Button: Avoiding mistakes key to title

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Championship leader Jenson Button says avoiding mistakes during race weekends will put him in a good position to win this year’s championship.

Speaking after his second race win of 2010 he said:

What’s most important is that we didn’t really make any mistakes in China we didn’t really drop the ball. And I know from experience that it’s the way you protect yourself from problems over a race weekend that will help you in the championship.

You can have a great race one weekend, but if you follow it up with a bad qualifying lap and a bad race, then you’re wasting points. We need to look at this championship, make sure that we learn from every lap and try to make fewer mistakes than the rest.
Jenson Button

He added that his visit to the McLaren base ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix helped him get the car’s set-up to his liking at Shanghai – though it didn’t come together until late in the day:

We still had to sort of explore quite a bit in practice in China, and we only really got a good handle on the car by the time we got into Q3 on Saturday.

But I think it’s more about the knowledge that we gain; each time we run the car we learn something new, and we?re able to apply that extra knowledge to each lap that we do. I’ve said it before, this is still a learning process for me, and, hopefully, I can improve all the time.
Jenson Button

Button also said that it wasn’t until the final pre-season test at Barcelona, when a significant aerodynamic upgrade was added to the car, that he realised how competitive the MP4-25 would be.

But he feels more can still be done to improve the car over the coming races:

We’ve not got everything right – but the fact that we’ve admitted that, and just got on and learned from it, has been a very valuable experience.

And we’re not relaxing now – we might have some difficulties getting the people, the cars and the freight home before Barcelona, but that won’t stop the efforts we’re making to be even more competitive when we return to Europe.
Jenson Button

Team mate Lewis Hamilton echoed his thoughts about the car, saying:

We have a lot of developments in the pipeline; we’ve got quite a few changes for Barcelona and I think we can be right up there. We still really need to focus on our qualifying pace: we made some improvements in China, but there’s still a way to go. We’ll get there though.

Most of all, I know I can win races in this car – the car still feels so planted, more than any Formula 1 car I’ve driven, and I’m sure those victories will come.
Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton said the car’s performance under braking helped him racked 32 overtaking moves in the first four races:

I really hope the fans have enjoyed the racing – if I was watching from the grandstands, or on the TV, I’d love to see lots of overtaking. And it’s always fun to see someone ahead of you, and work out how you’re going to get past.

I have to say that I’m helped by this year’s car – it really gives you the confidence you need to attack. And it feels extremely strong under braking, so it does make it easier to successfully pull off a good move.
Lewis Hamilton

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Button: Avoiding mistakes key to title”

  1. Has my computer gone mad- everytime there is an ‘ there is a massive gap until the lasp lot of quotes?
    Anyway thanks very much Keith!

    1. Hmm – they weren’t displaying properly in Internet Explorer for some reason. Fine in Firefox and Chrome. Have re-done the text and it looks fine now.

      1. Thanks Keith! It was fine to read just I always wonder if there’s something wrong with my erratic computer in these situations

  2. Seems an appropriate time to say this;

    I apologise to Jenson for doubting you and saying you were finished in 08 when you were standing dejected next to a flaming Honda Earth car, while your fellow countryman was celebrating winning the title.

    I apologise for saying your first win for brawn was a fluke and you woudnt be able to go all the way because you would be distracted, you certainly proved me wrong last year and I’m glad you did, another excelant embassador from Britain for the sport.

    I apologise for saying you made a mistake joining mclaren alongside Hamilton, but 2 victories out of 4 races speaks for itself, top of the league going to Europe again, I see no reason as why you can’t repeat 09, keep it up Jenson I’m glad your constant plugging away in your early F1 carreer is finally being rewarded, you as they say have made me eat my words.

    1. well amen to that!

    2. The Genuine Jim
      22nd April 2010, 16:46

      “I apologise for saying you made a mistake joining mclaren alongside Hamilton…”

      I suspect many F1 fans have been eating their bowlers for breakfast recently, myself included. I thought he would be minced by Hamilton, but Jenson’s on another level these days. He struggled for years, achieved the ultimate, and now has nothing more to prove to others or himself – it’s all fun for him now I think. The pressure got to him towards the end of ’09, then the weight was lifted, and I think his results this year speak for themselves.

      1. I think there where a few who had an idea, Ross Brawn maybe? He backed Jenson before Australia, prophetically as it turned out.

        Not me though, I thought he was going to be Coulthard with a title, race winning capable, but with only a smattering of wins a year, perenially to be a second placer. That, an I really wanted Raikkonen back, Hamilton an Raikkonen, what a dream team, still turns out differing driver styles is a fantastic thing, great to have two drivers approaching racing masterfully from both sides of the spectrum, I’m glad your hear now.

    3. I have huge respect for anybody who can admit they we/are wrong! Everybody else who was wrong should join you calum. It deserves comment of the day Keith!

      1. We’re only 4 races in, let’s wait until the season is over before we assess who was ‘wrong’.

    4. Well said Calum. If we’re allowed to nominate CotD then you’ve got my vote and respect!
      I was completely wrong too in 08 and 09 about him. I didn’t think he coudl really compete with Hamilton, I thought they’d be close but Ham would always be ahead. I don’t have a hat but if I did I would eat it. I apologise to Jenson and his fans too for lack of faith. The worst thing is to underestimate someone.

    5. I’ve never doubted Button’s ability itself, just his ability to hold his own with the big boys of F1. He’s proven he can do that so far, but what if he just gets left behind for the rest of the season?

      He’s won two races, but with a little more luck than is usual in the process. In the other two races, he didn’t impress at all.

      I think anyone who thought he wasn’t capable has certainly been proved wrong, but we still have to see over a full season, with everything averaged out, where Button stands with the rest. He’s world champion material, but can he claim to be one of the best of his era?

      Anyway Jenson, sorry for expecting you to be at most 4th in the table by now :P If anyone is going to beat Hamilton to the title this year, I hope it’s you!

    6. Well said mate!

      1. Button held a lot of promise early in his career, his talent and style made headlines and were genuine. if he was bad at something, it was picking a team and signing long term contracts…had he been advised more wisely on contracts, i’m sure he would already have had a title in his pocket at least prior to 2009.

        but once in a capable car, he proved that he knew how to use it…

        good for him, and for those who bad mouthed him… well you were wrong on a multitude of levels…

        Jenson is Cool, both in character and racecraft. Hamilton is the total opposite…but had a cracking manager…

    7. I was another who thought that Button would get absolutely mauled by Hamilton, but Button has surprised and pleased me. I have also been wrong.

  3. Button’s right on the mark here.

    In two races he made the right tyre call (though practically forced to in Australia), and won both times because of it. Whereas in Malaysia, his weakest performance so far, he spun in qualifying whilst his team-mate came out too late to set a competitive time. Such are the rewards of not making mistakes, and the punishments of making them.

    Part 1 of the season has gone to Button, but if we get quite a few more “normal” races like Bahrain, can he keep ahead?

    1. If Red Bull get together, Mercedes finds a new equilibrium and Ferrari keep going on, it will be very important for Button to show raw pace instead to accompany strong tactical abilities in the races to come.

      I must say he has been great so far and allthough I still don’t doubt Hamilton is the better driver (as far as speed goes), I believe Button could well hold his own (if he avoids mistakes!).

      Loving this season up to now!

      Weird seeing Hamilton giving credit for his passes on the car. I’d guess most of the credits would go to him needing to charge through (and of course his ability to do so. But let’s face it, he HAD to do it or he would be with Schumacher in the standings).

      Never mind though, it’s just that I prefer when drivers admit they think they’re some kind of god.(which is necessary to be good in F1 anyway)

  4. As I said before the season, if the car is good, Button would be excellent, and his precision might drive Hamilton to madness or foolishness. But if the car were again ill-handling, Hamilton would show his exceptional skill. With the car seeming good, Button is showing well. But if McLaren goes down a bad development path, as Brawn did last year for a bit, I expect Button will again see trouble vis a vis a competent teammate.

    Generally, in good cars, there is not much to choose from among the top 5 to 10 drivers. We saw that with Hamilton v. Alonso v. Massa v. Raikkonen a couple years ago. Its the ability get it done with a bad car, in the rain, on shot tires, that sets the drivers apart. That is why Dennis hired Hamilton and Ferrari got Alonso.

  5. Of course we’ve seen several races that were pretty much a lottery due to the weather and then indeed the right call can make a big difference.

    If it’s a dry race, I fear we will see more results along the line of Bahrain.

    The difference is also that Hamilton has corrected mistakes by his racers instinct. I’m not convinced Buton will be able to do the same.

    I feel the situation with Alonso and Massa is similar to Hamilton and Button. Massa and Button have scored points by making less mistakes, but they haven’t really impressed with outright pace.

    It’s similar to Kubica leading the championship in 2008. He won one race because Hamilton couldn’t see a red light and he was leading the championship. In a car that wasn’t really able to challenge for the lead. Once there were a few less error prone races gone, his lead was gone and he was trailing the faster cars pretty quickly.

    1. In both cases it had a lot to do with the team stopping development to get on with the season after.
      Brawn switched development to this years car mid season because he was that far in front, with only about 10% of capacity left to react to weak points in the car.
      BMW in 2008 made its target of a victory and was not interested in fighting for the WDC, it was not their target for that year but for the next. So they more or less stopped developing the car.

      1. Shame they didn’t *start* developing the ’09 car then really. ;)

  6. That a boy Jens, who was it here that said, podium finishes will win it not points?
    Jens might not go up there all the time but his driving sure grants saving the car on the road, unlike some in the sport.
    He made me a fan in his Bar days, a supporter in Brawn, and a believer this season.

  7. jenson button has definately been the man with the plan, since last year , i always liked jenson (not just saying that), but when he got that wet win in hungary i taught that was his career highlight, but lets hope JB keeps this up.

  8. I think it is awsome how Button has preforemed this year thus far. After all the crap about how he would pale when he left Brawn.

  9. Having loved Button’s down to earth demeanor since his days at BAR, I suffered through watching him at the back of the grid and scraping for points– and then when he was winning, having to hear others say he wasn’t worthy. Even if he doesn’t win the championship again this year, he deserves the respect of his current title.

  10. 32 overtaking?
    Can anyone tell how many did Alonso & Webber did?

  11. I must say Button is proving his change to McLaren was the right move for him. In a Mercedes he would probably be struggling only on some 10-30 points.
    Instead he rose to the challenge, made McLaren get the team right for both of them, built a good working relation with Lewis (for now), probably because Lewis underestimaded him as well and gained the respect of the Team.
    I have the feeling he is just getting better with confidence from the WDC and his lucky/rightly judged in not too good circumstances tyre choices brought him 2 wins as well as ending in front of Lewis where it mattered most.

    Looks like he is in for another few years at the top. Lewis can learn by looking at the thinking going on, something he did not see in Alonso, as Fred was in rage for half the season.
    Looks like McLaren really did get a dream team together.

    1. I read somewhere (pit lane reporter?) that Hamilton has, since the beginning of the season, let Button take the role of the wiser speaker and reigning champion in public appearances.

  12. Hamilton said in a recent interview that he needs to start taking the easy route in the races. It’s all very well having 32 overtakes to your name, but they don’t amount to anything in a championship.

    Button seems to like taking the easy route, but he can also do the overtaking stuff as well as anyone out there.

    1. “Button seems to like taking the easy route,..”

      I was also quite amused by those comments from Hamilton… easy route haha..

      well im sorry Mr Hamilton but its nothing to do with easy route, its called being smart and “using your head” route.

      1. The Barcelona track will not be Hamilton’s best friend.

        It’s abrasive and it’s a tyre killer and he may find himself, along with the RedBulls, diving into the pits to change soft tyres for hard tyres long before the likes of Button and both Ferrari’s feel the need to do likewise.

        If anyone thought that dry races were going to give Hamilton a break then they need to think again.

        1. “It’s abrasive and it’s a tyre killer and he may find himself, along with the RedBulls, diving into the pits to change soft tyres for hard tyres long before the likes of Button and both Ferrari’s feel the need to do likewise.

          If anyone thought that dry races were going to give Hamilton a break then they need to think again.”

          That is a very good point. Technically, the more aggressive drivers should suffer tyre degradation sooner, especially on the circuits as you described..

          I have to say that Hamiton has done a really good race while passing many cars, however Button has shown that he can match everything Hamilton was doing under identical conditions, especially towards the end of last race, while at the same time he was smooth and professional with his racing while under pressure. Button has definitely matured a lot over the years and has become a lot better person and a driver as a result. I’m quite impressed in both of those.

  13. Long may the development and update war continue…

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