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Button: No excuses this year

NEWS STORY
22/02/2012

Jenson Button, who says he now really feels part of the McLaren family, is determined to go one better than he did in 2011 and take the 2012 title.

Although he finished runner-up last season, the 122 point gap to Sebastian Vettel speaks volumes. On the other hand, for a driver who was supposed to get "murdered" by his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, the 2009 world champion did well, becoming the first teammate to beat the Stevenage Rocket in the F1 championship.

However, like yesterday's newspapers, this is no time to stand still and rest on one's laurels, Button is hungry, and has his eyes set on the sport's ultimate prize, once again.

"Last year I felt that I did the best with the car I had, that I really grew with the team, really felt a big part of McLaren, not just a driver but a big part of the team," the Englishman told Reuters.

"So there are no excuses this year," he continued. "I feel that we have everything. The relationship I have with my engineers and mechanics is very good, and there's a really good understanding there. There's nothing to fall back on and say 'This is the reason why we didn't win in 2012'.

"I'm very happy now with my position in the team, and winning the world championship with McLaren would be amazing," he admitted. "With any team it would be amazing, but with a team you've been with for two years and had such a good relationship with and feel a big part of after such a short period, it does mean more than just arriving and driving the best car."

Initial testing suggests that McLaren is up there, but still lags behind Red Bull. On the other hand, there have been no repeats of last year's pre-season build-up when it was clear the Woking outfit was in trouble.

"There's nothing to say we're one and a half seconds quicker than anyone, there's also nothing to say we are not fast," said Button, who is back in the MP4-27 tomorrow. "Our programme is our programme and we are just getting on with it. It feels nice to drive, I feel very comfortable in the car, and it does everything you expect it to. It's just developing it now for the first race."

While all eyes are on Hamilton, and his new mentor, Didier Coton, Button has his very own travelling comfort zone. "I have the best manager in F1, the best PR man, best PA and best physio," said the Frome born driver. "So for me over the winter I've not refined anything in any way.

"It's good to be back," he added. "I feel very confident in my ability, and in my input into the car and the team feeling I'm doing my part. It's all moving in the right direction, so I'm happy."

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