Button still hoping for elusive podium

The Lucky Strike BAR Honda team had a great result in Austria with Jenson Button's storming drive to fourth place, matching his best ever result. This result was bitter-sweet, however, as for any driver to be so close to his first podium appearance, and yet so far, is frustrating. But Jenson is on a roll, after topping the times at the twisty Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia last week he could be forgiven for hoping that maybe, just maybe, he'll make the podium this weekend

Button still hoping for elusive podium

"If Monaco goes as well for me as Austria I'll be happy," he says. "I really enjoyed the race there as we could challenge the top teams. It was great to be competitive and score some points. As far as the Monaco race itself goes it's a tough one. The circuit is really twisty and bumpy and it takes it toll, especially on your arms, because of all the tight turns.

"Most of the corners are blind so you have to take a leap of faith and hope nothing has happened on the track in front of you. I read that someone once said it's like 'riding a bicycle in your living room' and they weren't wrong! Of course it's nice to race in the place where you live as it means no travel and no hotels for a whole weekend. It's an extremely busy race off the track as there are always many sponsor and media commitments but, having said that, the Monaco Grand Prix is a really exciting event."

Team-mate Jacques Villeneuve is surely due a little bit of luck after suffering three DNFs in six races and being hamstrung by electronics problems in Austria. The French Canadian finished fourth here in 2001 so, if the gremlins stay out of his car, he could be in the running.

"Monaco is an extremely glamorous race and the fans have a great time, but from a driver's point of view it is a difficult track to race on," he says. "The track is very narrow and has a lot of corners, but the actual layout of the circuit is fun. Qualifying is very important here as it is extremely difficult to overtake during the race.

"If you are further down the grid at the start, the pit-stops play an important part in making up positions. It's a very exciting track but there is no room for error. You can't make any mistakes because you are surrounded by guardrails instead of kerbs and grass and there are no run-off areas. This brings new stress levels psychologically which do not happen at any other races.

"The car has been competitive all season, so it should be competitive in Monaco as well. It's fun to race there, but if we continue to have reliability problems, then I will not be looking forward to the race."

No one plans to be unreliable and BAR team principal David Richards isn't making any promises: "We still have reliability issues as Jacques' car had an electrical problem in Austria. We have addressed this and are hopeful for a two-car points finish in Monaco."

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