Both McLaren Mercedes drivers struggled with grip towards the end of the United States Grand Prix last weekend that saw them finish eighth and twelfth respectively, but both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen are looking to get back into their Sochi form, where they finished fourth and fifth, this weekend at Interlagos for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Button has fond memories of Interlagos, having won his World Drivers Championship at the circuit in 2009 whilst driving for Brawn GP, and admits he loves heading back to the Brazilian track.
“I love going back to Interlagos,” insisted Button. “It’s one of my favourite circuits and one where I have a lot of happy memories – I clinched the championship there in 2009. It’s a really fantastic track and up there with the best circuits in the world. When you walk through the gates you can really sense the history and the excitement from the fans – it’s very special.”
Looking ahead to the weekend, the Briton feels the track offers more overtaking opportunities than other circuits, and feels rewarded when he gets a perfect lap in. He is hoping for a positive result in Brazil after his struggles in Austin kept him outside the points.
“It’s a tricky circuit to get right but that makes it all the more exciting,” said Button. “There’s more opportunities to overtake there than at other tracks, and the twisty infield section towards the end of the lap is a real challenge as you’re constantly on the limit trying not to out-brake yourself, so when you get it spot on it’s really rewarding. I last won there in 2012, and although our results since then haven’t lived up to our own expectations, it’s clear that we are steadily improving our package and our aim, of course, is to build on that this weekend.
“The altitude there and elevation changes make the track really unique, so getting set-up and the balance right from the get-go will be key, especially to adapt to the bumpy surface. Austin proved a more difficult race for us than we had hoped, but I’m focused on achieving the best result we can in Brazil and getting the most out of this great circuit.”
It will be team-mate Magnussen’s first visit to Interlagos, and he is looking forward to getting out on track on Friday for the first time. He feels it is important the team builds on the momentum that has been seen in the last few races, with the gap back to the Sahara Force India team in the battle for fifth place in the constructors championship now 24 points.
“It’s great to go to Brazil for the first time,” said Magnussen. “Although I’ve never raced there before, I know a lot about the circuit and it’s one of those legendary places that’s so ingrained in Formula 1 history. So many of my idols have raced at Interlagos and it’s one of the circuits I’ve always wanted to drive on myself, so I’m really looking forward to getting out there.
“The fact that the grand prix is only a week after the last race in Austin is a positive, as we’ll be pushing to maintain the momentum from last weekend and continuously build on our race performances, as we have been over the second half of the season. Interlagos, like Austin, is one of only a few circuits that run anti-clockwise, so it’s cool that these two races are back to back.
“From the first corner onwards, Interlagos is a really exciting circuit and there are quite a few overtaking opportunities, especially in the first sector. It’s a real driver’s track and pretty bumpy all the way round, so set-up will be crucial to getting the most out of a lap. The South American fans love their Formula 1 too, so I’m excited about getting there and sampling the atmosphere. It’s important that we build on the experience we gained in Austin – it was a tough weekend, but Brazil is another race and we’ll give everything we have to come away with a decent result for the team.”