Tuesday 20 February 2018

Button eyes chance to ramp up pressure on Red Bull


Chris Butler

After winning three of the last five Grands Prix, McLaren are looking to up the pressure on Red Bull at Belgium's Spa circuit this weekend.

Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, is brimming with confidence after his brilliant victory at last month's Hungarian event.

"Our aim will be to put pressure on the championship front-runners," he said. "Our car definitely feels really drivable right now. It felt great to go into the summer break off the back of the win in Hungary."

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel still holds a comfortable championship lead, having won five of the first six races, but with eight remaining, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is far from despondent.

"I think we go into the race weekend in a pretty good place. We've won the last two Grands Prix and the car feels strong," he said.


McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: "Time and time again, McLaren Mercedes has proved its resilience and determination, particularly at this crucial stage of the World Championship. We are more than ready for this fight."

Button and Hamilton have two race wins each so far this season, but McLaren still lag behind Red Bull in qualifying.

Red Bull have taken all 11 pole positions so far, with eight for Vettel and three for Mark Webber. Starting from pole is crucial for Vettel because only one of his 16 career wins has come when starting behind the front row. Yet the momentum is clearly with McLaren.

Meanwhile, Brazilian Bruno Senna will race for Renault this weekend instead of Germany's Nick Heidfeld, the Formula One team said yesterday.

Senna, nephew of the late triple world champion Ayrton, raced for struggling Spanish-based team Hispania without scoring a point last year and is currently a Renault test and reserve driver.

Speculation about the 27-year-old possibly replacing Heidfeld has been bubbling away since the Hungarian Grand Prix, where Renault team boss Eric Boullier was critical of the veteran's performances.

Irish Independent

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