Button: Starting the year strong for this team was really important

Jenson Button celebrates his Australian GP victory with the McLaren team

Jenson Button celebrates his Australian GP victory with the McLaren team

Mar.18 (Reuters) Jenson Button hailed a big boost for McLaren on Sunday after his Australian Grand Prix victory wiped away the early season struggles of the last two years.

Jenson Button was untouchable all afternoon at Albert Park

Jenson Button

The 32-year-old, F1 world champion with Brawn GP in 2009, won his third race in four years at Albert Park having started by powering past pole-sitting team mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished third in the season-opener.

More significantly, for a team that had to play catch-up with Red Bull last year, the Briton outpaced double world champion Sebastian Vettel after a mid-race safety car had robbed the McLaren driver of a 10-second cushion.

“Every race you win is special but starting the year strong for this team was really important,” said Button, whose victory was the 13th of his career.

“The last two years have been tricky coming into the first race. Obviously Lewis’ pole yesterday and the victory today puts us in a great position for the next few races. Fantastic day.”

Hamilton, however, made no attempt to disguise his disappointment, describing his own efforts as a “pretty poor standard compared to some others”.

“It was obviously a tough race but congratulations to Jenson, it was a great finish for him,” the 2008 world champion, who had a troubled season last year, told Sky TV.

Lewis Hamilton congratulates race winner and McLaren teammate Jenson Button

Lewis Hamilton congratulates race winner and McLaren teammate Jenson Button

“It would have been great to have a one-two but it just wasn’t the day for me. I just struggled out there and got a shocking start which really was the beginning of it all.

“I’ve just got to re-focus and get my head down, there’s lots of races ahead. these championships it’s all about consistency and that’s what I’m going to focus on.”

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh was delighted with Button’s performance and said the team had some responsibility for Hamilton’s poor start.

“I think Lewis was a little bit unlucky at the start,” he said. “Bogged down just a little bit and that was a combination of him and our engineers.”

Button’s performance, he thought, marked him out as a strong contender for a second world title to add to the one he won for Brawn GP in 2009.

“Jenson in particular I think stands out,” Whitmarsh said. “Just the calmness with which he controlled his pace, Sebastian got within three seconds and he just stretched it again. He ended the weekend with the fastest lap in the race.

Jenson Button with his father John and his girlfriend Jessica Michibata at Australian GP *** Local Caption *** +++ www.hoch-zwei.net +++ copyright: HOCH ZWEI +++

Jenson Button celebrates with his father John and his girlfriend Jessica Michibata

“People underestimate him, he’s such a calm, mature and easygoing fellow that people don’t realise necessarily the hunger that’s in him to compete and to win.

“I think he’s just got stronger and stronger since he’s been in our team and he must now fancy his chances for a real championship assault this year.”

As for the team, which finished a distant second in the constructors’ championship last year, Whitmarsh agreed with Button that a good start had been key.

“We’ve had a great win and we’ve proved we’ve got a great car and to start the year with a win like that really gives confidence to the team and the belief within the team that we can really take this championship.

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  • kaka007

    looking at the 1st picture, lewis is not at all happy even though he is smiling

  • Selvam

    Yes.. Even in the podium celebration he didn’t engage himself much.. Lucky day for Vettel, but sad to see mclaren pit stop strategy didn’t pay them…

  • Obvious

    Not sure if it was so much strategy mismanage for HAM, or more a bit of bad luck with the timing of the safety car coming when PetrovPuto ruined his car. none the less, if he doesn’t get his head screwed on screwed on straight, he’s going to be a permanent fixture in the stewards office once again this year.

    p.s. Michibata = WIN

  • Alex

    Good stuff for Jenson, always been with in one tenth of Hamilton whole weekend and delivered when it matters.

    Good too see Hamilton get a smile for team photo, cause his attitude after he got out of the car was disgusting, I don’t care if he hates to loose, but he is a World Champion and should act like one. Have some class please.

    Vettel and Alonso very professional.

  • Nemo

    @ Alex; Spot on comment. Lewis was out driven fair & square. Looks like we may need to wait another yr before he grows up

  • McLaren fan

    Jenson drove like Jessica Michibata had him on a promise.
    Lewis I thought even though he congratulated Jenson was real down I think the fact that Seb got the jump with the safety car was the thing he didn’t understand but like the rest I think he should remember it is a team sport and you win and lose together.

  • fools

    @ Mclaren Fan….”Jenson drove like Jessica Michibata had him on a promise.” haha aint that the truth. lol.

    Hamilton honestly lost it by starting off the grid slower then Button. Button pulled off 4 seconds within the 1st 1-3 lap. Hamilton lost pace. I agree he should be happy he still finished 3rd.

    I hope he does better in the future.

  • Obvious

    Yeh, point on.. Good lookin, my man.

    Regarding HAM, he wasn’t on Jenson’s pace all day. Buttoncould have turnied it on at any time, such as the penultimate lap.

    Whether it be head or skill, or more likely both, Hamilton won’t have a chance this year against his teammate, I feel. He doesn’t have the Calm, Cool, and Collected head as Jenson does. He isn’t capable, mentally, of being a multiple times champ at this level of skill,fame, and, money. Actually,I think few drivers on the grid are able to pull it off. Seb, Nando, Kimi (we’ll see, comebacks are tough), Jenson. Schumi before, was mentally on point, even though he is a super asshole (sorry), but now the old age reflex deterioration has set in, no chance.

    Kamui is on point,but he has a advantage emotionally of being Japanese.

    Anyways… Jenson.. Right on.

  • Firoze Munzeer

    How come Hamiltons car did not have the same pace as Jenson’s car.

    Even from the first lap Button just pulled away from Hamilton. What did the engineers do wrong with the car setup. As Whitmarsh said quote “Bogged down just a little bit and that was a combination of him and our engineers.” Lewis did not have the pace to overtake the Red Bull of Vettel after the safety car pulled over.

  • McLaren fan

    @ Fools:

    If Jessica Michibata were waiting for me I would have finished half an hour ahead of Button.
    @ All:
    Jenson seem’s to have an inner calm and I think Jessica is keeping him that way he has said in the past she uses Japanese relaxation techniques on him.
    Lewis just didn’t seem to find the same flow as Jenson it might be gearing or balance only the team or Lewis will know for sure.