Button has best chance to end home jinx
Victory at Silverstone on Sunday would mean more to Jenson Button than anyone on the Formula One starting grid but his championship-leading McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton has no intention of letting that happen.
London: Victory at Silverstone on Sunday would mean more to Jenson Button than anyone on the Formula One starting grid but his championship-leading McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton has no intention of letting that happen.
There will be no room for sentiment when the only two Britons in the race line up in front of an expected 120,000-strong crowd for their home grand prix at a revamped circuit.
"The feeling of winning the British Grand Prix, your home grand prix, is unique," Hamilton, looking every inch the smiling assassin, told reporters this week. "It is almost as good as winning the world championship."
Both men, currently one-two at the top of the standings, have taken world titles already and also triumphed in the glamorous surroundings of Monaco.
But whereas overall leader Hamilton (127 points) won at Silverstone in his 2008 championship year, Button (121) has yet to finish in the top three in 11 seasons of trying.
Having won two races already this year, and finished his last three on the podium, the reigning champion has his best chance yet of breaking the jinx.
"This one is very special for us," Button said. "It`s something I am really excited about."
"For most drivers our main aim is to win the world championship, to win in Monaco -- and I have been able to achieve both of them -- and also to win your home grand prix."
"It`s something that I am looking for and looking forward to the challenge this weekend."
"I love the British Grand Prix, it has such an amazing atmosphere," Button added. "It`s not just because I`m British but there are a few races around the world that we go to where there is a very special atmosphere. Silverstone is one of them."
Red Bull`s Sebastian Vettel is the bookmakers` favourite after winning last year and romping to victory from pole position in Valencia at the end of last month to move up to third in the standings, six points behind Button.
Australian team mate Mark Webber, who crashed spectacularly in that Spanish race, cannot be ruled out either as the 19-race season reaches its halfway point.
Neither can Ferrari`s double champion Fernando Alonso and Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa, their team still smarting at the stewards` delay in punishing Hamilton in Valencia for illegally overtaking the safety car.
Much will depend on McLaren`s major upgrade, with the championship-leading team introducing a `blown` rear diffuser at Silverstone similar to Red Bull`s.
"A few cars had new parts at the last race," Button added. "Mostly this special blown diffuser that Red Bull rocked up with at the start of the season."
"They have all been working with their update kits and maybe they are a race ahead of us... but I think we still did a very good job in Valencia to get two cars on the podium."
"Here we do need to raise our game, we do need to add performance to the car if we want to challenge the Red Bulls and a couple of other teams."
Although eight of the 12 teams consider Silverstone a home race, the revamped layout will be new to all of them.
The track has been lengthened by 750 metres, adding around four seconds to a lap, with corners added and others renamed.
"Silverstone as always been a very fast, flowing circuit," Button said.
"This does take away from the flow a little bit, if I`m honest, but it does add something... I think it will help with overtaking and some closer racing."