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Button learning 'new style of racing'

ESPNF1 Staff
April 20, 2011 « Hamilton eyeing Istanbul upgrades | »
Jenson Button led away in China but eventually finished fourth © Getty Images

Jenson Button has said everyone is learning 'a new style of racing in 2011' as the teams try to fully understand the way races unfold with new rules.

Many changes were brought in for this season in an attempt to create more overtaking and exciting races, the most notable being rapidly-degrading Pirelli tyres and the drag reduction system (DRS). Button said that the tyres in particular were causing many different strategies to be implemented, but that things would settle down as the teams gain more experience in race situations.

"I think all the teams are learning about this new style of racing in 2011," Button said. "I think it'll get more straightforward as we start to see more of a convergence of strategies and ideas over the next couple of races. Obviously, it's the tyres that everyone needs to get a better handle on. I think all the teams will be looking closely at the most successful strategies and also at what didn't particularly work."

Having led the race during the first stint, Button was unable to match the pace of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who went on to win. He eventually slipped back to fourth when Mark Webber overtook him on the penultimate lap, and Button said it was due to an inability to get the most out of his rear tyres.

"I had a really strong final stint on the Primes in Malaysia, but in China I just couldn't get the rear-end to work. I'm sure we can start to understand why and that's definitely something we'll be looking into at next week's technical review. Hopefully, we can head into Turkey with an even stronger package and with some of our weak spots improved and our strengths increased."

Button qualified second in China and lead away in to the first corner as Hamilton also passed pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel. He said that McLaren were targeting race starts as a way of negating Red Bull's strong one-lap pace.

"I got a great start on Sunday. We've worked on that since the beginning of the season, so it was good to get in front off the start. I got a pretty perfect getaway and I think Seb's wasn't perfect, but it's still something we'll be working on to improve. We know that Red Bull's qualifying is still extremely impressive, so if we can have the best starts in Formula 1 then we can make up a fair bit of that advantage. We want to have the best start system, and I'm sure it's something the engineers will be looking to improve upon over the next few races."

His second place on the grid was Button's best qualifying performance of the season as he outqualified Hamilton for the first time this year. Button said this was an area he had been working on, and he was pleased with the results he had got so far.

"On a personal level, I've also been really pleased with my qualifying pace. Before the season, I said it was one of my aims to improve that, and I've been pretty satisfied with how things have worked out over the first three races. Apart from Mark [Webber]'s race in China, I think we've seen that it's difficult to make up ground if you're not right at the front because you're really at the mercy of a lot of other cars and their strategies. So getting quali right is crucial, and we seem to be heading in the right direction."