Having prevailed in the last race in Hungary before F1 2011 headed off on its summer break, Jenson Button has his sights set now on maintaining his winning run with victory in next weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps – although in order to achieve that, the McLaren-Mercedes star acknowledges that he will require more good fortune than he has enjoyed in the Ardennes in his last two outings there.
Button's Hungaroring success was one of the finest of his F1 career, and a characteristically brilliant tactical triumph – but still, the British ace languishes a full 100 points adrift of runaway pace-setter Sebastian Vettel in the title standings. That being the case, his chances of reprising his 2009 world championship glory this year are slim in the extreme – but he remains very much in the mix for the top step of the podium at individual races.
The eleven-time grand prix-winner has reached the rostrum at Spa before – finishing third with BAR-Honda back in 2005 – but since then, he has failed to trouble the points-scorers there, and indeed has taken the chequered flag just once in the race's four most recent editions, winding up a distant and lapped 15th in the other.
In 2009, the 31-year-old was eliminated from contention by Renault F1 rookie Romain Grosjean on only the opening lap; in 2010, he was harpooned by a wayward Vettel whilst lying second. He is hoping 2011 will be a case of third time lucky.
“I love racing at Spa, but unfortunately, I haven't done too much of it recently as I've been taken out of the last two Belgian Grands Prix through no fault of my own!” Button quipped. “This year, I'll be hoping for a little more luck!
“It felt great to go into the summer break off the back of the win in Hungary. That was a race I think we could just as well have won in the dry as in the damp, which will be worth bearing in mind at Spa, as it'll probably be wet and dry – and everything in between – at some point during the weekend.
“Once again, our aim will be to put pressure on the championship front-runners, particularly Red Bull. Our car definitely feels really driveable right now, so I don't think this weekend's tyre compound selection will affect us too much. We learnt a lot about the Pirelli medium after the race in Valencia, and I think we've moved on quite a bit since then.
“I don't think DRS will be as critical here as it's been at some of the other circuits. I'm still not certain where it will be deployed, but there have always been lots of opportunities to use the slipstream up the hill out of Eau Rouge to pass into Les Combes. It'll be interesting to see whether DRS can add even more to the show – it should hopefully be another great weekend for F1.”