Q: Jenson, it was a difficult race for you in Barcelona. How confident are you that it will go better for you here?
Jenson Button: I am very confident that it will not be the same as in Spain. I had some serious issues in the race which was pretty strange as the whole weekend was really positive - but not the race. The test after the race went really well - super smooth with the engine and the car - so I felt it was a real step forward. I am happy with the direction it is taking. I don’t know if we will get points here, but from all I can say the chances have never looked so good. If we really do get points is entirely up to us.
Q: How important was this test? McLaren Honda haven’t really done much mileage so far?
JB: The test was great to have straight after the race as you get the chance to test all the stuff that you would have loved to run on the race weekend but don’t have the time. So it was a really important test. Also testing things for this weekend - even though this is a completely different track. It was more making sure that everything runs smoothly. And it did.
Q: So far you’ve had a season to forget. Are you still sure that everything is going in the right direction?
JB: Absolutely. When I think where we were in February and where we are now - that is a night and day difference. When we are now asking for different things with the engine, they are immediately on it - Honda are - and also the development of the car itself is. Everything takes longer than we want it to. To be honest my test last Wednesday was probably the best day I had this season!
Q: You are a multiple race winner, you have a championship under your belt - and now you are nowhere. Let’s be honest how long can you remain so positive?
JB: As long as I see improvement on the car it is easy to stay positive. That’s why it was a bit hard after the Barcelona race as I had a bit the impression of making a step backwards, but that was a momentary mood as in reality the car is improving all the time as a whole - and Honda is doing a fantastic job. But of course there is a lot more work needed to get anywhere near the front. Having Fernando (Alonso) as team mate is also great as he is a good judge of your speed. So overall it’s not such a bad place to be! (laughs)
Q: This track is different to any other on the calendar. Are you doing anything different in the preparation here that you don’t do anywhere else? Something different in the car?
JB: Ha, you got to make sure that the car turns super around the tight corners so in this respect the steering rack needs some change, the engine mode needs change because of these slow-speed corners, and some people might change their seats. But these are details - nothing massive.
Q: What do you think about the changes that were discussed at the Strategy Group meeting last week? Wider tyres, refuelling, etc…
JB: I have never driven with wider tyres but I do welcome any changes that are exciting. I have heard that they want to make the cars more difficult to drive, but hopefully that goes in the right direction - the cars are difficult to drive, but I think physically we need to be pushed more. Refuelling has some negative sides - it can be unsafe which is why it was banned - but I loved the races that we had some ten odd years ago with refuelling because it meant that you could throw another element into the race. If you had a bad start you could try something different with fuel strategy. Actually I loved refuelling! It is very positive that they come up with these ideas and I can imagine that it’s getting a good reply from the fans.
Q: Lewis Hamilton has signed a three-year contract with Mercedes on a reported salary of £100 million. What do you say about that?
JB: Amazing, if he is. But I never believe numbers that I read in the press because I know what I earn and what I read in the media about what I am earning. But as I said, amazing if he is.
Q: Coming back to this weekend, what’s your best bet?
JB: Obviously scoring our first points. If that is realistic. Why not.