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Button enjoys absence of pressure

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX
Venue: Yas Marina Dates: 30 Oct - 1 Nov 2009 Coverage: Comprehensive live coverage of Friday practice, Saturday qualifying and Sunday's race - which starts at 1300 GMT - across BBC TV, radio and online platforms. Find full listings here

Jenson Button is looking forward to racing with the pressure off in Abu Dhabi
Jenson Button is looking forward to racing with the pressure off in Abu Dhabi

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Abu Dhabi

World champion Jenson Button is looking forward to racing without any pressure at the final grand prix of 2009.

The Englishman has led the championship all season and says he felt the strain of a difficult summer until winning the title in Brazil two weeks ago.

"It's been a long time since I've not thought about the season," said Button.

"Leading the championship every race is exciting but there are pressures. This is the first time I can relax, go out there, do my thing and enjoy the race."

Button's early-season dominance, when he won six out of the first seven races, helped cement his charge to a maiden title after a decade in Formula 1.

But the 29-year-old Englishman has not won a race since June's Turkish Grand Prix and has since admitted he had begun to get "a bit tight" as his championship lead was cut and the races left in which to recover ran out.

It's a strange feeling - you never know what it's like to be world champion; it's different to what I expected

Jenson Button

Now, with the title under his belt, he is looking forward to unleashing his relaxed, natural flare behind the wheel during the inaugural race at the Yas Marina circuit.

"It's been a while since I've jumped into an F1 car and not felt stressed or a little bit under pressure," he added.

"The last time I wasn't thinking about the championship was my final race (for Honda) in 2008.

"After this weekend, I can relax and get away from F1 for a few weeks which will help me come back stronger when I do step back into the frame."

Button, who became the 10th British world champion and 31st in the history of the sport, has described being a world champion as "strange".

The Somerset-born driver has spent the last week reflecting on his achievements; first with his Brawn team at their Brackley headquarters and then with his close circle of friends in Dubai.

"It's a strange feeling," said Button. "You never know what it's like to be world champion - it's different to what I expected.

Button takes a tour of the Abu Dhabi track on a scooter
Button takes a tour of the Abu Dhabi track on a scooter

"I've worked to become world champion for 21 years; I've dedicated pretty much my whole life to this so far and now I've achieved what I set out to do.

"As a kid, I would have been 'wow' to have my name alongside all the great drivers but because I've had to work so hard for it, it's difficult to explain.

"I haven't been out partying at all. I spent some time with friends in the UK, then I headed up to the factory and since then I've just been here relaxing - and running through the Brazil weekend and what I've achieved."

Button concedes he is having to re-think his goals and ambitions for the future and has already set his sights on becoming the first Briton to claim back-to-back titles.

"Where do you go from here?" Button asked himself under the spotlight of media attention in Abu Dhabi's desert climes.

"Well, there's still a lot to achieve; there are new goals and challenges. I'm not going to think about them too much now but I'm excited.

"Later on this year, I'll think about next year and what lies ahead but I'm not looking too far yet."

Button's immediate future has been the subject of intense speculation as his contract with Brawn expires at the end of the year.

McLaren, whose first choice to partner Lewis Hamilton is believed to be Kimi Raikkonen, are also interested in the idea signing Button to complete an intriguing all-English line-up alongside 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton.

But Button is understood to be keen to stay at Brawn rather than race alongside such a potent team-mate.

MURRAY WALKER'S BLOG

Button has so far refused to be drawn on which team he would defending his world championship with in 2010.

"I've started discussions with Brawn but we're not going to talk seriously until after this weekend," Button said.

"We've had chats this week; we're talking and that's the main thing.

Button has been around the Abu Dhabi circuit on a scooter and he has been impressed with what he has seen.

"It's a fun circuit, I think we'll have a good race here," he said.

"I saw the lay-out a few weeks ago and wasn't too sure. It just looked like a low-speed circuit, nothing that really stood out but having driven it on the simulator this week I really enjoyed it.

"It's a tricky circuit as there's a lot of negative camber on the corner exit which is going to make it tough.

"There are a couple of high-speed areas on the circuit which I thought would be easy flat, but you can see how tight they are. Plus there are some high-speed corners to set your car up for and drag accordingly."

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see also
Brawn '99% sure' Button will stay
25 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
'We pushed Brawn as hard as we could'
21 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Brilliant Button clinches title
18 Oct 09 |  Formula 1


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