5 APRIL 2009
1. Jenson BUTTON (Brawn GP), 55m30.622s
Q: Jenson, it is never easy. Very difficult at the start and what calls you had to make with changing weather conditions as your pit stop approached.
Jenson BUTTON: What a crazy race. It really was. My start was pretty bad. I had a lot of oversteer in the car. I don't think I got heat into the rear tyres and went back to fourth, got up to third and eventually got back to the front and I was pretty happy with that. Our pace was good and then the rain started but choosing the tyres was very difficult. Normally here when it rains it pours but it didn't to start with. We went for the full wet tyre and it just destroyed itself and we saw Timo flying up behind us on the inter, so we put the inter on. Then just as he came by I saw his tyres were bald and it was raining out the back and he was struggling quite a bit on it and had to pit. I got one lap in on the inter with reasonable pace and I was able to get in and put the wet tyre on and come out in front. A very interesting race and I still haven't seen the chequered flag without a safety car in front.
Q: Jenson, in those closing laps just before the safety car came out you were racing with Timo in dreadful conditions.
Button: It was really bad conditions and you could not actually see the circuit. I mean it was that bad. We were behind the safety car and my team, who did a fantastic job, said all you have got to do is drive around and that was difficult enough. A few moments I was almost off the circuit. We are going around at running pace, that slow. The safety car was pulling away from us. All I had to do was drive around and stay on the circuit. But how slow it looks. It is embarrassing but that was as quick as we needed to go and if I'd gone any quicker I'd think I would have ended up in the gravel.
Q: Jenson, you had a bit of a moment on the outside of turn one?
Button: I mean all weekend the circuit has been quite similar but there was such little grip I was really, really surprised and I went a little bit deep into turn one and got a big snap of oversteer and that carried throughout the first lap. I was really, really struggling with the rear end as (Fernando) Alonso was in front of me. I have never seen a car so sideways before. But I eventually got past Alonso coming into the second to last corner and then I had to chase down Jarno (Trulli) and Nico (Rosberg). An exciting race. I would rather have a boring race but we had an exciting one today and I came out on top, so I am happy.
One final thing. Can I just say a massive thank you to my engineer who was on the podium with me today. We have been through a lot of tough times but he has been wicked and today as we saw we came out on top and a lot of it was down to him, so 'thank you very much.'
Q: Jenson, this could become a habit.
Button: Finishing behind the safety car you mean. Wow, what a race. We had everything in that race. It was very enjoyable. It was not the easiest start for me and I had a big snap of oversteer, pretty much at every corner on the first lap from the grid. I really struggled with the rear end. But then I closed up to Jarno and Nico and knew I was going longer and when they pitted I could put in a couple of quick laps. It got me in front and it was looking like it was going to be fine until I looked up and saw the clouds come over and it started raining. Unusual for Sepang it just started spitting and we went for the full wets thinking it is going to chuck it down. But it didn't to start with. A few other people made the correct choice but we had a 16-18 second lead at that point. So I carried on and it started chewing itself up, so I pitted for inters as this guy (Timo) was flying. I came out just behind him but my inter was obviously new and his was very old and I was able to get past him on the wetter part of the circuit just before he pitted. I got one good lap on the inter but then it started chucking it down, so I came in for the full went but then it was the safety car. It was a tough race and it was tough keeping it on the circuit. We were driving around it as if it was walking pace and you are still scared that you are going to chuck it off because you could not see the circuit to start with. It was not like it was rivers, it was a lake.
Q: You were worried about going off the grid anyway because you were on the dirty side of the grid?
Button: Yeah, it was true. Timo also suffered from the grid. I didn't get a bad start. The start was reasonable but the right hand side just shot past and the KERS cars came up, so I lost time there and turn one was messy really. I got a massive snap of oversteer at the exit and I couldn't get back from there.
Q: And you have never driven on the wets before?
Button: No, and the balance was definitely not right on the full wet. The circuit was reasonably dry, so it was difficult to get a balance. But I had massive oversteer on the first couple of laps and then the front started graining. There is a lot of work we need to do to sort our pace and balance out on the wet tyres but as I said it is just nice to get to the end of the race and we ended up on the top because, I think, of a good strategy and also looking at what other people were doing on the different types of tyres and we ended up on top. Congratulations to all the guys who work on the car but also the engineers and the strategy guys who got us here really.
Q: Sorry about the second place...
Glock: Yeah, it was a bit tricky. My engineer told me 'you're P2, P2'. Then I came up here and now I'm P3.
Button: You're behind me.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Paulo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Do you think the decision to stop the race came a little bit too late? Do you think that a five o' clock start is still a good idea?
Button: We thought it was a fantastic idea before. The reason for it in Melbourne was because of the light and the poor light and the reflection you get on the visor, I found it very difficult to see the corner exits. But here, it obviously gets dark very quickly and as we all know, there's normally rain storms here at five or six o' clock in the evening and that proved to be correct. The race was way too wet and I think that the call was correct. It rained so hard so quickly that I think they did the right thing. It was very difficult for them to judge how wet the circuit is and in Fuji, for me, two years ago it was too wet but this year I think they made the right call to stop it at the right time.
Button: When the safety car is pulling away at 20 seconds a lap, you know that it's too wet for an F1 car.
Q: (Paulo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Is it more than you expected?
Button: For me I think it's more amazing that we've done it in these conditions, because Australia wasn't easy with the safety cars and here with the changing weather conditions it made it a lot more difficult. These two here were not the guys that were fighting me at the start of the race, so the great thing is that we could see what was going on behind us and we could react to it and react to it quickly and that's why we're sat here at the moment. I'm very happy and it would be nice going to Shanghai leading by a few points, I think five points, and hopefully we can have a straightforward race and we can see where we stand.
Q: (Paulo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport) If it was up to you, would you want to start again?
Button: No, I would obviously love to have the ten points, but this is the best we could have done, I think, and realistically it was the right thing to do. I'm sure some people will say 'we didn't see the whole race and it's disappointing' but you have to think about the safety sometimes. I am here to race, as we all are but there are limits to what we can do with the cars that we have.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti - Corriere della Sera) Jenson, if I'm not wrong, I think it's the first time you drove the Brawn in wet conditions. How was the behaviour of the car and can we say that the Brawn is suitable for every situation?
Button: Yeah, I'm sure it is but the conditions that we were running in today was a very unusual situation to have: full wets, or the extremes as they were, in slightly greasy conditions. We had to go for that option because we thought it was going to rain. There was no use taking a gamble being in the lead, so we took that tyre and obviously it felt pretty terrible. At high speed, you were slowing the car down to third gear because you just couldn't carry any speed because the rear was always trying to break away. So the balance felt pretty awful but I think that's more down to the conditions we ran the tyres in, it was not the correct conditions. When we put the intermediates on for one lap, the car felt reasonably good. I had a good balance, because that was the correct conditions for that tyre until it started raining hard and then obviously no tyre was useable.