Jenson Button admits it is in that back of his mind that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could be his last F1 race and he says he is trying to enjoy it as much as possible.
McLaren is set to re-sign Fernando Alonso to drive for the team in 2015, with a team statement earlier this week saying no decision will be taken on its driver line-up until December 1 at the earliest. That leaves Button not knowing if Abu Dhabi will be his final race and he says he is trying to enjoy the weekend even though he doesn't want to leave the sport.
“I hope this isn't my last grand prix,” Button said. “I really do, because I feel I have a lot to give, but of course there's something in the back of your mind thinking it possibly could be. So you have to enjoy it as much as you can.
“I'm here to do a job, I'm going to do the best job I can. Off circuit with family and friends obviously we talk about things probably more than we would normally. So far I've enjoyed this weekend and it's great having my family here.”
Asked if he is able to treat the race weekend like any other, Button – who will start sixth on Sunday – said he doesn't feel much difference inside the car.
“A lot goes through your head and it has been for the last few months. When you're out of the car you're unsure how to feel really, but when I drive the car nothing's different. I feel so at home. Of course in the car compared to out of the car is very different to normal so I probably enjoy my driving a little bit more because I'm away from all the questions and away from people in the pit lane smiling at me more than normal or sort of a little unhappy face. It's a weird situation to be in, it really is, but there you go.
“For me, the important thing is I enjoyed today. Yesterday was a very difficult day for us as a team but I feel that we pulled it back. I was a little bit disappointed in Q3 because of the traffic issues that we had but qualified eighth (before Red Bull's exclusion
) and hopefully that's a position which we can build on for the race tomorrow. That's what I'm looking forward to.
“I've got my family here, my girlfriend arrives tomorrow, she couldn't be here because she's maid of honour at a wedding over the last couple of days, so my whole family will be here. To enjoy tomorrow with them – whatever happens – is the most important thing right now.”
Button will also not drive in the post-race test at Abu Dhabi, with McLaren racing director Eric Boullier confirming Stoffel Vandoorne in the interim Honda-powered car on both days.