SHANGHAI // Jenson Button has taken no time at all getting used to being regarded as Formula One's man to beat, a position cemented by yesterday's decision that the rear diffuser on his Brawn GP was legal. The Briton has won the first two races of the season in Australia and Malaysia and, with the controversial diffuser row now out of the way, was clearly bursting with confidence ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.
"It was a nice feeling to put it behind us and now we can concentrate on our proper job," Button, 29, said today. "I didn't expect another outcome, you're obviously a little bit nervous but it wasn't a shock when I found out. It was a little bit of a relief." Although it was the first time in his nine-year career that he was expected to win races, Button said there was no danger he would become anxious about fulfilling expectations.
"It's quite weird how after two pretty poor seasons you can get used to being at the front. It becomes quite normal, quite quickly," he said. "If I go into the race weekend and I don't win the race, it will be a slight disappointment but then you've got to think it's a 17-race championship," he added. "If you go out to win every race and you're disappointed with finishing second or third or even a little bit worse, you haven't got the right mentality."
Button leads the drivers' championship by five points from Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello after only receiving half points for his victory in the rain-curtailed Malaysia race and expects rival teams to be closing the gap before long. "I'm sure people will get their act together pretty quickly, but we've got a head start," he said. Button finished second behind Barrichello in Shanghai in 2004 and drove an impressive race in the rain to claim fourth place on the same track two years later.
"I really like [the track], it's quite a similar circuit to Malaysia and I think if you are competitive there you should go pretty well here," he said. He did, of course, go well in Malaysia, but his efforts were nearly undone by the torrential rain that ended the race early, an experience he does not want to experience again on Sunday. "I'm hoping it's dry all weekend. Maybe I should stop saying that, though, because it doesn't seem to be helping." *Reuters