Button looks to future as the present rushes past him

"I did a good lap there, and I qualified 13th... I'm not going racing for that. That would have been pole in a good car." Jenson Button's voice remains as calm as it always is, but looking back on qualifying at the recent US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, he admits that was the last time he felt pure anger.

A year ago he was still Britain's Great Hope, only a month or so away from that final victorious breakthrough in the rain-spoiled Hungarian Grand Prix. Today, there is a poignancy about his situation. Destroyed in terms of results by Lewis Hamilton, drowned in the wave of Hamiltonmania that is about to flood Silverstone in next week's British GP, he is the victim of Honda's woeful inability to capitalise on a fabulous run in the second half of 2006 that saw him garner more points than either the eventual world champion, Fernando Alonso, or his challenger Michael Schumacher.

All things are relative, of course, and one need not be so concerned for Button's financial wellbeing. For somebody who still has just that singleton victory on the board, he has achieved security for his family, his family's family and... OK, you get the picture. He is very nicely fixed. But contrary to any perception that racing drivers are money-grabbing playboys, there is always that fundamental reality: they race because they want to win. And Button wants to win as much now as he did before the Hungaroring yielded up the big prize.

"You get that hot feeling when you are told P13 [13th place]," he reflected. "You think to yourself, 'What do I have to do?'

"But shouting about it isn't going to help anyone. As it is, everything is changing within the team. The only way that the people there can work harder is if you give 100 per cent and they do too.

"My motivation is the same as ever. This team can achieve great things, we have some fantastic people here, but maybe we have been a bit lost this year. And, yes, this is not the first time it's happened. It happened at the start of 2005 and 2006.

"But why wouldn't I be motivated? If you let yourself give up, you might as well stop. I am going as hard as I do when things are good, otherwise I'll never achieve anything. I look at it that 2007 will not be my last year in F1. We are building a car, and what is more important is what we will do in 2008. You have to look to the future.

He added: "It's all about performing the best we can, staying focused and dedicated. And if everyone in the team understands that you are working at 100 per cent, you hope that they will do the same."

A week is a long time in politics. Paradoxically, a season can be a short time in racing. In 12 months' time Honda might have turned the corner and given him the machine that his talent merits. Until then, though, the frustration will continue to simmer.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate