Button believes temperatures in Hungary will suit McLarens
English driver says Vettel ‘lucked into fourth’ in Germany
Jenson Button believes the improved pace McLaren showed at the German Grand Prix, won by his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, was not a one-off and that his team will be challenging strongly again at the Hungaroring, his 200th grand prix, this weekend.
Button was frustrated at having to retire at the Nürburgring but feels the car is in a strong position. “The pace is real,” he said. “Lewis was running a slightly different setup and I don’t know if he could just get the tyres to work because of his driving style or because of the setup. But the pace is in the car. There is a lot that you get out of this car. With a hot circuit, a lot of my issues will be taken away.”
Heat and tyres will be crucial in Hungary. The tight, twisty circuit, requiring a high-downforce setup, is difficult for overtaking, making pit-stop strategy paramount. While the temperatures, expected to be around 26-27C (78-80F), will affect how soon tyres reach the optimum working window and how well they can be conserved.
McLaren and Ferrari will both expect it to suit their cars and, as at Monaco, Pirelli are bringing the soft and supersoft variants. The latter will be ideal for qualifying but judging their durability at race pace will be essential for strategy calls.
“I don’t think it will be too hot,” said Button, who won his first race here in 2006 but does not think it will be similar to Valencia where the McLarens suffered with tyre wear. “In Hungary it is more flowing. The hot conditions will help us, it won’t hinder us. So I am excited about seeing what I can get out of the car.”
Button will be hoping for better here after suffering a series of problems since winning in Canada and noted that he thought Sebastian Vettel, the championship leader, was fortunate in Germany. “He definitely lucked into fourth really,” Button said. “It was a very good pit stop and Ferrari’s was very slow. It would have been a fifth and it was the first time he has been off the podium all year.”
It was, he said, similar to his own championship year: “It is exactly what happened to me in 2009, the first grand prix I was off the podium was my home one, that does hurt a bit.” Reminded that he did not go on to win a race after that, Button enjoyed the comparison: “Exactly, so we’ll see. Like it, keeping it exciting. I still won the championship with two races to go and he does have a 77-point lead.”