McLaren-Mercedes star Jenson Button has confessed that to triumph on home turf in front of his adoring partisan supporters in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone – a race in which he has never so much as finished up on the rostrum – would be 'a dream come true'.
Heading into the 2011 event around the revised, ultra high-speed Northants circuit, Button has tallied a best result of only fourth place from eleven previous British Grand Prix starts – both in 2004 and then again last year as he impressively scythed his way up the order from a lowly grid slot. The 31-year-old is hopeful of finally breaking his podium duck at Silverstone this time around – an outcome that will depend much upon the relative effect of the FIA's impending off-throttle blown-exhaust ban on each of the teams.
“Although it's a place that's not been too kind to me, I'm really looking forward to this year's race,” he enthused. “We raced on the new layout last year, but this will be the first time we've experienced the new circuit as it's really meant to be. With a new start-line, a new first corner and an all-new pit-and-paddock complex, the facilities should be fantastic, and I think they'll confirm Silverstone as one of the best circuits in the world. Still, it's going to be strange sitting on the grid with the prospect of going flat into Abbey as the first corner!
“As always, we'll see once again that the British fans are some of the most passionate, knowledgeable and loyal in the whole world. It would mean everything to me to be able to win my home grand prix – that would be my dream come true – but whatever happens, it will be a great weekend.”
Meanwhile, as he looks at the bigger picture of the F1 2011 World Championship battle, Button reflected that it would now be 'bloody hard' for anybody to successfully challenge runaway early-season pace-setter Sebastian Vettel for title glory – although he is somewhat perplexed that even the young German's own Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber has been unable to take the fight to him more often than he has done.
“I think Seb's a great driver,” the 2009 world champion told The Observer
. “He has proved that this season, but I am surprised he is that much quicker than Mark. There is obviously something that is not working for Mark. He hasn't really been on the same pace as Sebastian this year, which surprises me as he is quick. He says he has got problems with the tyres; he is not getting to grips with them.”