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Page last updated at 18:43 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 19:43 UK

Button wary of Red Bull challenge

Venue: Nurburgring Dates: 10-12 July 2009 Coverage: Live coverage of Friday's practice sessions, Saturday qualifying and Sunday's race - which starts at 1300 BST - across BBC TV, radio and online platforms. Find full listings here

Jenson Button
Button, 29, has been in outstanding form for former Honda team Brawn this year

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Germany

World championship leader Jenson Button has voiced his concerns about the challenge posed to his title ambitions by the rapidly improving Red Bull team.

Conditions at Sunday's German Grand Prix are expected to favour Red Bull rather than Button's Brawn GP car, which can struggle on cooler tracks.

"I'd rather it was hotter but we just have to make sure we don't make any mistakes," said Button.

"We have to stay as close to the Red Bulls as we possibly can."

He added: "If the Red Bulls beat us in every race this year then they can easily win the championship so we have to be fighting - we can't sit back and relax."

Button finished sixth behind a Red Bull one-two at the British Grand Prix on 21 June, and the Briton is anticipating another test at the Nurburgring.

The cool temperatures at Silverstone played into Red Bull's hands as Button and his Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello were unable to get their tyres up to the optimum operating temperature.

We have some improvements on our car this weekend which should help us but I know Red Bull have some updates as well

Jenson Button

Rain is forecast for Sunday's race under the Nurburgring's famously fickle skies and Button expects Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber to take full advantage.

"It will be a difficult weekend. Sebastian and Mark will be quick here," said Button, who has won six of the first eight races this season to gather a 23-point championship lead over Barrichello.

"After Silverstone, they've stepped it up again at the factory and updates that were coming in three races will be coming in two races instead.

"We have some improvements on our car this weekend which should help us but I know Red Bull have some updates as well."

Vettel is racing in front of his home crowd, who have high hopes of witnessing the 22-year-old claim his third win of the season.

Lower temperatures have helped the German driver collect victories at Shanghai and Silverstone this season, while Webber is still searching for his first GP win.

But Button believes both Red Bull drivers remain in the hunt for the title and victory at the Nurburgring.

"Mark is three-and-a-half points behind Sebastian and they are fighting each other, just like Rubens and I are," he added.

Sebastien Vettel
Vettel was untouchable at the British Grand Prix

"It looks like Sebastian can be quicker but as far as consistency goes, Webber looks stronger and less ragged than Sebastian.

"Mark has a lot more experience than Sebastian has round here as Sebastian has never raced at the Nurburgring in an F1 car."

While Button is out to minimise Red Bull's advantage in Germany, the championship leader was also bullish about his own chances.

The layout of the Nurburgring should suit the Brawns, which excel in heavy braking areas.

Button is also confident that the decision to use super-soft tyres - which reach optimum temperatures more quickly than other compounds - will also help their cause.

"Even in this temperature, we can get the super-soft tyre to work well," the 29-year-old added.

"We've only had half the season and so much can change. You can never get comfortable but I'd rather be me in a Brawn than Sebastian or Mark in a Red Bull."

Vettel, who is 25 points behind Button in the title race, is also expecting a challenging weekend at the Eifel Mountain circuit.


"It will be a hard fight because you never know what will happen in these conditions," he said.

"We have some small new bits on the car but nothing major, and this year whoever brings major updates seems to make a big step.

"Our target has to be to win because Brawn are in a better position than we are but it's still a long, long way to go.

"Every single race is important now. We didn't always do the best job in the first couple of races but we are still in a strong position and we are here to fight."

While Button failed to deliver a podium finish in front of his British fans, Vettel hopes the partisan support will spur him on this weekend.

"Seeing lots of people cheering for you, gives you more power and maybe the little extra that you need," he added.

"But the thing that matters most is the racing. It's nice to win your home Grand Prix but there's a long way to go until Sunday and the most important thing now is to focus."

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see also
Title is 'Button's to lose now'
07 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Red Bull blow F1 fight wide open
23 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Red Bull to change reserve driver
01 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Button plays down Red Bull gains
21 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Vettel romps to Silverstone win
21 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Button hopes to bounce back in Germany
21 Jun 09 |  Formula 1

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