F1 convert Jenson Button 'can't wish for more' from Super GT 2018

Formula 1 convert Jenson Button says he "couldn't have wished for more" from his maiden Super GT campaign after taking the championship lead last weekend

F1 convert Jenson Button 'can't wish for more' from Super GT 2018

Button and Kunimitsu team-mate Naoki Yamamoto finished second at Suzuka, behind the sister Honda of Tomoki Nojiri and Takuya Izawa.

It was Button's and Yamamoto's second podium of the season after they finished runner-up in the season opener at Okayama last month and it propelled them to the top of the drivers' standings by one point over NISMO duo Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli.

"It's great," Button said. "We really wish we won this race. The first race was so close [to a win], this race so close. But it's racing and you've just got to move on.

"We got some good points and leading the championship, you can't wish for more. So I'm very happy."

Button briefly lost second place to TOM'S driver Nick Cassidy while struggling to get his hard Bridgestone tyres up to temperature at a restart.

"I was on a hard tyre so to get tyres up to temperature was very difficult because the safety car is so slow," he said.

"If I had soft tyres, [it would have been] OK. But I had a big oversteer before the straight and almost spun the car. So it's tough.

"Kazuki [Nakajima] and Matsuda spun the car [on Saturday] on cold tyres. [Hideki] Mutoh crashed on cold tyres [in the race] and [Bertrand] Baguette spun on cold tyres.

"It's so difficult on these cars. It's something very difficult to any other type of racing.

"But it's learning, it's experience. Because of my problems, we put Naoki on the soft tyres, so it worked."

Honda has compared the impact of Button's Super GT presence to having a Japanese driver in F1.

Button's association with Honda stretches back to his first BAR season in 2003 and his Honda Super GT campaign this year is his first full-time commitment since leaving F1.

Honda's motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto told Autosport his company's bid to find a new grand prix driver is built on a desire to boost motorsport's popularity in Japan and that Button was helping with that too.

"It's a bit similar to having a Japanese driver in F1," said Yamamoto. "We want to make motorsport popular.

"JB is very known, he's very popular in Japan.

"Having him in Super GT, and a close relationship with Honda, gives fans a good impression of motorsport and makes it more well known in society.

"He helps with [promoting Honda's road car] mass production as well.

"So, he's a really good ambassador for Honda and we are really happy with him."

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Author Tomohiro Yoshita
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