Q & A with Jenson Button

World champion Jenson Button completed his preparations for his title defence by declaring himself happy with the development of his new McLaren MP4-25

Q & A with Jenson Button

But the Briton admitted to reporters afterwards that much like many others up and down the pitlane, he wished he'd more time with the latest version of his car as he hands over to Lewis Hamilton for the final day's testing ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix. AUTOSPORT was there to hear what he had to say.

Q. Jenson, you had some new parts on the car today. How were they and how was your day?

Jenson Button: This morning was frustrating because it was wet, but it wasn't wet enough to get any useful running in. It was greasy and it was the worst possible condition we could have. So it wasn't perfect, especially when you have an update on the car. So this afternoon we did one run which seemed okay. Then we thought we had to get into some mileage and reliability checks for a race distance, and get the boys into doing pit stops. Our race run was great.

We didn't get any red flags until the last couple of laps of the last stint, so the boys did a great job with reliability, but also with pit stops. It was quite fun because there were lots of other cars out on circuit doing the same thing, especially the Ferrari - and there was a bit of rain thrown in there as well for five or six laps.

So it was a lot of fun, and it is interesting to see what happens through the race - from 150-160kg down to low fuel. And it is about managing the tyres, managing the fuel load. There is a lot more you need to think about than last season.

In 2009 you had to think about looking after the tyres but it was over a 22 lap period. And you obviously had a lot less fuel in the car. Now it is very different because the car is very heavy, it is over twice that weight. It is going to be tricky, but we had a lot of useful information today. At the end we had some lower fuel runs - and there is definitely more to come from this car.

We went from having high fuel in the car to going out and doing some low fuel runs, and it is very difficult because you haven't done any set-up work. The day was too short for me really. I would rather have another day of testing. I know what I would do to the car to improve it, and hopefully Lewis will be testing a few things that will be useful tomorrow. Because out of the box, with a new package, to be as consistent as we are and the pace we have, I am happy. I don't think we are at our maximum yet, but we will do our best tomorrow to get the maximum out of the car.

Q. You have no more testing now before Bahrain. Do you travel there confident that can defend your title?

JB: After tomorrow, I can tell you a bit more. This is all still very new, the actual car that we are driving now. We will see tomorrow, with a few set-up changes. I think the set-up changes that the team are thinking about could help us quite a bit tomorrow - and help the balance of the car. Our long run pace - I am happy with. There is still room for improvement for sure. We are not getting the best out of the package we have, and that is what we have to do tomorrow.

Q. Is there any specific area that you feel you have to work on?

JB: No, I think it is just more time with this car - with this update on the car. More mileage, because it is a good update. It is a good amount. But it is just getting the best out of it, and we are not yet. We haven't done enough laps and enough set-up work.

Q. But do you feel the baseline potential is there with this car now?

JB: I hope so! I think that if you look at the times today, the long runs, the Ferrari is competitive but we all knew that. Others, I don't really know about. It is difficult. I think the Sauber is going to surprise a few people, I think it is quicker than most people think and I think they will be up there at the first race. So, there could be five or six teams who are competitive, and it is still all a bit of a guessing game at the moment and it will be until we qualify on Saturday in Bahrain. That is exciting I think. It is great for the sport, and I think it is exciting for the fans of F1, and all of us involved, because we don't really know what is going to happen.

Q. Are you speaking to Lewis Hamilton tonight?

JB: Yes. He is in the motorhome and we've got meetings. I should be there actually!

Q. How are things going with Lewis?

JB: Really good. The thing is we are really open with our opinions, and also with our feedback. So it is a good situation to be in.

Q. Do you see Fernando Alonso being as strong as he says he is?

JB: Yes. In reality, we don't know how good that is. I am happy with the balance. I am happy with the car we have, but I don't think we are getting the maximum out of the package we have [now]. Ferrari will be quick and Fernando will definitely be quick, as will Felipe - who are very experienced drivers and immensely talented. So they will be getting the best out of the car, and we will be doing the same. It's just we haven't had enough time with the package we used today.

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