Button: This one is a special victory
Jenson Button says that his victory in the Australian GP was a special one, not just because it was the first for his new team.
Button jumped up to second place with a great call on a tire change, and then inherited the lead when Sebastian Vettel spun off.
“This one is a special victory because I’ve only been with this team for a short period of time but this is one of the main reasons why I wanted to be here. I think that the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team is pretty much always fighting it out for victories and as a driver you want to be in that situation.
“But on the other hand, I think the conditions helped us in this race, definitely. We’re not in the position to go to the next two or three races and walk away with victories, so we’ve got to enjoy this moment and think that we’ve got some good points when we’re not the quickest and we’ve got to work on the areas where we think we’re weak. We’re doing that right now and I think that every race we go to from here we will be closer and closer to the front when it comes to qualifying and hopefully race pace is pretty much there now.”
Jenson said that he couldn’t compare this win with last year’s debut success with Brawn: “You can’t really compare victories like that. They are both very special but they are very different and the emotions that were going through my head before and after the race were very different also than last year.
Button conceded that he didn’t expect to win so early in his McLaren career.
“I thought it would take longer than this, but a lot of it depends on what sort of car you come out of the box with,” he said. “This race was obviously unusual. I don’t know where we would stand in general pace but it’s not what all racing is about. It’s about strategy, it’s about thinking and it’s about conserving and we did it correctly today and we came away with a good victory. This is very special. Whatever happens over the next few races, this means a lot to me, to be in this position right now. After being with one team for seven years and clinching the title and here, after two races, getting a victory is very special to me.
“A lot of that goes to the team for their efforts and making me feel welcome within the team, because that’s something I do need, to be competitive, and I have that. So now we’ve just got to look at improving the car because out and outright pace in qualifying is something that we’re lacking a little bit, so it’s an area we desperately need to work on.
“When you can get good points’ finishes like this it really does mean a lot to you when you don’t have a car that you think is quick enough to win races every weekend, so these are important points for us and we’ve just got to work hard and hope that we can bring some good packages to the next few races.”
Button had an eventful race, and admitted that he initially thought his tire choice hadn’t paid off.
“The start of the race wasn’t perfect for me. I touched with Fernando at turn one. I was half-way alongside him on the inside and I don’t know if he just couldn’t see me because of the mirrors. I don’t know what, but we touched. It obviously cost him a lot of time and it cost me a lot of time. It wasn’t the best start to the race and then on the inters I was really struggling. I just did not have a balance. A lot of oversteer in the car.
“There were very strange grip levels out there on the tire and I was really, really struggling. I could see a dry line appearing in most places and at the rate my rear tires were going away I knew there must have been enough grip for slicks. I made the call to pit early as I thought if I don’t pit early I am just going to keep going backwards. I thought it was a terrible call initially as the pit lane was so wet and after my first lap out of the pits I thought it was a pretty catastrophic mistake.
“But after that I could get into it. I found on the dry parts I could push pretty hard and then really it was about picking people off as they came out onto the circuit. It was a nice feeling as they are searching for the grip and I know where it is and I am able to overtake. It was a good feeling.”
Adam Cooper notched up his 25th season as a racing journalist in 2009. Adam has written books about Eddie Irvine, Piers Courage and Michael Schumacher and hosts a race preview show on Sirius XM. He has written about F1 for SPEEDtv.com since 2005.