Q & A with Jenson Button

World championship leader Jenson Button completed the first day of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend second fastest overall and confident of his pace ahead of a massive weekend for him

In a press briefing after practice, the Briton, who can clinch the title on Sunday with third place, explained why he remained focussed on producing a strong qualifying performance, and that the emphasis for a strong result was more on his title rivals, Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel, than himself. AUTOSPORT was there to hear what he had to say.

Q. How was the balance of the car today?

Jenson Button: 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.

Q. So what does that mean for qualifying and the race?

JB: It means we need to sort our balance out on the softer tyre. I think during the race the better tyre will probably be the prime, and our race pace is looking very good. But qualifying is something we need to work on, because I am not comfortable with the tyre yet. We need to find out the reasons why the tyres are so different, and maybe the balance changes I need to do to run both tyres is too big. We need to work out why.

Q. Looking back over the season, do you think your season has been one of highs and lows, or has it been simply consistent?

JB: I've scored points in almost every race but there are highs and lows still. Winning races are always highs - so of course there are highs and lows. That is the way a championship normally is - except if it is 2004 and you are Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari. He won pretty much all the races! It's been a very exciting year for F1 this year because you've had many different winners, and it's been a very close pack. When someone brings an upgrade to one circuit and no-one else does, they leap forward two or three teams. So it is a really interesting season and it makes it very difficult to know what to do with your car set-up over a race weekend, and your strategy for the weekend. KERS cars don't help either.

Q. Sebastian Vettel has said he is not shaving until the championship is over. Are you doing anything superstitious like that?

JB: No, I'm not superstitious at all. I get in from the same side of the car always, but that is because I get in from the right hand side of the car - and I always have. But I am not a superstitious person at all.

Q. As an Englishman, would you like grey skies and for it to be a bit rainy here?

JB: I haven't lived in England for about 10 years, but it is interesting to see if it will be wet here. The thing is the Red Bull will have more of an advantage if it is wet. But if it is in-between, which it has been today, it could make the race very interesting - and quite a bit of fun.

Q. From the television pictures today, we could see that you were fully focused on all the times and information. Is it a hard weekend to concentrate?

JB: 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.

Q. You said you are not completely comfortable with the car. How competitive is it?

JB: 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. And on one lap, I haven't got a balance yet. 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.

Q. How would you describe Rubens?

JB: He is obviously a very talented driver. He has a lot of experience in the sport. As team-mates we get on very well but we are very competitive people - and I could not imagine a more competitive person as a team-mate. He is a tough competitor but it is good to have a competitive team-mate. If you don't have a competitive team-mate it doesn't push you hard enough. So having him in the team is great, and I've never had a team-mate that pushed me so hard.

Q. You finished on the podium here in 2006. That is the goal you have here isn't it to win the championship?

JB: 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. 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.

Q. So do you have a more conservative strategy here?

JB: With the strategy, I can't say. I have got some work to do tomorrow to improve the feeling on the softer tyres. The hard tyre I am very happy with and we have a good balance for the race, but on the soft tyre I have to do some work to improve my qualifying pace. 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.

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