Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jenson Button Q&A: Korea will be better for McLaren

McLaren’s Jenson Button took a gamble on tyre strategy in Japan. It didn’t really work out, but he still finished fourth - the best result he thinks he could have realistically hoped for. Whether that fourth place signals the end of his title hopes remains to be seen. For now he just has to rely on the MP4-25’s competitiveness improving at the next round in Korea…

Q: Jenson, do feel that your tyre strategy worked out today?
Jenson Button: Not really. People on the option didn’t struggle at all at the beginning of the race. So no, the strategy didn’t really pay off. Disappointing, really. I think we stayed out too long. I think as soon as we saw that people were quick on their options at the start of the race and I was not able to pull a gap or pressure anyone - especially Alonso - maybe we should have pitted. But you never know. Probably we should have pitted to put the options on but we stayed on the prime. I am a little bit disappointed and we have to look at the reason why we didn’t do it earlier.

Q You started fifth and finished fourth. That sounds reasonable - and yet still there is no happy face…
JB: At first glance that might not look too bad, but we are in the fight for the championship and then you should cover the people that you are racing. We didn’t do that. We have to look at the data and look at the reasons for that. At the end of the race we put the options on and I had a lot of grip and the car was very fast. But still we haven’t been quick enough today - not compared to the Red Bulls and the Ferrari.

Q: Does that suggest that with a different strategy you probably would have been on the podium?
JB: No. I was just wondering… Again, we have to look at the data. In fact it was a pretty tough race and it was really run when we had the options on. I don’t mean that we would have finished further up - it is just useful information for the future.

Q: After today’s race it seems that the championship battle has become a bit more difficult. You are in P5 at the moment, 31 points behind Mark Webber…
JB: I am in the same position I was in before I came into the race, but it is definitely becoming more difficult. The two Red Bulls were unbeatable today and Fernando (Alonso) was very quick in the Ferrari, so we just can hope that if we put a package on the car in Korea that we will get the best out of it. We came here with a lot of different new parts and some of them worked out well while others still need a bit of work. Hopefully when we get to Korea we will have the advantage that we hoped we would have here.

Q: How do you see the championship battle and being able to defend your title?
JB: After today it has become very difficult and if we are not more competitive in Korea it looks pretty tough. Overall I would say that whatever strategy we would have played today, fourth place probably was the maximum for us today. My hope is that the new parts for Korea will put us ahead of the Red Bulls, but we have to wait and see.

Q: Three races to go: do you think that your car will become competitive enough to still be a serious contender?
JB: I don’t know. We are working as hard as we can and bringing as many improvements as we can. We should be competitive and probably have an advantage in Korea. Then we should be in good shape.

Q: Isn’t it true that this sport has always been a constructor’s sport?
JB: Of course it is important to be in a good car, to be in a competitive car, but then it boils down to the driver as you build the team around you and develop the car with the team. We win as a team and we lose as a team - and that’s the way this sport is!


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