F1 »

Button 'overwhelmed' by McLaren's hunger

As he sits just five points shy of the world championship lead in his bid to successfully defend his hard-fought F1 crown, McLaren-Mercedes star Jenson Button argues he could be in no better team
Reigning F1 World Champion Jenson Button has confessed that he is 'overwhelmed' by just how 'hungry' McLaren-Mercedes is following the team's one-two finish in the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul just over a week ago – as the Woking-based outfit turned what had been looking like an all-Red Bull internecine scrap for supremacy in 2010 into a fraught battle for glory.

Button followed team-mate and title-winning predecessor Lewis Hamilton home in Turkey in McLaren's second whitewash of the campaign to-date, after the all-British duo had taken advantage of a controversial collision between RBR pairing Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber just ahead of them on the track – and survived their own wheel-to-wheel duel not long afterwards as the Frome-born ace attempted to seize the initiative, very nearly successfully.

Still, second place – his third podium finish from the opening seven grands prix, to accompany his inspired tactical triumphs in Australia and China – has kept Button well in the hunt to defend his crown, at just five points adrift of world championship leader Mark Webber.

“It was a great race,” he acknowledged. “It was very satisfying to have the performance to take the race to the Red Bulls, and to have been able to put pressure on them in the way we did. The last laps were fun, too – proper racing, but fun and fair. It was great to be able to race with Lewis; it's actually the first time in our careers that we've been able to do that, and he's a very fair guy on the track.

“It was tricky in those closing laps, because we knew we were pretty marginal on fuel, but the team lets us race and that's exactly what we did. Lewis and I had a good scrap, and I want to congratulate him again for his win – it was a great drive.”

One area in which Button recognises McLaren still has room for improvement is one-lap pace, with Red Bull having monopolised pole position for every grand prix so far – and in some cases, the McLaren men have simply been left with too much work to do and too much ground to make up come race day. Get that sorted, though, he opines, and he and Hamilton could just prove to be unstoppable.

“We know that there's still a way to go to beat the Red Bulls on sheer pace,” the 30-year-old conceded, “but while that's important, it's not a target that we're continually aiming at – we know they're quick, but it's more important for us right now to focus on what we're doing, and make sure we're absolutely performing at the limit. That means we're looking at improving every area; whether that's reliability, performance, strategy, pit-stops or operations, there's a constant rate of improvement in every area of the team – and that won't stop.

“Qualifying pace is still something that we're not entirely satisfied with, but we're pleased that we do appear to have closed the gap to Red Bull. Certainly, if you look at our relative pace in Barcelona, and compare it with Istanbul, then we do seem to be closer. We're not there yet, but we think we've got a good package for Canada, and we're working hard to bring a series of larger improvements to the car later on in the summer.

“I've been in teams before where we've perhaps started the season strongly, or we've had a bit of a performance improvement towards the end of the season, but I'm really overwhelmed by how much this team can just keep developing. That's incredibly exciting to be a part of, because it's a different side to my role as a racing driver – it's not just about getting in and driving every two weeks – and it's great to be part of the process that helps to test, refine and approve the new components we bring to the track each week. The feeling of contributing is incredible, and very rewarding.

“You just can't believe how hungry this team is; when I joined back in January, I was really struck by just how much we were pushing ahead of the launch, and then during testing – but we're now into an incredibly tough series of races, and we're still bringing these huge new development parts to the track, and we're bringing enough parts for both Lewis and myself – it's awesome. It makes you realise why McLaren-Mercedes is so strong – there's just no let-up. I've never known a team be so hungry to go racing – and it's just great to be a part of.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 race winner and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position
Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Saturday Practice, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday Practice2, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position
Friday Practice1, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday Practice1, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Sunday, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 race winner
Romain Grosjean, 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team (credit Haas)
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H.
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32.
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32.
The Mercedes AMG F1 of Valtteri Bottas (FIN) is recovered back to the pits.
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber F1 Team 
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber F1 Team 
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren F1 
Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Renault Sport F1 Team  

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.

Booyah - Unregistered

June 07, 2010 10:32 PM

"Jenson Button argues he could be in no better team" Spot on Jenson. There is no better team. Has anyone else noticed that 'opine' and it's derivatives seems to be a popular word in the Crash.net offices today?

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

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