Button and Hamilton both target home triumph under British rain

The rain tumbled down in sheets over Tower Bridge yesterday. "Beautiful day," said Jenson Button, deploying that effortless grin as he peered towards the Tower of London. "I've brought my girlfriend. She said to me – is this summer in England?"

Button and his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton were soon spotted by a group of Italian tourists who heckled them good naturedly as they passed with cries of "Ferrari, Ferrari" before the rain drowned them out. The two Britons smiled. Bad weather is good news for them.

If conditions are similar at Silverstone this weekend there will not be two happier men than the home hopes; Hamilton looking for British Grand Prix win No 2 and Button his first. "Red Bull will be very difficult to beat," said Button, "but if it's mixed conditions or wet it gives us a better opportunity. We enjoy driving in the wet – we are both used to it!"

These two have form in the rain, although the forecast for the weekend offers only qualified encouragement; rain today and at tomorrow's vital qualifying session but for race day the prediction is all dry.

Hamilton's victory in 2008 came with a dazzling mastery of dreadful conditions as he finished 68 seconds clear of his pursuers. Afterwards Hamilton described it as his best-ever victory and it remains his pick of 15 Grand Prix wins. "It was very special," said Hamilton. "It was one of the worst conditions I have driven in and I don't really know how I managed to get round."

Button, who sits second in the world championship, albeit a distant 75 points behind the relentless Sebastian Vettel, enjoyed his sole win this season in the rain in Montreal last month. The Canadian Grand Prix was suspended for more than two hours – in all the race spanned four hours, the longest in Formula One history – with Button later splashing to victory. "It is not so good for fans sitting in it," said Button, "but in terms of our pace in the wet and in terms of result, wet weather could be good."

Both men, Button relaxed and chatty, Hamilton quieter and composed, claim to savour the week of their home race, even though it is their busiest of the calendar with the demands of sponsors – yesterday's photoshoot saw them beaming alongside London taxi drivers, windscreen wipers working furiously on the black cabs.

"I don't feel any pressure," said Button, convincingly. He compares how easy it feels to drive a Grand Prix as opposed to playing in a Wimbledon final – he was watching from the Royal Box on Sunday.

"You could feel the pressure on the finalists. We can sit there beneath our crash helmets and be at one with the car. It takes you away from the outside world."

Button's record in the British Grand Prix is one of frustration, last year he was half a second off securing a first podium place at the 11th attempt. "As a racing driver," he said, "you want to be world champion, win Monaco and win your home race and I haven't achieved that yet."

"The older races are more special," added Hamilton. "You grow up watching drivers create history and now you are living the dream. It's the biggest sporting event in this country."

The two, Button five years Hamilton's senior at 31, seem relaxed together. They discuss the driver relationship, a much-speculated area of any F1 team's affairs. "On the circuit you want to beat everyone," said Button. "Off it you have to work together. If there is fighting it causes a bad atmosphere among the team." Hamilton put it this way: "Sometimes there are personality clashes. In the past that has been the case but we get along very well."

Button unfurled that disarming grin again. "We're positive but you have also got to look at the previous race – Red Bull are very, very strong. But it's a different style of circuit and if the weather stays like this it will be one hell of a weekend."

Vodafone is rallying the public behind the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 drivers ahead of the British Grand Prix. Vodafone VIP gives customers access to the best of British Formula One events. Register at www.vodafone.co.uk/vip

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat