Q & A with Jenson Button
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, March 30th 2009, 08:00 GMT|
Jenson Button made the perfect start to the new season, leading the Brawn GP team to a one-two finish in its first race.
After taking some time for the events of the weekend to sink in, the Briton sat down to share his thoughts with AUTOSPORT late on Sunday night.
He looked ahead to Malaysia and the rest of the season, and suggested that there is still more to come from the team.
Q. Well done. Does it feel slightly surreal?
Jenson Button: No. It is weird. It is surreal in a way, because it feels so normal. That is the weird bit, and it always does. After winning in Hungary [in 2006] it felt normal, this is what I am here to do. It has taken a long time since the last win, but we are here again and it is a very different situation.
Both wins are just as special as each other, but this one is different because we have done it with a car that is very quick, and we look to the next race thinking we can do the same again. That has got to be the aim.
Q. Malaysia has been a good race for you in the past. You took your first podium there...
JB: Yes. It is a circuit I really enjoy. It is very fast and flowing, it is a lot of fun to drive and obviously tough because it is very humid. We don't know who is going to be quick there as it is such a different circuit. You would say we are going to be competitive, but it is a question of who else is going to be up there with us.
The Ferrari is going to be quicker there because of the KERS, it will help it quite a lot, and I don't know about the McLaren. So it will be interesting - especially with a 5pm start. It is probably going to be wet, isn't it? That is a pity in a way as I would rather it was dry now. Both Rubens [and I] are good in the wet, but we haven't driven the car in the wet.
Q. Will KERS give Ferrari a bigger benefit in Malaysia than here?
JB: It is a difficult one. It takes a lot of work to get it right and working 100 per cent and it compromises your balance of the car, but they say it gives you three-tenths of a second on fastest circuits like Malaysia, Bahrain and Shanghai. We will see when we get there if Ferrari has a bigger advantage there than they had here, but it is not something we can really worry about or do anything about - because we are not going to have it as we cannot afford it.
Q. After two years of fairly poor cars and being at the wrong end of the grid, how different does it feel mentally to prepare for a weekend and try to win it?
JB: Yeah it is a great feeling. The problem is it's difficult to plan these days because I get so excited that I find it difficult to get any sleep. But hopefully it will pass – it is a nice problem to have. But we have just got to take every lap as it comes. I am not looking forward to the race; I am looking forward to getting back in the car and building this car into something even more special because we are not there yet. It is not perfect and we didn't get the best out of it this weekend.
I won the race, but our pit stops, I lost six seconds at the second pit stop. So we have a few areas we are weak in and that was always going to be the case because we haven't done any testing, so it has been very, very difficult for everyone to be perfect. There is room for improvement and that is what I am looking forward to achieving.
Q. You are talking about improving and the need to make a step forward, but teams like Ferrari are sceptical they can close the gap to you...
JB: I don't believe that at all. They will say that, but with the way the regulations are it is new to everyone. I think people will start to make big leaps forward. I don't know if it is going to be at the fly away races, but when we get back to Barcelona people will have new aero packages and they will be on our arses.
So we need to make the most of this and get the best out of everything, which we haven't quite done. But it is nice to have had not quite a perfect weekend and come away with a pole position and a win.
Q. Is that the mindset for the first part of the season – to make sure when you have the advantage that you capitalise?
JB: Exactly. It is difficult because we haven't had the amount of testing mileage. With the boys doing the pit stops, and for Rubens and myself, it is not the perfect situation to be in. But we will put up with it because we have got a very, very good car. We have gained a lot of experience this weekend and we will learn from that and hopefully put it to go use next weekend.
Q. Lewis Hamilton was saying earlier that he is driving the worst car he has had in his career, and you are driving the best one...
JB: Yes, definitely. He finished third today anyway! It was a weird old race. Everything was going on behind because of the safety cars, there was Lewis and the two Toyotas came from being last to being third, fourth and fifth or something. It was really, really strange. The good thing was that all the action was going on behind and I could try and do my own race, which was great.
Q. Can you subside thoughts of the championship?
JB: I am not interested in talking about it at the moment. That is obviously why we all race in F1, we want to be world champions, but there is no use thinking about that at the moment. We need to think about getting the points on the board and then you see where you are later in the season. You can think about changing your strategy then.
Q. Do you feel this season that you have a chance to finally prove yourself?
JB: I have got nothing to prove to anyone. I go out there to race for myself and the team, and I won today which is fantastic. We will then go to the next race and hopefully we can do the same – but we are not thinking about the championship at the moment.
Q. But you can finally show those people who doubted you that you do have the talent?
JB: Again, the most important thing is the team and myself. It is great that we have so many fans out here. In a way it has been such a difficult winter, and they all know that, and for a privateer team to win the first race of the season the fans all love that. I would – if I was a fan of F1 I would love to see that.
I think we have got a lot of support out there, which is great, but I am not racing to prove anything to anyone. I know I am good and now I have a competitive car hopefully we can have a competitive season, but I am not thinking about 12 or 13 races down the line. You need to concentrate on now.
Q. But you must feel that this win will be the first of many this season?
JB: No more comments about that!