x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

No Montreal hangover for driven Button

Closest challenger to Sebastian Vettel, the reigning world champion, says it "was fun" to pore over replay of Canadian Grand Prix win.

VALENCIA, SPAIN // Jenson Button's best friend will be glad the McLaren-Mercedes driver was busy winning the Canadian Grand Prix when Bradley Cooper, star of The Hangover movies, was being given a tour of the paddock at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve earlier this month.

Button followed up his victory in Montreal by flying to Los Angeles and then on to Las Vegas for three days to celebrate his friend's imminent marriage.

But the Englishman insisted the party was a low-key affair and, unlike in scenes from the recent blockbuster movie, no tigers or facial tattoos were seen.

"It was a great way to celebrate his bachelor party, but also my victory," Button said. "It wasn't like the film, it was very calm actually, which surprised me a little bit. There were no tigers, but I did leave a day early, so maybe there was the day after."

With his good looks and star power, Button could pass for a Hollywood leading man. But while he said the first thing he did when he returned home to Guernsey was put on a video of his race win, his reasoning was for self-improvement rather than self-importance.

"I got back and I watched the race straight away, as soon as I walked in the door," Button said.

"I watch back pretty much every race, with some exceptions. You always know the result, but some of them you are hoping that result isn't the case and is going to change. This one I was excited about the result; it was just fun to watch."

A combination of driving in heavy rain and colliding with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso forced Button to complete six pit-stops in Montreal. He said it felt like nine.

By replaying the race on his laptop, he was able to appreciate his team's involvement.

"Watching the guys go at it, time after time: change my tyres, change flat ones, change front wing - it was a great team effort and we made some very good calls," he said. "But up until the crash with Fernando it was quite a frustrating race because we knew we had the pace in the car and my lap times were very quick on the tyres I was on, but we couldn't show it. Every time I did go fast we either crashed or the conditions changed and we had to put the other tyres on and so I ended up in the pit lane. "So it was frustrating until 30 laps to go; then it all turned out quite nice."

His triumph was his first since winning in Shanghai in April of 2010 and was also his 10th career win.

He said he has no intention of waiting another 14 months until his next victory.

The 2009 world champion said he took heart from Sebastian Vettel's last-lap mistake in Montreal and viewed the rare slip-up as proof that, if he can continue to put strain on the young German, his chances of challenging for the title remain high.

"We've just got to keep putting them under pressure," said Button, who is second in the standings, 60 points behind Vettel after seven races. "They are so fast and Sebastian is doing such a good job that if you don't force them into mistakes, it's going to be very difficult to beat them this year."