Q & A with Jenson Button

Amid the drama of Felipe Massa's horrific crash and the confusion of the timing system failure, it was easy to forget the title fight at the end of Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying - and to overlook championship leader Jenson Button's disastrous day

Q & A with Jenson Button

On a track where Brawn GP had hoped to strike back at Red Bull Racing, the Briton was a season-worst eighth on the grid, with his Red Bull title rivals second and third. Button explained his situation to the media afterwards.

Q. You stayed a lot in the pits during the last qualifying session. Was that to check the car?

Jenson Button: Exactly. Rubens [Barrichello] had a failure on his car, so they wanted to replace the part on my car - which they did but obviously it took a while. That meant I only got out for the last run in qualifying, but we were still looking at running more fuel than most. I am guessing we will be [pitting] around lap 24, where the lead cars are about [lap] 18 - and [Fernando] Alonso is probably about 13! That made the car very difficult to drive with that much fuel on board, so we want a nice hot Sunday and with a good hot day we can have a good result if we are running that long in the first stint.

Our car is very good at looking after its tyres, so it is a real pity that we are so far back. I didn't think we had the pace to get pole position here, but our race pace is very good I think. So that makes it a little bit difficult for us, being so far back in P8. I also think the first car on the grid is looking at doing a three-stop, and maybe some other cars, because they are worried about tyre degradation.

Q. Is the hope that the KERS cars ahead of you on the grid leap ahead at the front, and then hold everyone up to the first stops?

JB: Yeah. I don't have any KERS cars behind me now. The McLarens are going to be good off the line, and they seem to be better than the Ferrari off the line. So you will see Lewis [Hamilton] coming up, and it matters how far he gets up because the start on the right hand side is never as good. So we will see. But if he can get in front of the Red Bulls it will help us a lot, although the problem is that I am starting on the dirty side as well - although I don't have any KERS cars behind.

The good thing is that if Lewis can get up the front, I know his pace will be pretty quick but I don't think it will be quite as quick as the Red Bulls. Hopefully we can hang on in there and we will see how much later we are stopping.

Q. Is it a case of damage limitation in this race?

JB: It is not damage limitation at all. We can still have a good day, and I think winning the race will be pretty difficult from P8 but we can still have a good race for sure.

Q. Earlier in the season you were talking about being on the attack all the time. Where are you now with your mindset?

JB: The good thing is that we have got a lot of fuel on board. I think if you are running short then you have got to be massively aggressive at Turn 1, because if those KERS cars get past you then you are screwed. So, I think it is important for us to get through Turn 1 in a reasonable position but we don't have to make up five places on the grid - which is a good thing.

There is going to be a lot of action up front with Lewis, Kimi [Raikkonen] and [Heikki] Kovalainen coming through, so I think there will be cars everywhere, hopefully we can pick off one or two and we will be in a good position.

Q. You've talked in the past about needing to change your driving style this year. How difficult has it been after nine years in F1?

JB: This car suits my style - and it did for [the Spanish GP at] Barcelona. The last two races have been difficult for us, but here our pace has been good. That is the frustrating thing with qualifying. In practice on Friday we were very competitive and our fuel corrected time, from what we thought other people were running, we were quickest in P1 and P2.

In qualifying, it was cooler, and our car didn't seem to work so well - although in Q1 and Q2 we were reasonably competitive and I was happy with the way the car was with low fuel. I thought that we could be up there in qualifying, so the top four or five places - but with the stop in the garage at the start of Q3 we had a lot of fuel on board and obviously a big break between my previous run and my Q3. I just could not find the grip with that fuel on board. It wasn't a great lap, but it wouldn't have gone any quicker. I tried on lap two but I aborted it.

Q. There was a lucky escape for Felipe Massa in qualifying. What is your reaction to that?

JB: I don't know how it all is. You can say a lucky escape - but is it? I don't know the fine details and I don't think any of us do. It is worrying, but hopefully he is okay and we will hopefully find out as soon as possible.

Q. Do you believe it is a freak accident, or can anything be done?

JB: I don't know the full details of it, or what happened. So I cannot say any more. I hope that he is okay and we can find out as soon as possible, because there are a lot of worried people.

Q. You are still in front in the championship, but do you believe that in reality Red Bull Racing has overtaken you?

JB: In reality, they haven't! We cannot have any more qualifying efforts, and this race we thought we would be quite good here. I think we are, but when something goes wrong it makes qualifying very difficult - especially when you have so much fuel on board. It is a different strategy from what we normally go for as we didn't choose this strategy.

We have to see what happens in the race, and if we can make a good race out of it. It is important for us to be close to the Red Bulls. To beat the Red Bulls is key, but beating them here might be quite difficult. But we will give it a go.

Q. When you talked about not choosing the strategy, is that because you had three or four more laps that you would normally have?

JB: Yes. It is four laps more fuel than what we expected.

Q. Is the issue with tyre temperatures now so big that the car needs to be re-looked at so it doesn't become so dependent on the weather?

JB: It is frustrating, and this race is much better than previous races because the temperature is up. But if you compare Saturday to Friday, it is very different to drive. We are just on the edge of making the tyres work and it is really frustrating.

Race day is going to be warmer than qualifying, and hopefully a bit more like Friday, so we should be okay. The pace of the car on Friday was good, and we were very heavy, so the pace is in the car- we just hope we can extract it.

Button: No need for damage limitation

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