Chinese GP - Sunday - Press Conference
19 APRIL 2009
3. Jenson BUTTON (Brawn GP), 1h58m28.460s
Q: Jenson, a great race for you with lots going on. Obviously some problem with the car as the conditions worsened?
Jenson BUTTON: Well, I think everyone was struggling with the aquaplaning out there. It was pretty crazy conditions into the last corner. As Sebastian said it was a just a lake and you couldn't actually brake for the corner. A few other places were the same. I was just really struggling with the tyres. They were shuddering. They shudder because you can't get temperature into them, front and rears. It was a difficult race and every lap you thought you were going to throw the car off. You really did, so to finish the race is an achievement and to come home on the podium is also great. We couldn't challenge these two guys today, they were immensely quick. But it is great to get six points on the board and that's important to keep the consistency.
Q: Jenson. Some fun and games mid-race. Quite a lot going on between you. Maybe I should let both of you now describe the action. You can fight amongst yourselves about who wants to do the commentary on the clips we are going to see next?
Button: For me I was pretty much just always out of control. I was just waiting for Mark to appear, well not appear in my mirrors, but appear in the front. I locked up the fronts in that corner. I was struggling there with locking up the tyres.
Q: What is going on here Jenson?
Button: I was just trying to get some heat in the tyres. I am not trying to weave and keep people behind. I was really struggling with that. I don't think they have shown Mark going past me around the outside at turn seven. I didn't have a clue where he was and he was alongside at turn eight and it was such a shock as you can't see anything when it is raining. Then he just cut across the front and made the move stick. For me it was impossible to do anything about it. As soon as these guys get near you or alongside you, you cannot challenge them and it would have been silly to have tried.
Q: It looks from that if you had more problems getting the tyres to work than the two Red Bull drivers?
Button: Well, I don't know if everyone else did. Rubens and myself struggled quite a bit. I don't know what the reason for that is. Obviously the car is working in a different way but I hope we will solve those problems in the future because we cannot let these guys be that far in front.
Q: Jenson, tell us about your battle with Mark.
Button: I knew that the Red Bulls obviously had very good pace, we saw that in the first stint and when the safety car came in, they seemed to be very strong from the word go. Our pace could get closer to them but when we're on cold tyres, they could really get their car working which is very impressive. But after the first stop, I was back in front of Mark, due to the difference in stop laps and really it was all going OK. I felt like I was really slow, because I was trying to miss every river, but the problem with that is that it changes every lap, the conditions are changing every lap and the position of the rivers is changing every lap, so it makes it very, very difficult and when I saw that myself and Mark were pulling away from the people behind, I was reasonably happy with the pace then, I could just sort of settle into a pace. And then I got to the second to last corner and locked up the fronts, Mark went through, I tried to stay with him but there was no chance and then he made a mistake in the last corner where I jumped back past him again. The problem was, for everyone who was racing, you can't see the car in front, where he is and when you're in front you can't see the car behind. It makes it quite dangerous. You might say it's more fun, but it's not, it's quite dangerous. Mark did a great move round turn seven, round the outside. It seemed that they could run on the really wet parts of the circuit and actually break through the water on the circuit, whereas we just seemed to float over the top. I don't know if that was because we were running the car too low or what but that's where he made the move, made it stick and from then on really it was just holding on and getting to the end of the race, because for all of us, however quick or slow you drive, it's just as dangerous and it was so easy to throw the car off (the track) as we saw with Sutil, a pretty fast part of the circuit. It could have easily have happened to any of us. I'm very thankful that we got to the end of the race with both cars and I was able to get on the podium. It's a great result for me but you've got to say 'well done' to these guys because they drove well and obviously their car is working well as well.
Q: To you, to what extent were you expecting these conditions today, all the way through the race?
Button: I didn't expect so much aquaplaning. If it's wet, it's wet. You can normally master the line and try and find an area on the circuit where it's dry or where you're not aquaplaning, but here it's very, very difficult. You're aquaplaning as you come onto the main straight, as you go down the dip across the start and finish line and in that condition there's nothing you can do and it's very, very scary in a way. So getting to the end of the race, in spite of being third and not being on the top step, it's such a relief and such a great feeling that we've been able to come away with these points.
Q: Were you expecting these conditions though?
Button: We thought it would be raining today but it's amazing the amount of water build-up considering it hasn't been raining that hard, compared to Sepang. The scary thing was that normally when you follow a car you see the two lines in the water and you know exactly where they've been and you can follow that line because there's less water there but I never saw any lines on the circuit. That was the amazing thing. The water doesn't seem to clear and that was the worst thing about it, I think.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto Motor und Sport) Jenson, you've been around for a little while already. When we have wet races, they seem to be started behind the safety car and you've mentioned the problems with visibility; what is different from the past, are the cars too fast for wet races, are they producing too much spray?
Button: That's a difficult one. I haven't been around that long, maybe longer than these two! There's always been a lot of spray in Formula One. I don't think that has changed. For some reason we seem to be having a lot of wet races over the last couple of years which I think stick in our memories more. The problem with getting temperature into the tyres is more of a new issue for me, anyway. You know we didn't have that so much in the past. The tyres don't seem to work as well as previously in the very wet conditions. We don't seem to be able to break through the water. Obviously these guys could get it to work, so it wasn't such a bad problem for them but it's something that's very strange, that we're struggling so much with aquaplaning and tyre shuddering which we didn't use to have four or five years ago. It's very difficult to remember that far back but I don't remember having such big issues. The wet is always difficult but this year and Fuji two years ago and a couple of wet races in between have for me been a lot more difficult and challenging for sure, because of the aquaplaning and just not getting heat in the tyres.
Chinese GP - Sunday - Team Quote
Jenson Button (3rd): "A very difficult race today and I am so pleased that we got both cars to the end of 56 laps and scored as many points as possible. The conditions were pretty crazy with rivers of water all over the circuit which changed every time you encountered them. The last turn particularly was like a lake and you just couldn't brake for the corner. I struggled with the car aquaplaning and the tyres shuddering as we couldn't get the temperatures high enough to make them work properly. Mark Webber and I had a good fight for a few laps but I just couldn't stay with him. However to finish the race today is an achievement in itself and to be on the podium is fantastic. We couldn't have beaten the Red Bulls and congratulations to Sebastian and Mark on a great result."