Q&A with Jenson Button
After his win at the Australian Grand Prix
Courtesy of Jenson Button official website : www.jensonbutton.com
What an incredible victory in Melbourne, and what a way to start your season!
"I certainly didn’t expect us to win in Australia. I think we came to this race expecting a closer fight with the guys at the front, but, right through practice and qualifying, the car just felt good beneath me. Fourth in qualifying was the best I could get from the car, and then, obviously, the race was fantastic. I’m extremely proud of the job the whole team did this weekend, and that gives me a very good feeling for the season ahead."
How risky was that early switch from Intermediates to dry tyres?
"When I made the call, I thought it was the right thing to do, but the pitlane was obviously quite a bit wetter than the drying line out on the track, and I really thought I’d over-estimated the track conditions when I turned into the pitlane."
"It was an early call, and it was the right call, so it wasn’t particularly risky in that respect. I suppose it might have backfired horribly on me, but I didn’t have too much to lose because I couldn’t find a balance on the Inters, so it was a case of making a bit of a leap of faith. And once I was back out on the track, I pretty quickly realised that it had been the right choice."
"Those calls are always horrible to make because, even though you can make a big gain from being the first to stop, it also means that you alone can be at risk if the track fails to dry out or the rain starts to fall again. There’s an element of luck to everything, of course, but I always felt it was the right call."
You said that this was ‘special’ win – in what way, exactly?
"Every win is special, because you work so hard to achieve it, but Sunday was a bit different for me. Obviously, it feels great to win for a new team, but to win for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and to know I’m joining a list of McLaren drivers that includes people like Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna is still something that is hard to take in. I’ve won a race for the same team as Alain Prost! It’s quite incredible."
"So, yeah, it just feels nice as a Formula 1 driver to have that association with a team that has such a rich history, and one that I grew up watching and admiring as a boy. That makes it unique for me.”
On more practical terms, how does a win like this bolster your championship campaign?
"Well, it’s easy to say it, but it’s 25 points, which is always helpful. But I really think this underlines that not only are we competitive, but we’re very well integrated: as a team we can trust and rely on each other and we can build on those strengths."
"That’s what I’m most excited about, really, after Melbourne; the impetus that this will give us. I’ve spoken before about needing time to get more comfortable in the car, and I still mean that, there’s still a little way to go until I think I’ll find the new environment completely suited to me, but the fact that we’ve already got one win under our belts, and that we can clearly see the work ahead of us that we want to do to be better, then that’s really, really encouraging."
What do you think about proposals to move the race from Melbourne to Sydney?
"It’s always interesting to hear about new tracks – but really, I can’t see any reason for us changing. Albert Park is one of the places that’s always on your list of favourite races – great venue, good track, nice people, so why would we change? I think the race is doing just great where it is."