Jenson Button is convinced Red Bull Racing will crack if put under pressure. The world champion, Sebastian Vettel, has so far had it easy this season, winning three of the four grands prix to date and finishing second in the other from a run of four consecutive pole positions.
Vettel's championship lead is such that even if the German suffered a failure on Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya he would still retain top spot. Lewis Hamilton is Vettel's nearest challenger, albeit 34 points adrift, while Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Button is 47 off the pace.
After being trounced by Red Bull in Turkey 11 days ago, when Vettel spearheaded the team's first one-two of the season, it is now up to McLaren to try to turn the screw on their rivals. "We can't stand still, we have to move forward," Button said yesterday. "This team will never give up, I know that, and I have every faith they will bring some good improvements to Barcelona.
"Definitely the Red Bulls are quick and they have a lot of points on the board, but it can all turn around very quickly as soon as you put them under pressure. So we have to make sure that sooner rather than later we start doing that."
All Button is asking for this weekend is "more pace" to compete with Red Bull on a track where they suffered in pre-season testing. The current car has improved enormously since that disaster, but as Button rightly points out, McLaren are "never going to find two seconds from race to race".
The Briton added: "We were in a bad place before the year started. But you have to forget what happened in the winter and start with what happened at the first race. We're all doing our best to improve the car, but we didn't put anything on it over the weekend in Turkey. Hopefully, we'll turn up in Barcelona and we'll have more pace. That is what we need, to get more stuff on the car as quick as we can. Obviously, everyone is doing as good a job as they can, but you always want more. Every race you need to improve the car, and we didn't do that in Turkey because the best of our cars was fourth."
As much as Button wants to see improvement, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh cannot promise anything, not after encountering a number of issues with the planned upgrades in Istanbul.
"As we saw, there is always risk inherent in bringing any upgrade to the circuit, particularly following the absence of testing," said Whitmarsh. "For Barcelona, we're planning to reintroduce some of the proposed upgrades initially scheduled for Istanbul. They'll only be introduced if their initial deployment on Friday [in practice] proves successful."Reuse content