PARIS, France, July 27 – McLaren’s former world champion drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton insisted Tuesday they are both relishing a return to the Hungaroring for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Button will mark his 200th Grand Prix at the site of his first GP victory five years ago, while Hamilton will be looking to keep the momentum going from his German Grand Prix victory on Sunday.
“It’s always fun coming back to Hungary as this is the track at which I won my first Grand Prix, in 2006, and I’ll be celebrating another milestone on Sunday because this is my 200th Grand Prix,” said Button.
“I can’t believe I’ve already knocked up a double-ton of F1 starts because I don’t feel a day older than when I made my debut back in 2000.”
Button, 31, has climbed on the podium 35 times, winning ten races, most during the 2009 season when he was crowned world champion with the Brawn GP team.
The British driver won the Canadian GP this year and is fifth in the overall standings, although 107 points behind Germany’s Sebastian Vettel after being forced to retire with mechanical problems in Germany.
“After a premature end to my race at the Nurburgring, I’ll be hoping for better luck at the Hungaroring,” he said.
Fellow Briton Hamilton admitted it would be fascinating to see who from McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari would take the advantage.
“After my win at the Nurburgring on Sunday, the Hungarian Grand Prix can’t come soon enough. The team performed brilliantly last weekend and I want to maintain that momentum at the Hungaroring.
“It’s going to be a completely different challenge. The weather conditions will be much hotter than they were at the ’Ring and the nature of the circuit will be very different too.
“The Hungaroring is a tight and twisty racetrack, not dissimilar to Monaco in terms of downforce levels, and it offers no let up for the drivers. We’re always working behind the wheel, so it’s very physical.”
“I’ve always gone well in Hungary. I like the circuit because it’s old school. It has a very historic feel to it, with hills and bumps and camber changes, and it has massive character.”
“There wasn’t much between McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull in Germany. It’s going to be fascinating to see which team holds the advantage next weekend.”
Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, won in China and Germany this season and is third in the standings behind Red Bull drivers Vettel and Australia’s Mark Webber.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: “Everyone in the team thoroughly enjoyed Lewis’s win at the Nurburgring on Sunday, but our attention has already turned to this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Back-to-back races don’t afford you the luxury of looking backwards, only forwards!
“McLaren has won at the circuit nine times, which is more than any other team, and we’ll be looking to add to that tally on Sunday.”
“Lewis proved at the Nurburgring that he’s at the top of his game at the moment.
“As for Jenson, he’s had some bad luck in the last couple of races. But he’s mentally tough and he knows that the tide will turn. He’s driven beautifully this year and it’s up to us to give him a car worthy of his talents.”