Button's hopes of a home victory left in the balance

Championship leader struggles in qualifying as conditions go against him

So much was expected of championship leader Jenson Button on his home turf, but the Brawn driver encountered difficulties with the balance of the car as he struggled to get his tyres up to temperature in the cool conditions, and as yet he has been unable to deliver. The team made adjustments after his first run in the third and final part of qualifying, but on his last lap the balance of the car that has taken him to six wins in seven races was still not perfect, and right at the end a fast lap by Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima pushed him down to sixth place.

"Whilst qualifying in sixth is by no means a bad result, of course I'm hugely disappointed not to be starting my home grand prix from further up the grid," Button said. "We knew that we would find it difficult here as our car doesn't work so well at low temperatures and I really struggled to get the tyres into their working range. I struggled massively with understeer in the high-speed corners and then had oversteer at low speed so it wasn't the best balance for such a competitive qualifying session.

"My aim as always in the race will be to score as many points as possible and I hope that we can put on a great show for the thousands of fans who will be here to enjoy the race at this fantastic circuit."

Button has one major consolation. "I know that whatever happens tomorrow, I will still leave here in the lead of the world championship by 16 points," he said. "But I really want to win my home race."

Lewis Hamilton was more dejected, as an accident to his friend Adrian Sutil, who crashed his Force India in the Abbey curve during the first qualifying session, ruined his own chances of progressing through to the second and left him 19th on the grid. "I did the best I could today," the world champion said. "I was pushing as hard as I could but our car is too slow. I gave it my all and there wasn't really much more I could have got from it."

He refused to blame Sutil for his demise, and said he was unlikely to have improved significantly on the lap that had to be aborted as the red flag came out. "I was pushing on that final one – but it was nothing special. However, we live to fight another day and anything can happen in the race tomorrow. We'll keep pushing on and hopefully put on a good show for all the fans. The great thing is that I've had incredible support these past few days from them – they're the ones who are really helping me to get through it, so a big thank you to all of them."

Felipe Massa, the man Hamilton beat so narrowly to the title last year, was also glum, down in 11th place in a Ferrari he had hoped might be competitive enough on this fast course to erase memories of his awful time here in 2008. "Not a great weekend for us, there's no point denying it," he said. "I missed out getting into Q3 because I made a mistake in the final sector. Up until then I was a few tenths up on my previous best time."

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

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
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test