F1 »

Button: Victory will be 'almost impossible', a podium 'difficult'

Runaway F1 World Championship leader Jenson Button admitted that he was 'massively disappointed' to have suffered his worst qualifying performance of the 2009 campaign to-date ahead of his home grand prix at Silverstone on Sunday – and he suggested that not only will victory now be 'almost impossible', but even getting up on the podium looks to be 'difficult'.

The Brawn GP star has struggled with balance and grip issues and with warming his tyres up to temperature sufficiently quickly in the comparatively cool conditions weekend-long, and the result of an oversteer and understeer-afflicted Q3 was just sixth place, nearly a full second shy of pole position and far from what he had been anticipating as the 29-year-old bids to add the British Grand Prix trophy to his burgeoning silverware collection.

What made matters worse is that Rubens Barrichello in the sister BGP 001 – a man who rates Silverstone as his favourite track on the calendar and has invariably shone there in the past, memorably taking pole, fastest lap and race victory for Ferrari as team-mate to the legendary Michael Schumacher back in 2003 – will line up on the front row alongside Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel, going to show what might have been.

“I think it is almost impossible to win,” Button lamented in an interview with BBC Sport. “I just haven't had the pace all weekend. I was hoping for something a bit better – being sixth is a lot worse than what I thought it would be, so it's going to be a difficult race on Sunday. We knew as soon as we arrived here that the Red Bulls were very quick, but compared to Rubens, who's in the same car as me, it wasn't quick.

“The problem is we've struggled with tyre temperatures because it is so cold. Our car doesn't work so well at low temperatures, and I really struggled to get the tyres into their working range. We have to hope we can get the tyres to work. In qualifying I struggled massively with low grip, especially in the last complex – we struggled as a team with that, but compared to Rubens, I was losing a lot of time with the rear of the car. It just felt like I was skating around. I don't know why, but it feels like quite a different car to drive than the one I had in Turkey. I struggled massively with understeer in the high-speed corners and then had oversteer at low speed.

“My second lap was a bit quicker – it wasn't a lot quicker; we might have made up one more place – but my engineer said 'in this lap, in this lap', and as soon as someone says that you react to it. I was up on my time a little bit, but it would have only been one position on the grid. I don't know if they wanted to save more fuel for the race or what, but it was an unusual call.

“We've just got to hope that we've got the right amount of fuel on-board the car compared to the guys in front and that we can have a good race. It is good [that] we are on the front row as a team and Rubens is very quick here – he always has been – but [its'] disappointing for me back in sixth. In fact, I would be massively disappointed in qualifying sixth if it was anywhere around the world at the moment, not just here.”

Having triumphed in six of the opening seven races of the season to-date to build up a commanding 26-point advantage over nearest pursuer Barrichello in the title chase – and 32 ahead of Vettel – Button is enjoying an utterly dominant vein of form, but that peerless run looks set to come to a shuddering halt this weekend, cruelly in front of his thousands of partisan supporters, with numbers expected to hit the 200,000 mark over the course of the three days. The Frome-born ace warned them not to raise their expectations too high.

“I am sure they would love me to win tomorrow,” he mused, “but that's going to be pretty difficult. I think a podium is also difficult. Whilst qualifying in sixth is by no means a bad result, of course I'm hugely disappointed not to be starting my home grand prix from further up the grid.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn BGP001, British F1, Silverstone, 19th-21st, June, 2009
1983 Spa Francorchamps - Belgian Grand Prix
Brian Redman - Cooper Belgian Grand Prix Spa 1968
Nivelles circuit - Belgian Grand Prix [credit: Google Earth]
Nivelles circuit - Belgian Grand Prix
Belgian Grand Prix - Nivelles
Belgian Grand Prix - Nivelles
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 2006 Hungarian GP [Credit: Crash PA]
Jean Alesi, Tyrrell, 1989 French Grand Prix [Credit: Crash PA]
David Coulthard, Rothmans Williams, 1994 Spanish GP [Credit: Crash PA]
Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, 2007 United States GP [Credit: Crash PA]
Michael Schumacher, 7UP Jordan, 1991 Belgian Grand Prix [Credit: Crash PA]
Pirelli tyre selections per driver for the Belgian GP [Credit: Pirelli]
Red Bull Racing, Pirelli 2017 test, Sebastien Buemi
Red Bull Racing, Pirelli 2017 test, Sebastien Buemi
Red Bull Racing, Pirelli 2017 test, Sebastien Buemi
Pirelli F1 2017 tyre test, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari [Credit: Pirelli]
Pirelli F1 2017 tyre test, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari [Credit: Pirelli]

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


June 20, 2009 9:57 PM

You could be on to something there! We'll see. If he hadn't won however many gps it is he has won this season, I'd be like yeah go Button, but we need some sort if wdc battle so go someone else! :)


June 20, 2009 9:43 PM

Why has he given up so soon, with that car he still has every chance of a win. Sure, it may not be the fastest around a single lap BUT it's less harsh on the tyres which could turn out to be the golden ticket! Also he has the crowd's backing which Lewis said last year helped no end, but you have to believe you can win! However, I'd rather see Webber, Barichello or Vettel to win just for a bit of variation to the season. :)

© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.