Q & A with Jenson Button

Q. So can you give us a reading on that? It doesn't look like good news?

Q & A with Jenson Button

Jenson Button: It wasn't a good qualifying. I struggled on the option tyre and I haven't felt very confident on it all weekend. Most people are running it, so we thought we should be running it. I just had a loose rear end, but I still had a lot of understeer in the car. I didn't have any grip, which was my problem in qualifying - especially in mid-speed corners. Even with understeer in the car the rear is sliding, and it doesn't feel very good. That was it really - I just wasn't very quick.

Q. And nothing from the technical debrief gives you any extra insight?

JB: There are a few places I am losing, and I ran a little bit wide on one corner - but it is not just one corner. I just could not find the pace with the soft tyre. With the prime tyre it wasn't too bad and maybe we should have stayed on that.

Q. How will tomorrow go?

JB: Tomorrow will be a tough day. Starting 14th nothing matters except points for me. We have to do something that will help me get points, because I think the race pace is okay. We will try and do something a bit different to everybody else. It is not sort of hang back and hope for the best - we have to be aggressive.

Q. If you look at the last few races, Rubens has been closer than he was earlier in the season or even ahead?

JB: Yeah, especially the last two. The races before when it was cold, often one person was quicker or it was the other, but in the last two races he has been quicker for sure and happy with the car. For me I have an instability issue at the rear end and it is something I didn't have when the car was good earlier in the year. That is my biggest problem.

Q. What do you think about the Red Bulls being at the back end of the top ten?

JB: I don't know what fuel they are on, but I am guessing they are going quite long. In Q2 they were quite quick, but my team-mate is my main rival if the Red Bulls are not performing. Rubens is up in fourth and is doing a good job, so that's it.

Q. Has anything changed in the last few races with the car to make it not to your liking?

JB: No. We change things on the car at every race we go to, aerodynamically, but it is the same on both cars.

Q. Do you keep saying to yourself, 'I'm 18 points clear, I've still got a huge advantage?' and keep smiling?

JB: No, because it is not a huge advantage. I lost eight points to Rubens at the last race, which was frustrating even though it wasn't down to the pace. Here I don't have the pace, and he is starting fourth and I am starting outside the top ten. Even if the positions stay as they are, he is going to gain a lot of points for me this race. It is a lead that is going to disappear very quickly if we start having bad weekends, but at the moment I cannot do anything about it.

Q. But you still back your own ability to pull things out of the bag when the car lets you?

JB: Yeah, for sure. I've won six races this season and the only person to have won more than two. So, yes. But, at the moment, I cannot get the pace out of the car. It is something we need to look at. We have a couple of weeks before Monza and hopefully we can find out the reasons. The car doesn't feel to me like it did earlier in the season. We had a couple of cold races but since it has been warmer, I still can't find a good balance.

Q. This is a circuit you like though...

JB: Yeah, that is why it is frustrating I am so far back. But that is the way it is - it doesn't matter where it is. I am starting 14th on the grid and getting points is going to be very difficult. It is a strange situation this weekend because there are a lot of cars at the front that you would not expect to be at the front. You would expect the Red Bulls to be on pole by three or four tenths but they are not.

If you look at it, it looks like the cars who are quick are the cars who have been doing a lot of low fuel running this weekend. They have found their performance by doing set-up changes on low fuel and they have come through qualifying. I don't know what their race pace is going to be, but I am sure that a lot of the cars at the front, their race pace will not be as good as the Red Bulls. The problem for me is that I am so far back.

Q. How much is your frustration growing now?

JB: Well, it is obviously not a good position to be in. I am leading by quite a bit but with a couple of bad races that will be it. So, it is frustrating but there is also no use in thinking about it too much. You have to concentrate on trying to improve the situation, and that is exactly what I am going to be trying to do.

Q. Does Rubens have a different set-up to you?

JB: We have a different set-up but it is not that different. If you look at Q2, he was four tenths quicker than me. I made a mistake which cost me a few tenths but still I am not on his pace. He has a different set-up, but it is not all set-up for sure.

Q & A with Luca Badoer
Previous article

Q & A with Luca Badoer

Next article

Button fears for championship lead

Button fears for championship lead
Load comments
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great Plus

How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great

John Surtees and Enzo Ferrari parted ways amicably but could have achieved more together. On the weekend that Formula 1 makes its bow in Qatar, a country best-known for staging bike racing, NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the career of the formidable ‘Big John’ - the first man to achieve success at the highest level on two and four wheels

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2021