1 NOVEMBER 2009
3. Jenson BUTTON (Brawn), 1h34m21.881s
Q: Jenson, that battle from your perspective and also a battle again with Kamui Kobayashi.
Jenson BUTTON: It was a fun race. For me the prime tyre was not my favourite tyre in the race and I had a lot of understeer in the car. But when Kobayashi was on a one-stopper I came out and the first big stop is turn eight and when you have got that much fuel on board it is always very difficult to judge the braking point. I slightly outbraked myself and locked the rears and the fronts and ran a bit wide and he got past. In reality it didn't make a difference to my race as he was quicker than me at that point. Then I was struggling a little bit with the prime tyre but I tried to make the best out of it. After the second stop I found I had very good grip with the option tyre. I got back the front issues I had with the prime and had very good initial turn in which meant I could carry a lot of speed through. That's why I was able to close down Mark. The last couple of laps were a lot of fun. I couldn't make the move stick. I was very excited by the battle and I thought I could pull it off but Mark is always a very difficult person to overtake. We were clean but on the edge, so it was perfect. Disappointed not to get that second place but I really enjoyed the fight today and today for me has been a bonus after winning the championship in Brazil. I have really enjoyed driving this weekend a car that has been very competitive, so I need to thank everyone at Brawn and Mercedes Benz for all their hard work. After Brazil it would have been easy to say 'right, let's just enjoy ourselves and not concentrate on Abu Dhabi' but we did and we have come away with a podium which is a nice way to end the year and everyone should be very proud of themselves for what we have achieved. But lastly I would like to say congratulations to Seb. He did a sterling job today. They had the legs on us and we just couldn't challenge them which is a pity but all round I think the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a good one and I am looking forward to coming back.
Q: Jenson, no win to round off the season but obviously an upbeat ending for you.
Button: For sure. It is always nice to end on a high but it is the same for everyone out there. It is a very competitive field. It is not just one team at the front. All season it has been up and down for us and for these guys and also for McLaren and the Ferraris. It is a very competitive and challenging season for us all, so for all three of us to be up on the podium at the last race is very enjoyable and it is a great way to round out the year. Now I am going to enjoy myself and celebrate what I have achieved this season.
Vettel: I hear you are getting married.
Button: Are you proposing?
Vettel: I heard you will get married.
Button: You know, they write great things in the press. Thank you for that one Seb, but I am going to enjoy this as we often look too far into the future and I want to just enjoy this moment and then I will look to the future after that.
Q: Jenson, for you, interesting that you mentioned that the option was the better tyre. Do you think that if you did two stints on the option you might have been closer to Red Bull?
Button: Yeah, for sure but we didn't expect that to be the case. All weekend we've been running through our practices thinking that the prime was the better tyre. We've been using the prime like the option: for example, saving it for the end of practice two and practice three, so we could get a feel for it for qualifying. It was the best tyre for qualifying but in the race I was really struggling for a balance on the harder tyre. I had a lot of understeer in the car and the colder the circuit temperature got, the more difficult it was for me to get heat into the fronts. So I was suffering with that, especially in the second stint and I don't know if you could notice, but Rubens was quite close behind me at the start of the second stint, he was sitting right on my tail, but I was able to put a little bit of a gap on him before the second stop, and then when we put the soft tyre on, the car was transformed, it felt great. The lap times were reasonably good and I was able to pull Mark in. The big issue for me on the hard tyres was understeer, so putting the option on... suddenly I had this great front end that I could just carry so much more speed into the corners. I don't know if you saw on TV, but it was a little bit loose on exit but that's the way you have to drive the car round here. It was a great race, I really enjoyed it and as I said in the unilateral, this race is a bonus to me, because I got the championship in Brazil, so I came here to enjoy myself and that's exactly what I did. Qualifying wasn't perfect but the race was pretty much as good as we could have expected, I think. I had a good tussle with Mark on the last lap, a fair fight but obviously very close and enjoyed it a lot. I didn't make that move stick but I had a lot of fun. So I'm a little bit disappointed not to be second but I'm on the podium at the last race of the year, a year that's been exceptional and I'm very happy with what's happened this season and the way the team has performed. Probably when it's been toughest, I respect the team for the effort that they've put in then, so they should all be very proud of themselves and that's Brawn GP and Mercedes-Benz for what they've achieved. At the moment, I'm just going to enjoy this, this is big and I'm not going to concentrate on next year, I'm going to relax and enjoy this moment.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Anne Giuntini - L'Equipe) To all three of you: considering there is a long break before February, I suppose you won't be on holiday all the time. What is your working programme?
Vettel: Jenson's getting married, we heard. So he's busy.
Webber: And we're all invited as well.
Vettel: Yeah, everyone.
Button: Next question.
Webber: But Japan's a long way.
Vettel: Obviously I have a pretty stressful week, following up, stress and fun at the same time. We are going to Beijing, so I am looking forward to that. I'm trying to kick his (Jenson's) arse. And after that, some things to do back in Germany, yeah, and at the end of the month we will have a big party back in Milton Keynes, with all the team, so I'm looking forward to that. So November is a bit the time probably to be a bit lazy, but back in December and January obviously trying to focus on next year, on the new car. As I said, we will have time and meetings to discuss and obviously analyse what we can do better in the future and then we put our focus on next season. Obviously it's a long, long time without any testing, any driving for us, so I reckon I will do some karting, that's for sure, even though it's cold.
Webber: Yeah, similar to Sebastian. Next week is very busy. I'm going to Austria tomorrow, doing some work over there for Red Bull and then also some stuff for Renault next Thursday, so the next few weeks I've got some PR work which we've put on the backburner during the season, so a few photo-shoots here and there. Then I'm potentially going to drive the GP3 car, the new category car, do a bit in that, to see how that's going along. It's a very exciting championship next year which Christian (Horner) and I are involved in, so I might do a little bit of driving in that, but not much, just to get a little bit of press and a little bit of feeling for how it is. And then I think the third week of November I'm going to open my leg up again and get a bit more metal out, and then that's the end of that problem, so it will be a few weeks relaxing after that and then I go to Australia for Christmas, a few barbecues on the beach and go to the cricket as well, which is 100,000 Australians at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) which is a big highlight at the Boxing Day test match, so I've got a few good things to look forward to and then in January, come back to a European winter which is always a test, but anyway, we will do that and get ready for February.
Button: Wow, that's a lot.
Vettel: Wait until you start...
Button: I have got nothing planned this winter. I'm going to the RoC (Race of Champions) tomorrow which takes place Tuesday, Wednesday. If you're interested, head down to the Bird's Nest in Beijing. The only thing is that I am going to go and enjoy myself with the team tonight, so we will see how I perform on Tuesday and Wednesday. But I'm looking forward to that, it's always good fun. And then I'm heading to Japan to spend some time there with my girlfriend and then I will have a few more days off and then sort myself out and start thinking about next year. It's amazing how early it starts, 2010 comes up on you in a flash. I've got to sort myself out and focus on that. I'm looking forward to the new challenge, for sure, but it can wait a couple of weeks. Oh, I've got my 30th birthday in January as well. Thirty! Imagine that, Sebastian.
Vettel: It's a long way to go.
Button: Trust me, it goes by very quickly.
Q: (Chris Lines - Associated Press) Guys, you sit up there as two representatives of the two most dominant teams this season. If we go back a year ago, it was Ferrari and McLaren and they were nowhere in the early part of this year. How confident are you guys that you will be able to carry this form into next season and not pay a price for going all the way through developing the car?
Vettel: Well, I think we are a team, we are professional. You might read here and there that other teams stopped developing for this year, looking ahead to next year, but as I said earlier on, I think the regulations aren't changing too much. Obviously the biggest change is no refuelling but other than that the cars will remain similar, similar shapes. I think the people know what they are doing back in Milton Keynes. Obviously this year was a great chance for us and as Mark said, we were able to build quite a weapon. So I'm very confident. I think we can only get stronger. Obviously it was the first time that we were in that position for us, Mark, myself and the team that we were in that position and I think we handled it quite well. We made some mistakes here and there but that's what happens. We are not the only ones who made these mistakes and if you are fighting and trying to push and trying to get the last bit out of yourself, out of the team, out of the car, then sometimes you might step over the limit. I think it's totally natural to go through that progress, so we have definitely learned a lot and the important thing is, as I've said before, to do it much better next year.
Button: Ferrari and McLaren are going to be competitive next season. They have the resources, they have the expertise, they have competitive drivers. For sure they are going to be quick. They've had a different approach over the last few races. If you look at Ferrari, they've said that they've had no development which is unusual to hear that, as there's not much that changes for next season. But it seems that McLaren have thrown everything at the car and have been very competitive over the last couple of races. So going into next year, yeah, they're going to be quicker compared to the start of this season but I don't think they're suddenly going to be stronger than Red Bull and Brawn. I think there's going to be a big battle at the front which is going to be a new thing for all of us, because having four teams fighting it out at the front, that hasn't happened - could you just keep... 'scuse me, I'm just trying to talk - you might want to listen to this.
Webber: We're just talking about your wedding day, mate. We're just trying to clear our schedules.
Button: But with four teams at the front, eight drivers fighting out for wins, I think that's exciting, so, yeah.
Q: (Bob McKenzie - The Daily Express) What's the date for the wedding, Jenson?
Button: It's my birthday, did you say? By the way, I'm looking forward to my present, thank you very much, Bob. What did you call me before?
BMcK: The World Champion?
Button: That's the one, thank you. I'm not getting married this year.
Vettel: Why not? You don't love her?
Webber: Clear up January, clear it up.
Button: I think some things need to be kept private in your life and that's one of them. Thank you very much.