Button Eyeing First Podium in Malaysia

Jenson Button believes conditions at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix will help him seize his first podium finish.

Button Eyeing First Podium in Malaysia

Jenson Button believes conditions at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix will help him seize his first podium finish.

The British driver, sixth for his BAR team at the season-opening race in Melbourne, said the blistering heat would be a big factor in Sepang on Sunday.

"I've never really had a car that was quick enough to be on the podium here, or be really close to the podium," Button told reporters on Thursday. "But now we've got a car that's quick enough, we're a lot more confident. We should be quick - the high temperatures normally work better for us."

Button, who has had varied success since joining Williams as a replacement for Italian Alex Zanardi in 2000, put himself through a punishing training schedule to prepare for Malaysia - one of the toughest races in Formula One.

"I did a lot of training outside for long periods of time...cycling for four and a half hours to just get used to the heat and humidity," said Button, who was fourth in Sepang in 2002.

"It's probably one of the most tiring races for drivers. To start with it's quite a technical circuit and secondly, it's so hot. You have to have a lot of water in the car to drink."

Button beat the two McLarens in Australia and warned that BAR would be pushing to become one of the top three teams in 2004.

"The goal is to be fourth in the championship as a team," said the 24-year-old, BAR's number one driver after the departure of former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. "If we finish fifth and sixth in every race, we have got a very good chance of being in the top three."

BAR have yet to win a race since entering the sport in 1999 but Button insisted he and Japanese teammate Takuma Sato were on the right track.

"It doesn't make such a big difference if you win. It's more important to be consistent. But we are hoping for better results than fifth and sixth."

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