Jenson Button has shown he is still every bit the racer that charged through the rain-induced chaos to victory in Hungary in 2006 after delivering a sensational lap in qualifying on Saturday that well-and-truly transcended the capabilities of his Honda – one that puts him just outside the top ten for the start of today’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
A few years ago, when Button was consistently vying for podiums and contemplating a move to bigger and better things – which took the form of Williams and then Honda again – twelfth place would have been a crushing disappointment for the man from Frome. But such is Honda’s lack of performance at the moment that the British driver was struggling to conceal his delight with his assault on the time-sheets.
“I’m happy to have qualified in P12 today after a good lap on the final run in Q2 pushed me a few places up the grid,” enthused Button. “We’ve definitely made some progress with the new developments to the car and in particular the new rear suspension is working well and this has enabled us to improve the car step by step over the weekend.”
“I got the most out of the car today and it’s encouraging to see we were only three-tenths away from the top ten as it has been a while since we were that close. I’m on the dirty side of the grid, which is a disadvantage, but I am sure we can have a good race tomorrow from here nonetheless.”
Honda’s Head of Race and Test Engineering was full of praise for Button’s performance: “P12 is where we hoped to be today so, yes, we have moved a little closer to the middle order again. The new mechanical developments have brought us improved stability and that has enabled us to achieve a better balance on the car this weekend.”
“Due credit to Jenson as he delivered a particularly good lap when it counted and we have reason to feel optimistic about tomorrow’s race.”