13 SEPTEMBER 2009
2. Jenson BUTTON (Brawn GP), 1h16m24.572s
Q: Jenson, leading the championship by 14 points. But a hectic first lap as it always is. Talk us through that.
Jenson BUTTON: It was a messy lap but I made up a position which was fantastic. You are always wary at the start here because of the KERS cars. (Fernando) Alonso didn't get the jump which was quite good. Rubens and myself were pretty good down into turn one and Kovalainen was struggling a little bit. He braked late. Then I was sat behind Kovalainen through the second chicane and then through Lesmo One I just put a nose up the inside and he ran a touch wide. I was able to get him through Lesmo Two. It was a much needed move. If I hadn't made that move I probably would have finished third or fourth. I had to make it stick and I did and it is nice to be back up here back in second position. Obviously I would rather be where Rubens is sat but he did a better job this weekend, so congratulations to you, man. But second is good. I lost two points to Rubens, but gained seven points on (Sebastian) Vettel. This guy here is my closest rival. And it is good. I think we have got a good relationship. But we are very competitive people, so I am sure we are going to take down to the wire.
Q: It was a close race with Lewis Hamilton towards the end as well. He started to put some pressure on you. What was going through your mind?
Button: My lap times were reasonably good. I was doing 25's and I was happy with the pace. Towards the end of the stint I had better pace compared to Rubens but Lewis started pushing on the last three laps. My team was getting a bit excited, saying 'you have got to use mix two, you need the extra boost.' But I think I had him pretty much covered anyway. I think it is difficult to pass here even with KERS. I don't know what happened, if he made a mistake or ran a bit wide or if he had a failure or something, but obviously a big shunt for him. But for me a great result.
Q: Jenson, is it a bit of a relief to be on the podium again?
Button: All weekend the car has been working well for me. It is a competitive car around here with this downforce level. It is good to know that the car works on all sorts of different downforce levels which bodes well for the next four races. But as Rubens said, you get asked lots of questions on a Friday, where is the performance. I was 19th on Friday because we were doing work. We did race work. As you can see from our race performance we did it very well. Every stage of the weekend we have planned very well. I am happy with my performance. I am happy with the team's performance and this guy just went one better, so well done to Rubens. But all weekend, as I said, we have been very close together and it is great to get eight points on the board. Rubens has closed me down by two, but I have pulled my lead on the Red Bulls which is positive.
Q: You were on soft tyres in the first stint; was there much difference between the two types of tyre?
Button: Well, I didn't have any new primes, so I basically had to go for the option, because off the startline I was worried that I would get jumped by Alonso if I was on a four- or five- lap old prime. So we went for the option and on Friday the balance felt pretty good on the option. So for me, it was neither here nor there. It's difficult to know which was the better tyre, but the balance of the car was good throughout the race, a little bit snappy towards the end when I had Lewis behind me, but around here, it sounds silly but it is very difficult to overtake, even though they've got KERS. If I didn't make a mistake, I don't think he was going to get past me, but my engineer was getting quite excited on the radio, but I was pretty much in control. He obviously ended his race half a lap early.
Q: Well, the gap came down to about 1.6s and then it went up again and then down again right at the end.
Button: Well, 1.2s/1.5s is the gap. You get to that point and it's very difficult to get any closer and I don't think their KERS is that good, and we've obviously got the same motor in the back. As a team, we've done a great job this weekend and the strategy that we chose for the race was a perfect strategy for us. If we had KERS maybe we would go for another strategy, but knowing that the KERS runners were going to go light, or thinking they were going to go light for a two-stop, a one-stop was the best option for us. Our main competitor, we felt, was Kovalainen but he had a very tough first lap and we both got past him which was very, very important.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Bob McKenzie - The Daily Express) Jenson and Rubens, it looks like it's between you two now, the Red Bulls are so far back. Is it possible to continue to be friends and close team-mates, exchanging information when you've got four races to go and you need every point possible?
Button: I don't know. I've put on a brave face lately but I absolutely hate this guy! He doesn't know his a*** from his elbow when it comes to racing cars! Is this more fun or...? No, we've got a good relationship and we've been team-mates for many years now. We're working together, we've had to pull our car to the front, we will see how it goes from here, but I think we're still going to be sharing information because there's always the possibility that the Red Bulls will be strong, you never know, and we might have some bad luck. But when we go on the circuit we're obviously fierce rivals. We're not going to give up until the end. I've obviously got the advantage of 14 points; it's got smaller at the last couple of races but Rubens is going to be a very tough rival for sure. He's skilled behind the wheel, as we've seen for many years and he's been able to show his talent. Yeah, it's going to be a tough few races, but it's an exciting challenge and as I said, it's nice to get this result today. I think we've shown that the Brawn car is good. A few people were questioning us a couple of races ago, but we've put a lot of effort into improving this car and it works at this downforce level which is great and I think when we go to Singapore we should have a strong car there as well. I would say that it's more than likely between us two but you can never count the Red Bulls out.
Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association) Jenson, Rubens, you've both been on the one-stop strategy today; can we put that down to the tactical genius that is Ross Brawn?
Button: You can't put a race win down to one individual, I don't think. It's down to a group of individuals. We've got a lot of very talented people within our team that come up with the strategies. Ross Brawn is not the strategist in our team. We have certain people within the team that go through all the different scenarios throughout a race. They came up with the idea. A two-stop was still a possibility but we went for a one-stop because we just thought we had to get off the line first and lead into turn one otherwise it wouldn't have worked. The strategists talk to the engineers and talk to Ross and talk to the drivers and we decide whatever strategy to go for. Some of us disagree sometimes but we normally come up with the right option. Ross is a great individual, but he would say it's not down to one person, any race victory and one-two.
Q: (Paulo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport) And you Jenson, looking at the results from today, is it a big relief for you, just that you have to concentrate more on Rubens?
Button: For sure - I don't know if easier is the right word, but concentrating on one person is... it has to be a little bit easier than three. You never know where the Red Bulls are going to be quick and where they are going to be uncompetitive. I thought they would be a lot more competitive here. But with Rubens we're driving the same car and today he was a little bit quicker, he won the race by about three seconds. I've got to stay as close to Rubens as possible, that's the way you should look at it but also I want to win races. I don't want to come here and just try and finish behind Rubens. So I will go to the next race hoping for a great result. I think that we have got some more improvements with the car and it should help us in Singapore. It's a circuit that I really enjoy driving. I had a good race there last year and I look for the same result as Rubens had this race.
Q: (Tom Cary - The Daily Telegraph) Jenson, you came into the weekend bombarded with questions about your mental strength and under a lot of pressure. Do you feel that your performance here shows that you can cope with it and you've put those stories to bed now?
Button: That's between you guys. The talk of pressure never came out of my mouth. I know I'm in a very good situation, I've driving the best car on the grid at the moment, and I've probably got one of the most competitive team-mates on the grid at the moment. So there are lots of positives and a couple of negatives there but why shouldn't I be positive? I've got a fourteen-point lead with four races to go. That's it really. I'm sure you're right that I have controlled the pressure that I've had for the last two or three races but those are your words, not mine.
Q: (Adam Hay-Nicholls - Metro) Rubens, when you were up on the podium, it looked like you were firing arrows into the crowd. What was that about?
Barrichello: I invent all the time.
Button: He's got two kids and watches a lot of weird films.
Barrichello: That's very much like it. Fernando was four yesterday, so that was for him.
Italian GP - Sunday - Team Quotes
Jenson Button (2nd): "I had a really good race today and it's a fantastic feeling to be up on the podium again. The team and Rubens did a great job this weekend and congratulations to Rubens for his second win of the season. The car worked very well all weekend and the balance was good throughout the race which meant I could set consistently quick lap times when it really mattered. The strategy that we chose on Saturday for qualifying was the perfect one for us and I was able to get ahead of Heikki on the first lap which was absolutely crucial for my race. Lewis was pushing hard behind me for the final part of the race but I was confident that I had him covered and it's a very difficult circuit to overtake here even with KERS. We have shown that the Brawn-Mercedes is a very good car and credit to the team for the efforts that have gone into improving it over the past couple of months. It's going to be a very exciting end of the season and a challenge that we are all looking forward to."