By Alex Kapadia
Jenson Button was forced into sixth place at the British Grand Prix today after he suffered problems generating heat in his tyres in the cool conditions.
The outlook looked bleak from the outset when he started from sixth, dropping to ninth after a disasterous start.
“If you don’t get the tyres in their working range, it doesn’t matter what car you’ve got, it doesn’t work, so that was my problem here, Button said after the race.
But after switching to the grippier soft tyres in the final stint and enjoying a good final pit stop, the Brawn GP driver managed to claw his way back up to finish sixth.
However, the day and the Silverstone title belonged to Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel. He started from poll and led the race to take the chequered flag, with team-made Mark Webber coming second and Rubens Barrichello taking third place on the podium for Brawn.
Yet Button said his pace in the closing stages – when he lapped within 0.5 seconds of Vettel’s best time – showed that Brawn’s main problem was tyre temperature, not a fundamentally slow car.
He said afterwards: “I didn’t know what was going to happen today. “I think I showed that when I was on the soft tyre I had good pace.”
Button added: “But on the hard tyre the care just doesn’t work and I couldn’t get any tyre temp. Plus you can’t overtake here and I got a terrible start.
“(Jarno) Trulli in front got a really slow getaway, as they (Toyota) normally do, and I had nowhere to go.
“I tried to go to the inside but the gap wasn’t there and the outside was full, so I was stuck and everyone just show by on the outside.”
Disappointed Button, who is still 23-points ahead of his team mate Rubens Barrichello and has 25-points in hand over Vettel, conceded: “If you don’t get the qualifying right, which I didn’t, and you get a bad start, you’re stuck.”