By Jonathan Noble
Q. How has practice been, and how are the tyre temperatures?
Jenson Button: We definitely don't have a tyre temperature issue here. We are actually quite warm here. It's quite an abrasive asphalt, so we don't have any issues.
This morning was a little bit frustrating with the conditions, but it was good to get some wet running. The car is looking pretty good in the wet, which I'm happy about.
This afternoon was mostly being set-up work and comparison work with certain things we have brought here that are new. And everything ran okay, although I'm not 100 per cent happy with the car at the moment, but I think - I hope - there are things we can solve tomorrow. But as I said we don't have the temperature issues we had earlier this year.
Q. That's great then, that's put a smile on your face?
JB:: It's good, but there is still a lot of work to do before we are competitive. We're not on the pace of the Red Bulls, especially over one lap, but in long runs we're okay.
But a lot of people are struggling here with the long runs with overheating, more than the tyres being too cool. Our long runs are okay, but it is the one lap we need to work on.
Q. Is the temperature issue something that you have to accept?
JB:: The tyres are working here. I'm sure some of the things we have done to the car have helped the tyre temp. But everyone is very hot here, so maybe we should go back on a few of those changes.
We've still a session tomorrow, and there's a lot of work we need to do tonight to help us tomorrow because over one lap we're not competitive with the Red Bulls and some of the other teams. That is the area we need to work on. The long run work I did today I am reasonably happy with.
Q. Do you think you got mugged at the start of the race in Valencia, and how will you change things this weekend?
JB:: It is a very difficult situation. You cannot do anything in that situation because I went to the inside at the start, and Vettel came across. I had no room so I had to lift, and lost a bit of time. It is one of those things and I will try not to be in that situation again because it obviously cost me a lot of places at the start and a lot of places at the end of the race.
Q. What are the features of the circuit that generate track temperature?
JB:: The surface here is very abrasive, the asphalt. So that put heats into the tyre. There are a lot of high speed corners here, but also the high speed braking. Silverstone lacks the heavy braking, and Nurburgring lacks the high-speed corners, so this circuit has got a bit of everything to help the tyre temperature. You saw a lot of people out there who were struggling to keep the tyres in good conditions because they were overheating. We don't have a tyre temperature issue here.
Q. What was your programme today?
JB:: This morning we got a couple of laps before it rained, which was useful for the second session this afternoon. In the wet we tried a few different things with downforce levels and things, and the car seemed quite competitive, and this afternoon we tried different downforce levels, some aero updates to see if they are better around this type of circuit - and I don't know if you saw but I had a funny looking sail fin on the engine cover.
That is basically it. We did tyre comparisons, and we found we definitely don't have tyre temperature issues, that they're not too cold. People are struggling with them being too hot, so it is something to watch out for here.
Q. How do you feel you are set for the weekend then?
JB:: Okay. Looking at today our long-run pace is reasonably competitive, but we still have to work on our qualifying pace because compared to the quick cars we're not that strong over one lap. That is an area we need to work on.
Q. Are you worried about the low temperatures here?
JB:: I don't think we need to do anything. This circuit is putting a lot more heat into the tyres. It is very abrasive, it is high speed corners, and heavy breaking. A lot of people here are struggling with the tyres being too hot, so we are not in a bad position for tyre temperatures. But the balance of the car is still not great, so we have a lot of work to do.
Q. We saw Red Bull Racing have some problems in the last few races. Do you think you can just finish fifth or sixth and still win the championship?
JB:: The Red Bulls are going to be quick. This is the perfect circuit for a Red Bull car, so we have to hope we can be as close as possible and maybe have the chance of nibbling some more points off them.
Q. And do you feel worried about the results of the last few races?
JB:: No, the last race the car was quick. I am happy with the way the car is and also my pace. The three races before that were a lot cooler and we struggled with the tyre temperatures, but we don't have tyre temperature issues here. For sure this is not the best circuit for our car, but we will do the best job with what we have.
Belgian GP - Friday - Team Quotes
Jenson Button (17th, 1:48.125): "It was a tough session this morning as we weren't able to get much done apart from some wet running at the end. However that experience is good here just in case it rains over the weekend which is always possible at Spa. The second session this afternoon was much more useful. We worked through a few aero and downforce comparisons as well as looking at the tyres. We collected a lot of information but obviously at the moment we're not as quick as we would like to be. There are a few areas that we do need to improve on with the balance but the potential is there to do that ahead of qualifying."