Buttons Road To Recovery
It all got off to a great start when Jenson Button dominated the opening race of the season in Melbourne with a perfect drive; there was even talk of him achieving a second world championship. Instead he has suffered an alarming dip in form and now finds himself in eighth place in the title race, 62 points adrift of the leader Fernando Alonso and 39 points shy of his team mate Lewis Hamilton.
That’s the backdrop as the 32 year old today heads into his home race, an event in which he has an abysmal record, having failed to make the podium in 12 previous attempts. He is unlikely to improve that record after qualifying in 18th place when he was yellow flagged in the final sector as Timo Glock lost control of his Marussia.
He said: “I am used to it now, the good thing strangely enough is we don’t get many tyres so it probably is not a bad thing. If the weather is wet tomorrow as we think it is going to be we haven’t done so much mileage on the tyres whereas now they are going to be running round for two more sessions.”
Button acknowledged just how much of a factor Glock’s spin and the late rain shower had been. “We went out at the end and I was 1.8 seconds up on my previous best and in the last sector there was a yellow flag so there you go” he said.
Where has it all gone wrong? It began to fall apart at the Bahrain Grand Prix which was the fourth race of the season. “In the race in Bahrain, we had rear grip problems with both cars and subsequently I went in a certain direction with my set up in reaction to that.”
Buttons driving style is famously sensitive to his car’s handling characteristics. His big weakness is an inability to deal with rear-end instability into slow corners and the bad news for the Englishman is that outlawing exhaust-blown diffusers has made this trait more common on all cars.