Jenson Button insists that chasing victory in his 200th grand prix will be very different to chasing his first when the F1 circus visited the Hungaroring
The Briton was some way removed from his best season with BAR and Honda when he finally broke through on to the top step of the podium in a soaking wet race in Budapest, coming from 14th on the grid to open his account. That weekend, he actually qualified fourth, but had to take a ten-place engine change penalty that dropped him to the outside of row seven. This time around, the now McLaren-mounted Button starts third....
"When you are that close to the front, you have got to go for victory," he insisted, clearly eyeing a second win of 2011, "I think [there were] a lot of races this year that we thought were going to be straightforward because of the front row start [that] haven't been because you have got the tyres, the KERS is playing a big part, and obviously the DRS.
"But, yes, I'm going for the win tomorrow. It's a big day for me - if I start the race tomorrow, it will be my 200th grand prix and, hopefully, it is going to be a good one."
Asked how confident he was of being able to pass, having done it repeatedly in 2006, Button admitted that the weather had played a major part in his maiden success, and did not expect the same sort of conditions this time around.
"It's very different to back in '06, when we had wet weather," he said, prior to waking up to a damp Sunday in Budapest, "I think it's supposed to be dry this weekend, or tomorrow at least, but third place is a good starting position here.
"I agree that P1 is better, that's what we do qualifying for, and that's why we get excitable on pole position,but P3 is pretty good. I think we can race well from there."
Ironically, cooler conditions have helped McLaren
in 2011, witnessed by team-mate Lewis Hamilton's victory in Germany a week ago, but Button admits that the team had still had to work on the car throughout the opening two days.
"It's very difficult to tell on a Friday, because you don't know what people are doing, you don't know what fuel people are running," he noted, "Previously, when it's been very, very hot - and I can really only think of one such race, which is Valencia – I think we found it a little bit difficult, but I think things have changed since then. We're not going to have such a hot race tomorrow, [but] we made some good set-up tweaks overnight.
"This morning, the car felt pretty good, [and] we were just playing with it a little bit through qualifying [before] it eventually came good on the last run. I think I gained about half a second on the last run in comparison to my previous lap, and it was just getting a bit more front end on the car, because I've been struggling with not getting the front end in. The car felt pretty good in qualifying, so I'm happy with where we're starting and it's a very, very long tough race tomorrow - for us and also, mainly, for the tyres - so we will see what sort of strategies we can throw at it and obviously go for the victory."