• 5 minutes with ... Jenson Button

'It was my best victory'

Adam Hay-Nicholls April 22, 2010
Jenson Button shows his emotions after winning the Chinese Grand Prix © Sutton Images
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Jenson, it was a pretty amazing race to watch. What was it like from where you were?
Pretty damn good I must say, except for the last four laps. They were a little bit scary. It was raining a lot at the end and I was really struggling with the tyres. I pulled a good gap on Lewis but maybe I pushed the tyres a bit hard and when it rained I was just skating all over the place and, as you saw, I went straight on at the hairpin. I made it difficult for myself but great to come away with a victory.

How important was that early call on tyres, do you think?
Really important. That made the race. If we didn't have that Safety Car later on for debris we would have been a long... well, I don't know, I don't know how quick Lewis was in the race. But the Safety Car definitely helped the situation for people that stopped for inters. Staying on the dries was the right thing. You wouldn't think it driving around as it was raining quite a bit but we got a lot of grip from those tyres. We just had to be a little bit careful as every time you arrived at a corner it was a different condition to the previous lap, either better or worse, so it was pretty tricky but it was definitely the right call. When the team called me in for inters that was the right call as well because the tyres had started graining on the front left and the rear left and it was too wet for the slicks.

Where does this victory rate amongst the other ones?
For me it is my best victory. Every time that you win I think it becomes your best victory but this one was very special as it was very tough conditions and the great thing is our pace was good today. It wasn't just the luck of calling the weather, we had good pace. The team towards the end of the race said "you are two seconds odd quicker than most people except for Lewis who is doing the same time as you." The pace was very good in those conditions and it is great to see that. We still don't know where we are in the dry but we are going to forget about it at the moment as we are just going to enjoy this victory in the wet. We have proved that our car is good over the race distance.

People were talking perhaps about going onto wet settings, going onto dry settings. Was there any difference for you?
I didn't do wet or dry settings, so I don't know.

Lewis Hamilton congratulates Jenson Button on his race win © Sutton Images
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But in terms of yesterday, did you set the car up for today?
You want to be quick in qualifying. That is so important these days, so you work on getting a good set up for qualifying but you also need a car that is good in the race. Cars that are good in the dry normally work in the wet as well, reasonably well. I think you have got to go for a general balance of wet and dry. It seemed to work for us. I don't know the pace of the other quick cars that were quick in qualifying but for us it looked very good. We were able to pull a good gap, cruise a few laps before it started raining, then I had my heart in my mouth while I was trying to keep the thing on the road.

Who made your decision at the beginning to come in or not to come in for tyres?
The call at the start of the race; we discussed it on the radio, the same as Lewis, on the back straight and they said 'pit this lap if you feel it's too wet,' so I decided to stay out. And then later on in the race, they made the call to go to inters, which was definitely the right call. I was thinking of staying out again and they made the right call there - one all! I think what won us the race today was the right calls for the right conditions and being on the right tyre at the right time. It makes such a difference.

How satisfying is this to get one over Red Bull? They sat where you are yesterday, very pleased after qualifying, and you both said on Friday that you suspected that they could go a lot quicker. How satisfying was this?
I don't think it's just because Red Bull were sat here. It's always massively satisfying when you win a grand prix - it means so much, and when you get a one-two with the team. It's been a long time for myself and it's been a long time for Lewis, I think, since we've had one-twos. So yeah, it's a very special feeling and I can't wait to get back there and see the team. They do so much work over the weekends and I can't wait to get back down there and see them. This is a great result for us, and I'm leading the championship now. Red Bull have been very quick all year, like they were last year at the start of the season, but we're leading the championship at the moment which is a great position to be in. There's still a lot of work to do to find some pace but that's what we're working on. We're working very hard and it's great to get these results when maybe we haven't quite got the legs on the Red Bulls, so these points mean a lot to us, and hopefully when we get to Barcelona, we will be there fighting with the Red Bulls in qualifying and the race

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Adam Hay-Nicholls is editor of GP Week and Formula One correspondent for Metro UK and Metro International Adam Hay-Nicholls joined the F1 circus in 2005 as a founder and senior writer of The Red Bulletin - an irreverent and innovative magazine that was printed at the race track four times every grand prix weekend, and which achieved cult status. In 2010 he became editor of GP Week and is also Formula One correspondent for Metro UK and Metro International - the world's largest circulation newspaper