SILVERSTONE, 5th July 2014 (F1 Plus / Graham Keilloh) - After a chaotic British Grand Prix qualifying session at Silverstone today, featuring changing weather conditions throughout, Jenson Button was delighted to end up with a third place starting slot.
‘It’s not a win, not a pole position, but it means a lot right now’ said the McLaren pilot. ‘Whatever happens tomorrow I’ll leave Silverstone with a smile’.
The Briton’s glee was related particularly to the support he receives at his home race: ‘Really happy to get third in front of the home crowd. (It’s been) a very tough weekend but a very good weekend. I’ve had a lot of support from the fans and it’s been really overwhelming the support that I’ve had. And nice to repay them with a reasonable result today.’
He also felt that he and his team made the best of the tricky and ever-changing conditions.
‘I felt that we read the conditions very well, chose when to go on to the right tyres at the right time and got the tyres working in every lap that I did. So it felt really good…every qualifying session I was near-ish to the front’. he said.
Button conceded that he’d made an error early in his lap that ultimately got him P3, but also knew that given the peculiar situation he had to keep pushing. ‘I’m not going to say it was a perfect lap because it wasn’t’ he said.
‘It was far from it. It was a very messy first sector, I thought I was going to go in the wall at turn five and lost a lot of time. I had to work on just getting my head down and giving it my all through the high speed (turns) where it was a bit damp still, taking a lot of risks and it paid off.'
‘I made the mistake in turn five and I think I was 1.2 seconds down on my previous lap, but I knew that the last sector on my previous lap was about four seconds off what I thought I could do…I knew when I got round there if it wasn’t raining we would have been quicker in the last sector.’
Jenson conceded also however that it is easy to look foolish on days such as today. ‘We’ve all made mistakes in the past, you make a mistake on the lap and you think “it’s over, it’s done” and the conditions are drier than you expected at the other side of the circuit. You definitely learn from your mistakes; I did it in Melbourne where the yellow flags were I thought it was over, but in the last sector I probably could have qualified into Q3. I definitely learned from that.’
Looking ahead to tomorrow Button admitted nevertheless that with a dry race a podium finish probably is out of reach.
‘If it’s dry being realistic you would say we’re not quick enough for that (a top three finish). We wouldn’t have qualified P3 if it was totally dry. The positive for us is that four of the cars we’re fighting with were out in Q1…but there’s still a lot of competition around us.’
‘We’ll give it our all. I think consistency-wise we’ve got a good car but it’s just lacking in overall speed.’