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Mat Coch writes:
Ever since dominating the Australian Grand Prix in March Jenson Button has been little more than a footnote to the season thus far. The 2009 world champion, famous for being kind to his tyres, has struggled to be competitive while teammate Lewis Hamilton mixes it at the front of the field.
"The last few races have been tough," Button conceded in the build-up to this weekend's British Grand Prix. The Englishman has remained defiantly relaxed, confident in his ability despite the poor run of results. "I know I'm doing a job most people would love to do," he continued. "I've lived through tough times, I have lived through good times, and this is something I still love."
In truth Button needs a win more than most, his season having fallen flat as the championship moves quickly out of reach. The consistency of Fernando Alonso and the Red Bull duo - Valencia excused - has escaped the 2009 world champion, heaping on pressure from the media.
A strong result in his home Grand Prix would therefore be welcome, not least because it would put a difficult patch behind him. "It would be a very special year to stand at the top of the podium as winner of the British Grand Prix," he said. "Of course, every year is special to win your home grand prix but this year we have the best opportunity.
"It is a massive year for the UK with the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics," he continued. "Although we race for a team, most drivers are very patriotic and they want to succeed at their home Grand Prix for themselves but also for their fellow countrymen.
"That was what it felt like after winning the world championship after so many years trying to get the right car and the right team. I'm not sure I will be blubbing like a girl but I will be emotional."
The emotion of winning a drivers home Grand Prix was demonstrated by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in Valencia. After the race the Spaniard proclaimed the victory as one of his best while the press has heaped it with praise. Button, however, is not sold on the idea.
"Fernando is one of the stand-out drivers," he said. "When you race against him and beat him, it feels special. I respect him a lot because he is not just very quick, his talents are more in the race than qualifying and surrounding himself with the right people in the team.
"He won his home grand prix, when everything fell into place. Sometimes when you make those moves, they don't work out, and you end up in the wall. Was his performance scary? No, he just did a great job, and so did his team with strategy."
For Button the real concern lies not with Ferrari but Red Bull. "The pace that Sebastian had was amazing," he admitted. "He was on fire, and had a massive difference in pace to the rest of the field. We haven't seen that before."
Button's remains hopeful that his McLaren will be better suited to Silverstone than his red or blue rivals. "The car should suit the circuit," he claimed. "It is a bit random but I feel it should work."
Unlike his rivals Button will be staying at the circuit over the weekend, camping out with friends and family in a camper van. "Staying on site reminds me of being a kid going to races and staying in a caravan," he revealed. "The evenings will be relaxed but I'll be 100 per cent focused from the moment I wake.
"Any British driver wants to win the British Grand Prix. It's the trophy I want most of all."
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