Jenson Button has competed in more than 250 Grands Prix. He has won 15 of them. He was the Formula 1 world champion in 2009. These statistics place him among the British greats of the sport.
It may be inconvenient for him that Lewis Hamilton is also around and has won 26 of his 137 starts (but still only one world championship). Button is 34, five years older than Lewis, and he is well aware that people will soon start talking about it being time for him to retire. He knows he needs success, but he also wants people to know just how much he loves being a grand prix driver.
“I still love Formula 1 very much – very much,” admits the McLaren driver. “I love being out there, trying to get the best out of the car and out of yourself. You are still trying to find the limits that you don’t think others can find. I feel like I have just jumped into my first F1 car.
“The hunger is definitely still there. It hurts when you are not quick, but only one person can win each grand prix, so you have to work hard to get back to doing that. I know that if I don’t do a good enough job, I won’t be racing next year.
“Having been with this team for so many years, and having been through some tough times, I’d love to be here in the future. Looking at the plans they have for the future, I think it is going to be a great place to be.”
At the moment there is a lot of negative talk about Formula 1, but Button doesn’t see it that way.
“I think that the next couple of years are going to be great,” he explains. “We are going to start finding downforce and I really think we will see more teams fighting at the front. I think McLaren will be there. We’re going through a rough patch; every championship-winning team goes through those, but this team will come out the other side.