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Jenson Button exclusive Q&A - Part two

In the second part of an exclusive interview with Crash.net, Jenson Button looks ahead to what will be an emotional home race and talks about the loss of his father
Click here for part one

In terms of Lewis, what do you make of the internal fight between Lewis and Nico?
I think it's good. We always need to see an internal fight when there's one car that's superior to the rest otherwise it can be a very boring championship. So it's good to see an internal fight. I would say that Lewis comes across as mentally stronger than what most people think he is, because I spent a lot of time with him and I know when his mood changes. But he's got a lot of confidence with himself right now. Even with the couple of weekends that he's had [prior to Austria]; obviously unlucky in Canada and the controversial qualifying effort from Nico in Monaco but he's got his head screwed on and he seems confident, Lewis. So it's good to see.

You have a Mercedes power unit in your car, is it frustrating to see Mercedes win every race except Canada?
No, it's not frustrating because they've done a better job than us. You have to respect that they've done a great job over the winter. Their house is very in order and I think that was very obvious at the end of last year speaking to people within that team. Everything was in order and they understood where they were going to be this year even two thirds in to last year. So you have got to praise them, they've done a great job. They've been untouchable apart from [Canada], we've got to a better job and the rest of the pit lane has got to do a better job to fight them.

This year I think it will be very difficult for anybody to beat them fair and square but we have seen that they slipped up [in Canada] and it could happen again. There are many teams that want to be there waiting for that opportunity. Next year obviously is where most of the big teams will be thinking of fighting for the constructors' championship. It's amazing that eight races in we're already thinking of that.

For us, we still want to get good results this year. Third in the constructors' would be good, and I think you have to progress through a year and improve and get closer to the Mercedes if you want to be strong next year. There are no rule changes next year – at least not big rule changes – so you've got to be close going in to the winter. You can't have the deficit of one second at the last race of the year because you're not going to find that.

Can you catch up with Honda next year?
I don't know. I haven't worked with them. Obviously it's two completely different things right now. We are 100% Mercedes-Benz and to be fair it's the most powerful power unit out there so we're in a great position with Mercedes this year. We don't want to do anything that hurts that relationship. This team has been working with Mercedes for many years and it's only fair to have a nice clean finish to the relationship at the end of the year rather than making it very complicated and working with next year's engine manufacturer.

In the more immediate feature, the next race is your home race. Looking at the race in isolation how special is it having the fans behind you regardless of what the car is going to do?
Yeah… we're not strong in high-speed corners and Silverstone is not a circuit for us, which is a shame! It hasn't been since I've been in the team, so that's tough really. You want to get a good result for your home crowd but I'm not retiring yet so hopefully there will be a time in my future when I can stand on the podium. I wouldn't mind just third place!

But you've always got the backing of the crowd at Silverstone. Even when I had some really difficult years with Honda in 07/08 I was amazed at how much support there still was. They understood that I was going through a difficult time so it really does mean a lot when you see the support there. They're real fans, they will be there camping and making a real weekend of it. Hopefully the weather will be good, and hopefully we'll see a lot of 'Pink for Papa' shirts out there. We've sold out of the ones that the team have made, Silverstone are also doing something with pink t-shirts and I think people will just wear something that is pink. So hopefully there will be a big pink crowd at the British Grand Prix.

You mentioned that they understood you were going through a difficult time with Honda; obviously it's been a very tough year for you this year personally but you see their response. How does that make you feel?
It's two things really. It's great to see the response and support for me, but also taking me out of the picture I think it shows what sort of a person my old man was. To have that big a fanbase in the UK and around the world because he was a straightforward guy and just showed that he loved this sport more than anything and was here to support his sun, I think they really like that.

You don't often see racing dads about just enjoying themselves and enjoying Formula One. This is something that we both dreamt about when I was a kid, when we were young. We both dreamt about racing here and as a father of a racing driver he obviously wanted the best for me but this had been his hobby for so many years. He had been a fan of motorsport since the 50s, so to enjoy this circus really meant a lot to him and I think people really saw that in him and that's why he had such a following.

I guess that will make it a very emotional weekend for you, but you've also had that the whole season…
Yeah it's been horrendous. It's been tough. You have difficult days; June 15th [Father's Day] was especially difficult. When you're racing you can focus on racing because that's what I do best and you have to be at 100% when you're racing. It's after the racing or before the racing that he would have given me a high-five or something.

It's weird, I'll watch something back on TV about the race and I'll notice something that he would love to have heard – like a move I did or something – and even now when I watch it back I watch it and think I should call him and tell him about it. For a split second that's still there and it's very weird. It's difficult sometimes, but it always puts a smile on my face because he was a massive part of my life and he loved what I did for my job, my hobby, and he was able to enjoy that for so many years. Most dads never get that opportunity. So he had a very good life it was just still way too short.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The helmet of Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren with a Papa Smurf triibute to his late father John Button. 20.02.2014. Formula One Testing, Bahrain Test One, Day Two, Sakhir, Bahrain.
08.06.2014- Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 at drivers parade
10.05.2014- Free Practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
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