Q & A with Jenson Button

Q. It's not really been your circuit here, has it?

Q & A with Jenson Button

Jenson Button: Really? Has it not? I finished second here in 2004.

Q. What about 03?

JB: I can't remember 2003, 2004 was a good year. Last year was ok as well, I qualified well, overtook three people on the first lap and then crashed into one of them at the end of the lap. It's a fun circuit, but if you look back at the stats you'd say it hasn't been fantastic, no. But nor had Barcelona really.

Q. Is the 2003 crash still your biggest accident in F1?

JB: Yes. They've moved the barrier back now, which is good. Somebody said this circuit is the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago and it is, the actual layout, but the safety is a lot better which is good. It's as safe as a street circuit can be, in a city around a port.

Q. Do you have flashbacks about the crash?

JB: Not really, no. If I'm asked about it I think about it, but it doesn't scare me in any way. If I had hurt myself, maybe. But I didn't.

Q. What would be the setback of such an accident now?

JB: Well, it would be 10 points, which just means I have to make it up in the next few races. That's the most positive way of looking at it. If you have a reliability issue or an accident, then for sure it can set you back a long way, but it's the same for all of us. It's not just me.

Q. With a good car, this could be most fun you've had in Monaco.

JB: I've had a lot of fun in Monaco [laughter]. 2004 was a fun race, chasing down [Jarno] Trulli in the Renault. It was a great race and it was very enjoyable. And last year was as well, for the first lap. I'm looking forward to it.

I think every circuit you go to, if you've got a good car, it's enjoyable. That's the way it is. It's obvious really, but having a good car around here, a car that you feel completely in control with and very comfortable with is important. If you are comfortable with it and confident in it then you can throw it around, you can find the limits of the car and also the barriers.

Q. You wouldn't think of it as a track where you could throw it around.

JB: No you wouldn't, but then again that's the problem. People come here and they think that you can't. In a way, in the past when I arrived here I always thought the same. But you learn over the weekend that you have to be aggressive, you have to give the barriers respect for sure - they are very hard and there is no runoff. But you have be aggressive as well. There's no pussyfooting around. It doesn't work in Monaco.

Q. Is there a psychological barrier?

JB: You can't go out of the pit lane here and just think, "Right, I'll do a few laps and see how the car balances". You've got to go out and think, "Right, I'm going to drive aggressively here". You either get the best out of the car, or you are a long way off getting the best out of it.

There's a big difference in laptime, so it's a circuit where when you start the weekend, you don't want to be stupid the first run, you don't want to throw it in the wall there. But after that, you need to be consistent but also be aggressive. If you don't push the car to the limit you're not getting the best out of it, and it's a big difference here if you don't get the best out of the car.

Q. How much of a dream is it to win here?

JB: It was a dream just to win again after Hungary. It would be great to win here, but for me the most exciting race to win would be my home grand prix, for atmosphere's sake, with the British fans. You would hope at your home grand prix you've got more fans there than any other, so Silverstone would be the most special.

Monaco is up there and it's such a unique circuit - it's very different to anything else. You win here and it doesn't mean you're going to win the championship, but there's nothing else like this circuit. It's a fun circuit to drive and when you cross the line at the end of this race, it's a bonus in a way.

Every lap is 100 per cent around here and you have to be totally focused and as precise as possible, but also with aggression. So winning here would be pretty special and when you cross the line it's just a feeling of relief. Afterwards you're so tired, mentally and physically drained around here, so that would make it extra special.

Q. The Monaco GP carries with it the most kudos, though.

JB: Yeah, maybe, but whatever race you win it's pretty spectacular, finishing in front of everyone else, seeing the chequered flag first. It is a special race, but when you are looking at the races over a season, I wouldn't put this as the race that stands out for me - it's my home grand prix at Silverstone.

Q. Is it different coming to this race now compared to when Flavio asked if you were looking to buy a place here?

JB: The bit about the boat was probably correct, but that bit was a little bit wrong. That's the way Flavio is, he is very outspoken. But things have changed a lot, although they changed the next year for me. Things turned around. I come here very confident in the team, the car and myself. I'm really looking to getting out on the circuit.

But this season is weird because after the last couple of races I've won, I've obviously enjoyed the weekend, but I wake up on a Monday morning and I'm already thinking about the next race. It's quite a strange feeling, very different to the rest of my Formula 1 career, winning four races out of five, but you do get used to it very quickly.

I will never forget how difficult it can get, how tough it can get, but when you're winning, finishing second is a disappointment. So you have to learn to think it's not a disappointment, that it's not a bad result, otherwise you could go mad.

Over the last few weeks, I've been non-stop thinking about the next race, running through it in my mind, getting all the data. It's been quite a stressful few weeks, you wouldn't think so, but it is more stressful.

Q. You say stressful. Is that part of the pressure of being championship leader?

JB: Stressful is probably not the right word, I'm just always thinking about racing. Before, I tried to take my mind away from it when it wasn't going well and think about something else. But now I'm always thinking about racing, it's always running through my mind.

Q. We're seeing a different side to you this season.

JB: I'm probably a right boring bastard at the moment, I really am. My girlfriend will tell me when she turns up tomorrow. It's different because things are going well and you want to be thinking about how you can improve. But when things aren't going so well, you know you need to improve the car and where you are, but you also need to get away from the racing, to forget about it for a few days. At the moment, that's not possible.

Q. It's a bit more difficult to do that in Monaco.

JB: Yeah, this week especially. I've been here since the last race and it's been pretty busy.

Q. Have you become a right boring bastard because there's the bigger picture to consider?

JB: Maybe, I don't know. But I haven't been thinking about that, I've been thinking about this weekend, thinking about it a lot.

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