Button confident ahead of Spanish race

Jenson Button is confident that McLaren can be strong in Barcelona, as the championship leader looks to stretch his lead over the European leg of the season.

The British driver was triumphant in last year’s Spanish Grand Prix and believes that McLaren’s strong showing there in pre-season testing could help him repeat the result.” Button said in McLaren’s Spainish Grand Prix preview.

“The Spanish Grand Prix is a race I won last year, and I regard it as one of my best victories of the 2009 season. It’s a relatively high-speed circuit, and one that’s quite enjoyable to drive – provided your car is working properly.

“There are some fast corners, like Turn Nine and the final corner, but the majority of the track is made up of pretty long corners where you really need the car to do all the work. It’s a circuit that really rewards precision, and punishes aggression. And if you’ve got a car that wants to understeer, then you’re going to have a difficult race!

“Fortunately, our car does seem to have a very good neutral balance in the high-speed corners it’s probably the most impressive aspect of the car and we went well during pre-season testing, so I think we go into this weekend feeling pretty well prepared.

“Finally, I’m looking forward to returning to Europe. It’s been an incredibly exciting series of flyaway races, but I think everybody in Formula 1 looks forward to racing closer to home, back in the sport’s heartland.”

Team-mate Lewis Hamilton is also optimistic about his chances around the Circuit de Catalunya, but believes that McLaren must not underestimate its rivals.

“We’ve got a couple of fairly significant upgrades coming for this race.” he said “And while it would be naive to think that these will move us up the pecking order because almost all the teams produce a major bodywork update for Barcelona we’re optimistic that they’ll once again help us to bridge the gap to the leading cars.

“And, of course, we’ve proved in the past that we’ve been both extremely capable and prolific at adding performance to the car across the course of the season, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be heading into Barcelona in good shape.

“If it’s a dry race, then, realistically, I think it’s going to be harder for us to be up at the front. As we did in China, we’ll be putting additional emphasis on qualifying; it will be more important than ever in Barcelona as, traditionally, it’s always been a track where overtaking is very difficult. Given that most cars will only be stopping once, we have a less scope for passing, so a good grid position will be vital here.”