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Button looks forward to senior role

12 December 2012

Jenson Button says he is looking forward to taking on a senior role with McLaren next season following Lewis Hamilton's decision to move to Mercedes.

Button will be lead the driver with the Woking-based team alongside newcomer Sergio Perez, who makes the switch to replace Hamilton after two years with Sauber.

The 2009 champion will hope to lead McLaren to success in 2013 and he admitted that he felt he would be at his best in the role of number one.

"Definitely,” he was quoted by the Press Association when asked if he was ready to lead McLaren into the new season. “It's not the first time I've done that. When I got to BAR and Jacques Villeneuve left it was exactly the same situation.

"I was there to lead the team and it's something I really look forward to and it's something where the best comes out of me in that situation. I can really build that team around me and direct the team in a direction I like with the car."

Button, who previously said he was keen to mould the team around him next year, added that he planned to work closely with the McLaren engineers to ensure that its new car hits the ground running when pre-season testing begins in Spain in February.

"We all drive differently and have different styles," he said. "For me I need a car I can develop beneath me and feel comfortable in. If the car feels neutral and unbalanced it doesn't work for me.

"I need to develop a car and engineer a car in a position that feels comfortable for me, and I don't think anyone can do a better job than I can in that position.

"The problem for me is if I can't get the car there I do struggle more than some."

The Briton added that he had been able to improve as a driver from his three years racing alongside Mercedes-bound Hamilton, with the pair having driven each other forwards during their time together.

"Lewis is extremely fast and he definitely has that speed that not a lot of people have - outright pace over one-lap - but as we know, Formula 1 is not about a single lap," he said. "It's a race and that's where you score points. Of course, he's been a tough team-mate in terms of speed, but also a good team-mate to work with and really develop the car.

"I think he's learnt a lot this year in terms of understanding that it's not just about one lap in terms of looking after the tyres. So I think the partnership has been good in terms of us learning off each other.

"Even if he says he hasn't, we've both definitely learnt from each other and it's helped us to improve as drivers."


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