x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Jenson Button is still smiling at his 200th grand prix

Gary Meenaghan talks to the McLaren driver ahead of his 200th GP, and the scene of his maiden win.

This weekend is Jenson Button's 200th grands prix.
This weekend is Jenson Button's 200th grands prix.

Q: This is a special weekend for you: you won your first F1 grand prix here five years ago after fighting your way through traffic from 14th. Are you looking forward to it?

A: Yeah, got very good memories of 2006. Obviously a long time ago now and it's the perfect place for me to have my 200th grand prix.

The last couple of races for me have been a bit difficult in terms of not finishing, so hopefully we can have a good result here on such a special weekend.

The Hungaroring gets a lot of criticism for being difficult to overtake. With the new regulations - Kinetic energy recovery systems, drag reduction systems, etc - introduced this season, do you expect that to have changed?

The changes that have been made have been great, and I think we've just got to watch the races back and see the fights and the overtaking moves. It's that we're taking more risks this year - it's a different situation than we've found before.

There's a lot of great overtaking and I think Formula One is in a great place. Here, you can overtake - there are a couple of places. With the tyres, with Kers, with DRS, we have seen a lot of improvements.

I don't think this will be any different. First of all the aim is to qualify as high as possible and not have to overtake anyone, but it is always there if it's needed.

Mark Cavendish won the green jersey at the Tour de France last week on a bike McLaren helped develop. Did you play any part in that?

Did I help the development? Not really, it needs an engine strapped to it for me to help with the development. I have had a lot of fun on it, but it is very different to what those guys are doing. It is great to see so many wins by Cav in the tour and also to get the green jersey.

These blustery and wet conditions must provide you some nice memories for you from 2006. Are you hoping for rain on Sunday?

Yeah. You know rain would be a lot of fun around here. We've been here in the wet before and for me it was one of the best races I've been involved in and actually watched back, because there was a lot of overtaking, a lot of fighting.

It brings something to the race, but I think even in the dry, wet or intermediate conditions, we've got to make sure we're quick.

Lewis [Hamilton, my teammate] proved at the last race the pace of the car is very good in dry conditions, in cool conditions. I also think we'll be there in hot conditions. Whatever the weather does we've got to be ready for it."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae


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