Button says qualifying not critical

Qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix may not play such a critical factor in determining Jenson Button's world title chances this weekend as it has done in recent races, the championship leader suggested after finishing Friday's free practice second fastest overall

Button says qualifying not critical

Button's recent poor qualifying pace, in relation to his championship rivals, has compromised his strong form in the races and has to some extent allowed both his team-mate Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel to close in on him in the title battle.

But the Briton, who could clinch his first Formula 1 world championship by finishing third or higher at Interlagos on Sunday, admitted that while a strong grid slot remained important to his race strategy his car's established race pace could play into his hands on a circuit renowned for overtaking opportunities.

"Qualifying is important for a race weekend, but here you can overtake - it is a lot easier than some of the circuits we've been to - but I want to qualify as high up as I can," said Button.

"I think the car can be competitive. On long run pace it is good, which is obviously the race work. You still don't know how quick people are but the feeling of the car is good, and that is important."

Button admitted that he still needed to find a balance with the Brawn over one lap and that he had not yet found a way to unlock the potential of the option tyre, but remained optimistic of doing so in Saturday's final practice session.

"On one lap, I haven't got a balance yet," he said. "I think Rubens is a bit better but I think even for Rubens he has some work to do to improve the car, so hopefully we can do that tomorrow morning. That is more when you work on the qualifying aspect of the weekend.

"But I've got a lot of different things to try tomorrow and I look forward to improving the car.

"We were good on the prime tyre. I was very happy with the balance on the long runs. We did a lot of laps today considering we thought it was going to rain and we wouldn't get much set-up work done. So the prime tyre looks good. We just haven't got a balance on the softer tyre yet and struggled on the new tyres this afternoon.

"It is just such a different tyre to the prime tyre. We haven't got a balance on it and need to work on it overnight."

Button re-iterated his calm approach to what could be the biggest weekend of his career, pointing out that the emphasis was on his rivals to reduce his 15-point advantage, and thus the need for a strong result was more critical to them: "It is a lot easier for me - I am a lot more relaxed than I have been in the last few races.

"I think for Rubens - I wouldn't say it is pressure because people use that word all the time and it is frustrating to hear it - but it is a big race for him. It's his home race.

"For me, I am very relaxed and it is a different situation because Rubens and Sebastian have to beat me by a certain amount of points to stay in the championship. So I should be relaxed."

Button even suggested that he hadn't ruled out chasing a victory, even though third place would be enough to take the world championship.

"A podium would be great - but I am not going to come here to finish third. I want to do the best job I can, which is obviously to challenge for the win," he said.

"You have to say that the most competitive teams are the McLarens, the Red Bulls and us at the moment - and maybe with the Ferrari being competitive also and perhaps the Williams. We'll have to see on that, but for sure the McLarens and the Red Bulls are very competitive."

shares
comments
Brazil Friday quotes: Ferrari

Previous article

Brazil Friday quotes: Ferrari

Next article

Q & A with Jenson Button

Q & A with Jenson Button
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021