Jenson Button has hit out at criticism that he moans too much during grands prix weekend by attempting to explain that his apparently negative comments are actually designed to help the McLaren team get the best from his car.
Complaints that his MP4-27 is struggling with 'lack of grip', 'vibration', 'understeer' or 'oversteer' are constants throughout the various sessions on a race weekend, although primarily confined to practice as Button and McLaren attempt to hone the car for qualifying and the grand prix itself. With in-car communication now broadcast at the discretion of television directors, the 32-year old comes over as constantly complaining about the set-up, but Button insists that the portrayal is, firstly, not accurate, and second, being misinterpreted by viewers.
“It's not moaning,” the 2009 world champion told Britain's Mirror
newspaper, “People say 'he always whinges', [but] you are not whinging. It is about developing a car through the race. It's what drivers do.
“If you drove round and didn't say anything for the whole race, you are doing something wrong. If you complain about oversteer, understeer or an issue, it is to improve for the next stint of the race. At the pit-stop, you can raise the tyre pressures, add front wing, you go out and it should be better. A driver doesn't just drive the car, he engineers the car with his engineers.
“If you have an issue, you try to solve it in the race. You don't wait until the end and say 'first stint, I had massive understeer'. If you do that, the engineers will say 'why didn't you tell us? We could have solved it for the next stint'.”
No amount of complaint or explanation could help Button in Canada, where a first practice gearbox problem cost him valuable set-up time, and left him with a suspension configuration that simply ate up his Pirelli tyres at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. While team-mate Lewis Hamilton was making it seven winners from seven races in 2012, Button was coming home a lapped 16th after making three tyre stops and struggling for pace.
The result left the Briton a lowly eighth in the championship standings, but he remains defiant and, after admitting to the possibility of starting this weekend's European GP in Valencia with Hamilton's set-up, has vowed to put the frustration of Montreal behind him.
"The last few races haven't delivered the results I'd like, but there are still 13 races to go," he noted, aware that he has added just 20 points from a possible 150 since his opening round victory in Australia, "We've had seven different winners and no clear championship leader has emerged, so I'll be looking to get a decent result under my belt [this] weekend in order to get my title bid back on track."