My Race Weekend Diary: Jenson Button | Saturday
Other than the bits we watch on TV, have you ever wondered what drivers get up to away from the cameras over a race weekend? What’s their schedule like, what do they eat, how do they prepare, and what makes them tick?
Here, Jenson gives us the full lowdown in his diary of a race weekend. The action starts early on Friday morning, when us race fans are itching to hear the sound of the V6s screaming on track, and to get all the gossip from the first day of action.
We go behind the scenes with JB to find out what really goes on before the cameras start rolling.
"The mindset on a Saturday morning is the same as a Friday," says Jenson. "Obviously, Saturday afternoon is probably the highest pressure moment you have in a racing car – it’s qualifying. On a Saturday morning though, again you run through the standard programme, feeling how the car is and seeing how the circuit has changed overnight.
"You obviously need to adapt to the conditions, but you also have to remember that qualifying is probably going to be 10 degrees hotter, so it’s important not to get too worried if the car feels different from the Friday running. There’s so much to go through in your head, and you’ve just got to try and stay relaxed. Fernando and I have a lot of experience, so it’s definitely got easier.
"Qualifying is no longer a case of one banzai lap like it used to be. The main difference between the top teams and the teams like us who are lower down the grid, is that every lap counts for qualifying.
"Our first lap always counts – if that goes perfectly well, you’ll qualify through to Q2 and you won’t need to do a second run in Q1. That means you’ve saved a set of tyres, which makes Q2 easier, and helps to get through to Q3. It all has to go smoothly and every lap has to be on the money, which is very different from how the top three teams approach it.
"I enjoy driving the car the most on a low fuel lap. It’s light – 120 kilos, heavier than ten years ago, but still light – and that’s when you have the maximum grip: the lowest fuel you can run, and the highest engine modes. That’s Formula 1 at its best, and that’s what we love as drivers."