Singapore Grand Prix:Button happy to be the hunter, not hunted

Singapore:McLaren`s Jenson Button believes Sunday`s Singapore Grand Prix will have a major bearing on who comes out on top at the end of the Formula One season and is relishing the challenge of defending his world title.

"It`s a real buzz to be part of the five fighting for the world championship," Button told Reuters in an interview on Friday. "I haven`t seen a season like this since I`ve been in Formula One so it`s good to be a part of that."

With five races remaining, Button is fourth in the drivers` standings, 22 points behind Red Bull`s leader Mark Webber, while Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) are all still firmly in the running.

With 25 points available for a win, Button could find himself leading the championship after Sunday`s race. For now, though, he is enjoying life among the chasing pack.

"Last season it was a very different situation because I was leading the championship and the guys behind me had a more competitive car by the end," said Button, who won six of the first seven races last year to build up a commanding lead.

"But this year I`m a lot more relaxed, I am hunting, not being hunted. So I can be more aggressive, and I have to be more aggressive."


While the weather has not been a factor in the two previous running of the city-state`s night race, Button, 30, said heavy rain would present a serious test to the drivers.

"If it`s dry, it`s a great place to drive through at night, it’s such a spectacle, it`s such an experience to race a Formula One car around the streets of Singapore when it`s dark. "

"But I think if it`s wet, it`s going to be a little scary. We haven`t driven here in the wet yet, but because the lights are so bright I think it`s going to get a shine off of the circuit and it`s going to be quite difficult to see.

"Another problem with Singapore ,when it rains it rains hard, it never just sprinkles. So we just have to keep our eyes open and keep an eye on the radar."

Button, who finished ninth in the inaugural race in 2008 and fifth last year, said his McLaren team would need every moment of practice to get the car ready for Singapore`s tight, twisting track.

With new regulations doing away with mid-race refueling, cars will have to carry an additional 100 kg around the five-km street circuit, making handling more difficult.

"When you put a lot of fuel in the car it becomes a lot lower. It`s pushed into the ground, pushed into the bumps of the circuit.

"So it`s going to be tough getting the set-up, and every second of practice is going to be important to us."

Button was fifth in the first free practice session on Friday, 0.744 seconds slower than Webber.

Bureau Report