Button warns of Red Bull race pace

By on Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jenson Button. Photo credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Jenson Button has warned that Japanese GP pole winner Sebastian Vettel could dominate after the race start, despite the McLaren driver getting to within nine thousandths of a second of the Red Bull Racing driver’s pole time.

Button almost had the measure of Vettel in the one-hour shoot out but was forced to settle for second on the grid as the German found a tiny margin to claim his 12th pole position of the year.

“I think you have always got to be a little disappointed when it is that close,” Button admitted.

“The weekend as a whole has been good. I think we turned up here with a good package and think we have honed it pretty well. “I am happy that I have got a car underneath me that feels good,” he added. “I felt like it was a good lap. Possibly a little bit too much oversteer but I think I got everything out of the car, so to be nine thousandths off is disappointing but also a front-row start is not such a bad thing. I think we can have a good race tomorrow. There is a pretty long drag down to turn one so hopefully our KERS and starts will be working well.”

However, the 2009 champion confessed that a good race would not necessarily mean victory, pointing to Red Bull’s long-run pace from practice as the measure of Vette’s true superiority here.

“If you look at our one-lap pace in practice it was very good but if you look at our long runs, I think we were about 1.5s slower than these guys [Red Bull],” he said. “Either they were running a different fuel load than us or we are seriously in trouble."

“Hopefully they were running less fuel than us, but as I said, however much fuel you ran yesterday, the consistency is very difficult with these tyres, especially with the softer of the two and it’s going to be a hard race tomorrow."

“I really haven’t got a clue at this point in time on how many pit stops it’s going to be: definitely more than one and probably definitely more than two so you are working towards three and four pit stops I think. So it’s going to be interesting to see how that goes. Hopefully our pit crew is strong at the moment. I think they are, they’ve looked good in the last couple of races and hopefully we’re better on the tyres tomorrow than we were yesterday.”

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