x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Jenson Button calls Silverstone conditions 'treacherous'

McLaren-Mercedes driver feels the stagnant water at certain parts of the 5.89km track made it almost impossible to navigate safely.

Jenson Button hopes there won't be as much standing water as there was today. Valdrin Xhemaj / EPA
Jenson Button hopes there won't be as much standing water as there was today. Valdrin Xhemaj / EPA

SILVERSTONE, England // Jenson Button, often regarded as a wet-weather specialist, has conceded he would not be comfortable racing in the British Grand Prix if Silverstone Circuit is as saturated as it was during today's two free practice sessions.

McLaren-Mercedes' English driver said the large portions of stagnant water at certain parts of the 5.89km track made it almost impossible to navigate safely. Bruno Senna, the Williams driver, suffered a high-speed shunt during second practice, while several cars in GP2, Formula One's feeder series, slipped and spun off track during their qualifying session.

"It's tricky out there, it really is," said Button, who regards his rain-swept victory in Canada last year as the best of his 12-season career. "There's a lot of standing water. When you watch the GP2s you realise just how much standing water there is, there are a lot of people facing the wrong way. In the race, you wouldn't want to be racing in those conditions wheel-to-wheel, because you can't see the aqua-planing until you arrive. It's treacherous."

Senna's accident came at the exit of Becketts and Button reckons that turn, the straight following it and the corner immediately after – Stowe – is the most dangerous section of track.

"You're doing 290kmph before you cross a river that gives you wheelspin," he said. "When you get wheelspin at that speed in an F1 car, it can snap very easily, and that's the scariest place.

"When you're a car on your own, it's not so bad and you can pick your way around, you can lift off where you want, but in race conditions you can't do that. I hope it's not like this [on Sunday]; hopefully there's not as much standing water."

Button's teammate Lewis Hamilton said drainage is an issue track officials must look at if they want to improve safety, but Nico Rosberg of Mercedes said he has "no problem" if it rains again having impressed during limited runs today.

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