• Japanese Grand Prix

Button still eyeing Japan victory despite grid penalty

ESPN Staff
October 4, 2012 « Alonso backs Hamilton move | Rosberg prepared for Hamilton challenge »
Jenson Button won last year's Japanese Grand Prix from second on the grid © Press Association

Jenson Button is still eyeing victory in the Japanese Grand Prix despite being faced with a five place grid penalty.

Despite finishing second at Singapore, it transpired that Button also had the same gearbox problem which ended team-mate Lewis Hamilton's race. As a result McLaren has had to change Button's gearbox, leading to a five place drop on the grid this weekend at Suzuka, but Button insists his target will still be to win the race despite being unable to start any higher than sixth.

"Five grid slots is quite a big handicap," Button said. "It is what it is so we've just got to do the best we can with it. I knew straight after the last race pretty much that I'd have a penalty, so in my mind I've always known that sixth is the best grid position I can start from this weekend. It's not too bad; we're doing a lot of work now to work out how we can still win this race because that is the aim still, it's not to just pick up points it's to actually fight for the win.

"We feel that we have a good car here. There will be a lot of competition I think from Ferrari, also Red Bull and the Saubers. So it's not going to be easy but I think we can still fight for a win here from sixth."

Button admitted that his cause would be helped if tyre wear was a problem at Suzuka, opening up the opportunity to make progress through the field.

"It's never going to be easy; last year was pretty tough on tyres. We found it pretty difficult - everyone did - in the first stint, so we've got to work out where we are with tyres tomorrow because it's obviously different to last year. If there's a tyre that's going to be hurt here quite badly I think it's a good thing for us and we can work with that and we can hopefully make up some good places."