eau Rouge in the first few laps. In dry conditions I think we could put on a better show. On the track itself we have to fight with massive oversteer and in Eau Rouge with massive understeer. Also everyone is running with very low downforce and that makes it difficult to get the tyres working. The circuit itself is great to drive - it’s a circuit where you can sort of stretch the legs of the car. In fact it doesn’t really matter what you drive here: for sure it will be amazing.

Q: How was your summer break and did you get the chance to recharge your batteries?

JB: At the beginning I did a 70.3 ironman [triathlon], which was really challenging, and I was really happy to finish second in my age group, only beaten by one of my best friends from school who invited me to that event. So that was a great way to keep fit. After that my recovery started, as I spent some time in Ibiza to relax.

Q: Toro Rosso has just this week announced that 16-year-old Max Verstappen will be in their driver line-up next year. What do you think about that decision?

JB: I don’t know Max personally and I also don’t know their situation, so it would be unfair for me to comment. I can only think back when I was seventeen, and for sure I was not ready, I was not even ready when I started in Formula One and that was when I was twenty. But to be fair people are different, and they are ready at different times in their career. So in general I think people are getting younger in sports, as the times are changing.

Q: We have heard both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton say that current Formula One is too easy compared to the past. What is your point of view on this?

JB: This has two sides of the story, as I think technically it is not that easy, as the cars are very complex and advanced. For example, I think that if your radio was going to fail during the race, you would probably not be able to see the chequered flag, as the team has to tell you many times to use various switches. Also the cars are not easy to drive with the amount of torque in combination with the low grip and low downforce, and it makes it almost frustrating at times. Physically the cars are very easy, yes. It is not a limit to your fitness in high-speed corners and it is also not a limit of how big you are.

Q: So what does the race have in store for you tomorrow?

JB: I want to have a good race - and as it’s a track where you can overtake we should be in a better position in the race than in qualifying. Probably we can jump one place ahead in the constructors’ [championship]. One point should be feasible.