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Button reveals tyre traumas

Jenson Button's second grand prix victory - and the first, on debut, for Brawn GP - might have looked comfortable for all concerned, but the Briton revealed post-race that things hadn't been quite as straightforward as they appeared.

Having qualified on the pole, Button was able to open an immediate gap over his pursuers - to the extent that he asked his engineer to pinch him as he couldn't quite believe the margin - and seemed equally capable of managing the pace of anyone who dared to edge closer to him over the 58-lap duration. However, the race wasn't without its problems as, his own pit-lane mistake aside [see separate story], Button explained that the late afternoon start was causing temperature problems.

"I think it always looks easier than it is," he insisted, "The first few laps of the race were great for me and I could settle into a pace but, when the safety car came out, I struggled massively to get heat into the tyres. The car was hitting the ground and, just before the safety car pulled in, I flat-spotted the [front left] tyre pretty severely and was struggling quite a bit with vibration [after that].

"[Brawn team-mate] Rubens [Barrichello] made it sort of easy for me, when I was able to pull out four or five seconds in the first couple of laps. That was nice and I just settled into a nice rhythm - I was keeping [Sebastian] Vettel's times in check, just knowing what he was doing and just trying to pace myself, and it was all looking reasonably good until the first safety car.

"Getting heat into the tyres is something we have not had an issue with before, but I was really struggling with the car bottoming and, when I braked to start again when the safety car came in, I locked up and had a massive flat-spot. It made the next stint very difficult, especially with the poor light, as I couldn't see any of the corner exits, but we were able to plough on and still put reasonably good lap times in."

The return of the safety car after second- and third-placed drivers Vettel and Robert Kubica took themselves out of the race denied Button the chance to run to the flag at anything other than reduced pace, but he admitted that his first thought wasn't that he was almost certain to win the race from that point.

"First of all, when the safety car came out, I wasn't thinking 'I'm going to cross the finish line with the safety car out' - it was 'oh dear, another safety car'," he revealed, "But, when I crossed the line, I'd won the race. I crossed the line first, and it doesn't matter how it's done. The safety car wasn't on the track then anyway, it had already come in, but it's the same emotion, exactly the same emotion because you've won the race - and in spectacular fashion, I think."

True to his word after qualifying, Button refused to gloat over those predicting, pre-season, that his F1 career may be on the skids, preferring to pay tribute to those that continued to have faith in him.

"This win is for me, and for the team, and that's what I care about," he insisted, "I don't need to poke anyone in the eye about what they've said about me in the past. There have been a lot of positive comments in the past, and those are the ones that you obviously enjoy. If there are going to be negative comments, I have no reason to poke anyone in the eye. I'm just happy to be here - and I've worked bloody hard to be here.

"It is an amazing day. Some people might say it is a pity it finished under the safety car, but I don't care. I won the race today and that is all I care about. I have got to say a massive thank you to everyone for this. It has been a traumatic few months for all of us, as I have said already, but I can't put it out there how tough it has been, so I have got to say thank you to the whole team, [and] also to my family for being so strong.

"It wasn't my best race, I must say, but I still won, so I am chuffed to bits. I know there is more room for improvement from myself and from team, which is the exciting thing."


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Mercedes Benze    ING Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix Rd 1 World F1 Championship Albert Park Melbourne  Vic
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and his girlfriend Brittny Ward (USA)
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and his girlfriend Brittny Ward (USA)
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 leads Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Group photo 2016 F1 drivers, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
27.11.2016 - Brittny Ward (USA), girlfriend of Jenson Button (GBR)

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