x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

British Button wants to seal a home win at Silverstone

The track should suit his car's strengths as the 2009 champion searches for first podium finish after a decade of trying.

Jenson Button, right, chats with colleagues in the McLaren team garage.
Jenson Button, right, chats with colleagues in the McLaren team garage.

LONDON // A perfect British Grand Prix afternoon for Jenson Button at Silverstone on Sunday would be one that almost certainly ends in tears.

Button, 32, has been a winner from Australia to the Americas, triumphed on the streets of Monaco and been crowned Formula One world champion.

But in more than a decade of trying he has never stood on his home podium.

A win this time round would be just the ticket – quite literally, since the McLaren driver's face is on them this year as well as the wallet they come in, the spectator guide and assorted marketing material.

Button suspects he might shed a few tears if he gets on the podium and, with the huge and loyal following he and his McLaren-Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton always command at home, will not be the only one struggling to contain his emotions.

"I've always thought about what it would be like to win the British Grand Prix," the 2009 world champion said.

"I've imagined it but you never know until it happens.

"I had the same thing when I was a kid thinking about racing in Monaco and winning the Monaco Grand Prix. And I did it in style [in 2009] by parking in the wrong place and running to the start/finish line. But I didn't know I was going to do that.

"Winning when you have a lot of supporters there, people who have been supporting you for so many years and have really lifted you in difficult times, that means so much to a driver."

Button is by no means a favourite, having struggled to score points and get his car performing properly since winning the season opener in Australia, and his home record makes painful reading.

He has been fourth twice (2004, 2010) and fifth twice. A podium finish was looking likely last year until a wheel came off because a nut was not secured when he pitted 12 laps from the end.

Silverstone is one of the season's fastest circuits and should play to his car's strengths, but that will make Hamilton, the last British winner at home, in 2008, even more of a contender.

Unlike Button, he knows what it feels like.

"I can't really explain how special it would be to win another Silverstone grand prix," he said.

"To go back again and compete at the front and give the fans what they deserve and what they come for and hear the national anthem is the proudest moment for any sportsman."

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