JULY 2, 2010
Button targets first Silverstone win
After a disappointing race at Silverstone last year, which came just as Brawn Grand Prix started to hot tyre warm-up problems, world champion Jenson Button is targeting his first win on home soil, something McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton achieved en route to the title in 2008.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said in Valencia that he was hopeful that the debut of McLaren's 'blown' exhaust system, which improves downforce from the diffuser, would result in a highly competitive showing at Silverstone.
"Racing in front of your home crowd is one of the biggest buzzes for any racing driver," Button admitted. "And racing at Silverstone is always an exceptional experience - the crowds are huge throughout the weekend, everybody absolutely knows their stuff, and the motivation and support you get is like nowhere else on earth. I love it.
"The British Grand Prix is a bit of a festival of motorsport - there's a great atmosphere, a party vibe, and you meet people who've supported you throughout your career, which is always very rewarding.
"The big unknown for this year is the new track configuration. On paper, it looks to have kept most of the classic corners, which is important. We've lost Bridge, but we've still got Copse, Becketts and Stowe, which is great. A new circuit is always great fun to try out and get to grips with, so I can't wait for Friday morning."
"Even though I came to Silverstone last year as the championship leader, I still haven't won this race. I'm second in the championship this year and I can think of nothing better than being able to take a win in front of my home crowd."
Button, though, will have his work cut out. Red Bull is sure to be strong at a track which retains many of the characteristics which enabled the team to lock out the front row and score a 1-2 in 2009. And team mate Lewis Hamilton is, of course, in front of his home fans too.
"To be leading the world championship going into my home race is a fantastic feeling," he said. " I know very well the effect of people-power around here - in 2007, when I got pole position, I vividly remember driving around on my slowing-down lap and I could hear the noise of the crowd over the engine. And in 2008, in those terrible wet conditions, nobody lost heart or faith, and kept waving their flags and banners for me on every single lap.
"The British Grand Prix is one of the best races of the year - it's going to be a brilliant weekend. Bring it on!"
McLaren heads to Silverstone atop the constructors' championship, having scored a remarkable 119 points from a possible 129 in the past three races.