x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

'I had a lot of fun' says a relaxed Button

A relaxed Jenson Button enjoyed his dramatic duel with Mark Webber last night.

The world champion Jenson Button, drives his BrawnGP car to third place.
The world champion Jenson Button, drives his BrawnGP car to third place.

ABU DHABI // A relaxed Jenson Button enjoyed his dramatic duel with Mark Webber last night and said he is excited about the prospect of a 2010 season that could see four teams vying for his World Championship title. The BrawnGP driver finished third yesterday, behind Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. The Briton was 12 seconds behind Australian Webber at the midway point of the race, but found pace to set up a thrilling final lap where the two drivers went wheel-to-wheel while braking.

Despite missing out on second, Button insisted standing on the podium was simply a bonus after winning the drivers' championship at Interlagos last month. "Having won the title in Brazil, it would have been easy to say 'Let's enjoy ourselves and not worry about Abu Dhabi' - but we didn't," said Button, 29, after securing what was only his second podium since victory in Turkey last June. "Qualifying wasn't perfect, but the race was pretty much as good as we could have expected. I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. I had a good tussle with Mark on the last lap and it was obviously very close. I'm a little disappointed not to finish second, but I'm still on the podium in the last race of the year - a year that has been exceptional. We should be proud of what we achieved, but [Red Bull] had the legs on us so we could not challenge."

Button will travel with Vettel to Beijing today to take part in the Race of Champions before taking a break from the limelight in Japan where he vowed to "not concentrate on the new season at all". After that, however, his attention will quickly turn to 2010. "It's amazing how early it starts - 2010 will be upon us in a flash, but I'm looking forward to the challenge," he said. "Ferrari and McLaren are going to be competitive next season. They have the expertise, they have the competitive drivers, so for sure they are going to be quick.

"Going into next year they are going to be quicker compared to the start of this season, but I don't think they are going to immediately be stronger than Red Bull and Brawn. "There is going to be a big battle at the front and that is something that is going to be a new thing for all of us because to have four teams at the front, eight drivers fighting it out for the title, it's going to be great." The new season gets under way in Bahrain on March 14.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae