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Jenson Button: I'm the most excited I've ever been!

F1 is a team effort, underlines reigning world champion Jenson Button, and if we are going to keep the title in Britain, Lewis Hamilton and I need to work together at McLaren-Mercedes in 2010 - and at the end of the season we'll see who comes out on top
Admitting that he is the most excited he has ever been heading into F1 2010 as he prepares to do battle in defence of his hard-fought drivers' world championship crown, Jenson Button has metaphorically stuck two fingers up at those who claim he hasn't a hope in hell of taking on and beating Lewis Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes – by declaring that he is 'in the best possible place I can be'.

Having brought a rollercoaster, fairytale-esque campaign for Brawn GP to a fitting conclusion last year by clinching the title in Brazil, ten months after the team had looked all-but out for the count in the wake of parent company Honda's sudden and shock withdrawal from competition, Button is now bidding to become the first Brit in top flight history to successfully lift the laurels in back-to-back seasons.

Not so fast, say the cynics, for in order to do so the 30-year-old will not only have to overcome the likes of double world champion Fernando Alonso, highly-rated young gun Sebastian Vettel and returning legend Michael Schumacher – but he will also have to overcome his own team-mate, whose lair he has foolhardily if bravely stepped into by jumping ship to McLaren, the team that Hamilton has to all intents and purposes made his own over the last few years. As mission impossible scenarios go, opine his critics, it is a fairly compelling one – but perhaps unsurprisingly, the man himself somewhat disagrees.

“It's been a very busy January and a very good January,” Button reflected, speaking at the launch of the new MP4-25 contender at the Newbury headquarters of McLaren title sponsor Vodafone. “Moving to a new team is always difficult and a big change because you never really know what to expect or what the atmosphere will be like, but the team have really welcomed me and there has been a very good atmosphere. I've been pleasantly surprised and I really feel like I have become part of this team now, even in the short period of time that I've been with McLaren.

“I had a great relationship with [Brawn GP], and my decision to move came because I wanted a new challenge. You should always be looking for new challenges in your life – and that's exactly what I've now got on my hands. When I won the world championship I achieved my initial goal, something for which I had been fighting for 21 years since I was eight-years-old – and then I thought 'where do I go from here?'

“After the last race you think about what you've achieved, and the road to becoming world champion goes through your mind – but soon after that you start forgetting, because you're already concentrating on 2010 and the new challenge. Having the number one on my car is very special, but you do need to start forgetting about last year and looking to the future.

“Coming to McLaren – a team with so much experience – has really spurred me on, and I'm going into this season feeling so much more excited than any other season that I've been in F1. Winning the world championship has boosted my confidence, and I've become a much stronger person and stronger driver than I was last year. I'm going to make sure I'm 100 per cent ready for Bahrain, because I don't want any excuses. I'm not looking to prove anything to anyone – I don't need to do that. I'm in the best possible place I can be for this season, and this is a massive challenge for me – but it's one I'm really looking forward to!”

Button's confidence, indeed, is palpable, and if the title was awarded on determination and optimism alone, he would be world champion again already. However, in order for that to become a reality, the Frome-born ace is well aware that he and Hamilton will need to do precisely what Fernando Alonso and Hamilton were singularly incapable of doing at McLaren three years ago – working together.

“The start of 2009 was a difficult period for [McLaren],” the seven-time grand prix-winner acknowledged, “but I think that's good in a way because it makes the team that much hungrier to succeed in 2010 – and I can really see that going round the factory. Everyone you talk to says that it has been possibly the busiest winter ever, but they don't care because they're producing something special. It's all going very smoothly and January has been great – but I can't wait for February to start!

by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
29.01.2010 Newbury, England, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes - Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes MP4-25 Launch
29.01.2010 Newbury, England, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes - Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes MP4-25 Launch
29.01.2010 Newbury, England, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes - Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes MP4-25 Launch
Jenson Button (GBR), Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren MP4-25 Launch, Newbury, GB, Vodafone, Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren MP4-25 Launch, Newbury, GB, Vodafone, Mercedes
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40

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January 29, 2010 11:15 PM

You don't put two drivers of this caliber together and not get some friction. Same for FA/Massa and Vettel/Weber. But I think McL has come out and tried to clarify their position towards their drivers this year. Not saying it will stick because one will out do the other at some point but for sure Jenson has made public that he wants equal treatment. I think he will get it until Lewis has a clear advantage. Or visa versa. Let's see how Merc treats their KING. It will be worse there for Nico than Button with Lewis. And poor Massa, I think his goose is cooked.

jasemat - Unregistered

January 30, 2010 2:12 AM

Would Mclaren have signed him if he didn't bring the No1 & WDC driver to the team? Would Schumacher have won as many titles if team orders came into play? Would JB have been crowned WDC if all drivers started last year in the Brawn GP car? Who cares the man with the most points won. You gotta admire the size of the man's balls to jump ship to what is basically a Hamilton Mclaren Mercedes Team. We were all laughing at JB's comments this time last year about being loyal to his team should they be on the grid come 2009 but look who's laughing now. I for one reckon JB's smooth style will make up for the few tenths he's may be behind Hamilton's "drive it like you stole it"

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