Budapest has always been special place for Jenson Button: it was here that he took his first Grand Prix win five years ago – and it is here that he has taken victory in his 200th Grand Prix. Button is well known as a driver able to triumph in difficult conditions, but today he insists the conditions had little to do with it – McLaren’s MP4-26 has simply got the measure of Red Bull’s RB7…
Q: Jenson, it is not often that big days go as you want them to go, so how does it feel having completed your 200th Grand Prix – and to have won it?
Jenson Button: To be fair, amazing! You couldn’t write any better story in a history about me. (laughs) I had a great day. I really enjoyed fighting with Seb (Vettel) and Lewis (Hamilton) out there. It’s been such tricky conditions and to be honest those spits of rain didn’t help my cause really, despite what people probably believe. At each stint I looked after the tyres and was hoping that it would dry – but it didn’t and that obviously made the racing very exciting. I had a very good battle with Lewis again – very fair – and finally got away with the victory on my 200th Grand Prix.
Q: Obviously there are not many teams – and drivers – out there who might be so respectful to each other. When you fight with Lewis, do you know that it will be a clean fight?
JB: It is always respectful and I hope that it will stay that way. You know, when he spun for one moment I thought that I would wait for him… (laughs)
Q: When looking at this race and the one a week ago at Nurburgring, do you have the feeling that McLaren are closing in on the Red Bulls?
JB: Well, we’ve won three out of the last five races, so yes, it is looking pretty good for us. It is just a pity for me that I had these reliability issues at the last two races and that probably ruined my championship. I am a long way behind Seb, so actually I’ve got to beat him at every race – and that is exactly what I am going to do. Red Bull should be really worried because I think that we are closing in on them in the race and in qualifying. I am very thankful to the team, as they’ve done a brilliant job – not only in the race but also for qualifying. They’ve done a fantastic job over the last couple of races, so this victory is a good way of going into the summer break.
Q: Your prime tyre lasted for 28 laps. That looked like a gamble…
JB: It was not a gamble at all. I looked after my tyres very well the whole race long.
Q: When you say that you were looking after your tyres, how difficult was it not to get distracted by the changing conditions and just do your own race?
JB: It was tricky indeed, particularly the first stint when it was really slippery. So in the end I wouldn’t say the conditions made my day, but the speed of my car (did).
Q: You were on primes when it started to rain at the end of the race. How tempted were you to pit for inters?
JB: I wasn’t – even though the team had called me in. When I first put the prime on I was shocked that we pitted so early and I asked the team why they pitted me so early. Lewis had even pitted a lap before me. But they told me that it was okay, that it was the plan, and very soon I understood why they’d done it. The car felt really good and I knew that it would go on. It was, of course, the right strategy, but the car was also very fast – without that no strategy helps.
Q: Two McLaren wins within a week – does that mean that McLaren is in the race again?
JB: Looks like it. Probably it looks a bit bleak for me, but believe me the guys will do anything to get a great car for the next race in Spa after the summer break and I am sure that we will have a great package there.
Q: You must be up for a serious party tonight. What’s the plan?
JB: I am sure that the ‘Team Button’ will spend a great evening: my family, close friends, and of course my girlfriend.
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