Button losing race against time

Honda driver warns fans not to expect home win at British Grand Prix

Jenson Button might not quite define pressure as the exertion of continuous force on one body by another, but the 26-year-old Englishman is one of several top dogs who go into next week's British Grand Prix over-burdened by it. So much so that, after an excruciatingly disappointing season thus far, in which he had expected to be fighting for the world championship with Messrs Alonso, Raikkonen and Schumacher but has not been, he has already cautioned his legion of fans not to expect too much of him.

You have to feel sorry for the guy. He is quick, of that there is no doubt. But where rivals Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher have the equipment to do the job, Button does not. Not yet. Honda are struggling to get their RA106 right, and doubtless they will, but it is a matter of time, and it won't have happened since Monaco.

"People really shouldn't expect too much," Button says plaintively, his words dripping with quiet frustration, as you and he both know that he is unlikely to follow in the wheeltracks of Sir Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Sir Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, John Watson, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill and win at home.

Honda tested in Barcelona last week, and Button said: "It went well. We did our normal tyre-testing programme for the British Grand Prix, which was very useful. We also looked at set-up work to resolve the issues we experienced in Monaco, and focused on finding a set-up which is consistent. We did a great deal of work and we are getting the maximum out of the car at the moment." To decode that, it means they have not made the step forward they need to make to catch Renault and Ferrari, nor, possibly, McLaren.

Meanwhile, Schumacher comes to Silverstone with his face as red as his Ferrari after being branded a cheat by the FIA stewards during qualifying in Monaco. At a stroke, he undid all the good he has done since he last did the same thing, when fighting Jacques Villeneuve for the title in Jerez back in 1997.

Of course, even the toilet cleaner at Ferrari will tell you he did not get a fair hearing, but he did. And this is what one steward, Joaquin Verdegay, told the Italian paper Gazetta dello Sport: "It was a painful decision because we could not make a mistake and put the reputation of the driver at risk. We don't know if the entire manoeuvre was deliberate, but in that spot he had certainly not done anything like that throughout the weekend; he braked over 50 per cent more heavily than on other laps.

"Then he did some absolutely unnecessary and pathetic counter-steering, and that lasted five metres, until there were no more chances of going through the turn normally.

"He lost control of the car while travelling at 16 kph! That's something completely unjustifiable. If he had damaged the car, we would probably have filed it as an error. To 'park' it that way, you only do it deliberately."

The whole episode dredged up all the bad things in Schumacher's past: taking Damon Hill off in Adelaide in 1994 to win his first crown; the Villeneuve incident; winning at Silverstone in 1998 only after taking a stop-and-go penalty in the pits as he crossed the line on the last lap; phantom spins there when he tried to give himself the best starting position for final qualifying; the swerve there in 2003 that put Fernando Alonso on the grass at 190mph.

Quite possibly Schumacher will win next weekend. But so long as Alonso gets on the pod-ium, the Spaniard will not be that bothered. With a 21-point lead it will be a long time before Schumacher can catch him, barring unreliability or accident. So while Button and Schumacher will be feeling the pressure; Alonso remains the man exerting it.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all