Jenson Button says he is in two minds about how to approach the remaining races of the Formula One season as he attempts to hang on to his lead in the drivers’ championship.
Entering this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, Button acknowledged the importance of driving aggressively while knowing he need trail his Brawn GP teammate Rubens Barrichello in order to clinch the title.
Button has a 14-point lead over Barrichello, with only two points difference between winning and finishing second.
“It’s a great position to be in, but it’s also a tricky one,” Button said. “As a driver, your instinct is to win, but I also have to think that all I have to do is finish (immediately) behind my teammate each race.
“You have to go all out, be aggressive, but it’s always in the back of the mind to finish, be consistent.”
Button has not won a race since the Turkish Grand Prix in early June while Barrichello has won two of the past three.
Button need only cast his mind back to 2007 for a cautionary tale, as British compatriot Lewis Hamilton blew an even more dominant championship lead late in the season.
“Lewis had a 17 point lead with two races to go and lost it by a point, so there is a long way to go,” Button said.
The power advantage enjoyed by the Mercedes engine teams - Brawn, McLaren and Force India - over the past two races was likely to be negated on the twisty, stop-start Marina Bay circuit.
However, the warm temperatures should assist the low-downforce Brawns, which struggle to get heat into the rubber in cooler conditions, losing grip.
“We’ve learned a few things over the last few races,” Button said. “When the temperature is good, our consistency is good and our lap times are good.”
Button gave a hint on Brawn’s race strategy when he likened the Singapore race to Monaco, due to the difficulty in passing.
In Monaco, Brawn chose to use the super-soft tyre compound and be more heavily fuelled than rivals. Even when the Brawn tyres started to degrade and lap times fell, the quicker cars behind them simply could not pass.