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Interview with Jenson Button: China win ‘very special’



Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix saw a one-two victory, but not from the team that most had expected. For McLaren’s Jenson Button it was the second triumph of the season, making him the only driver so far to score a double win in 2010. For a man who some suggested was ‘the wrong’ champion last year, the satisfaction of proving those doubters wrong must be huge…

Q: Jenson, it must have been an amazing race for you and the team…
Jenson Button: Yes indeed it was. We made the right call at the start of the race with the tyre choice – it was quite funny because I was giggling to myself when I was leading the race on the second safety car knowing that we’ve got it right. And when, towards the end of the race, we’d put the wet tyres on my pace was very good and I was pulling away, having a ten second lead on Lewis (Hamilton). If it hadn’t started raining again it would have been fine – we would have cruised it home – but I made a mistake into the hairpin because I locked up the fronts – I had no front tyres left and from then on I had no tyre temperature. That means you fly over the surface of the track, so the last two laps were very tricky for me, but I could see on the TV screens how far Lewis was behind me and that made me bring home the car very gently. It means a lot for me to win here. Leaving China with the lead in the championship is very special. The team was always working flat out, but this win will add to how they feel and to how they will improve the car for the next race in Barcelona.

Q: But after qualifying it didn’t look all that rosy…

JB: Yes, we qualified fifth and sixth knowing that we should have done better, but then came in with a one-two in the race – that is really very special. It was very nice to get this victory and it will inspire us for the races ahead.

Q: How does it feel to win two out of four races for your new team?

JB: Very special. It’s my first victory here – I missed out on that last year – and it feels so good as I’ve always enjoyed racing here. As I said before we made the right choices – the strategy today was all about tyres. Our pace was equally good on the dries and on the wets and only the last couple of laps were difficult, but that was the situation, when I almost carried the car home, and from what I’ve heard Lewis did the same. It was the first time that Lewis and myself have been together on the podium and it felt just great, so many more of these, please!

Q: This track has had seven different winners – nobody has ever won here twice, so it must be a very special track for the drivers…

JB: It is. But that is also due to the conditions, especially since this race has changed to an April race. It is very tricky when it rains – your wets almost end up as slicks and the racing line narrows with every lap as there is so much water staying on the track. It was so good to bring it home and I’m so glad that everybody is staying tonight in Shanghai – well, of course, they have no choice.

Q: You recently said that you wished for a one-two for McLaren, but did you really think it was going to happen here?

JB: When it was clear that there definitely would be difficult conditions there was always the possibility of something unexpected happening – and we are both very good in difficult conditions. And we brought it home!

Q: After qualifying you said that if you could make a wish you would want a wet race…
JB: I knew that the set-up I had in qualifying would suit wet conditions, even though I’d not done it for the purpose of wet conditions – it was just a huge positive for an eventual wet race. And now leading the championship after four races, I only can say ‘wow!’ I only had one more victory at that point last year!

Q: Are you the new rain god? First Melbourne and then here…

JB: I don’t know anything about a new rain god. We simply got it right – and there are many things that you have to get right to win a race: we read the conditions right, we looked after the tyres when we had to and we had the aero-pace. I have to say a big thanks to all the people in the team and of course a big thank you also to Mercedes. It was also a memorable day for them: making the whole podium! Now we are looking forward to Barcelona.

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