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British Grand Prix: Jenson Button eyes 'essential' wins

British Grand Prix, Silverstone, 9-11 July
Coverage: Live on BBC One, Red Button, BBC Sport website, Radio 5 live and mobile phones; text commentary each day online Full details here
Qualifying: Saturday from 1210 BST Race: Sunday from 1210 BST

Jenson Button
Button, 30, has won nine Formula 1 races throughout his career so far

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport at Silverstone

McLaren's Jenson Button insists winning more races is now critical to his hopes of retaining his world championship.

Button's last win of two this season came in China back in April but he says the new points system, which gives 25 for a win, makes victories essential.

"We do have to win races," said Button. "It's the same for us all if any of us are going to challenge for the title.

"The difference in points between first and second [seven] means it is key. It's not just about consistency."

The new points system was introduced in 2010 to encourage drivers to fight for victory rather than capturing the title by a steady accumulation of points.

After nine races and with the season reaching its half-way point at Silverstone, the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, McLaren's two British drivers and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso are all race-winners.

Hamilton leads the championship from his team-mate Button by six points after back-to-back victories in Turkey and Canada.

ANDREW BENSON BLOG

And the 25-year-old wants to cement that advantage as McLaren head home with an updated car, which will trial an exhaust blown diffuser during Friday practice.

"We have had a few good races and the car is better and better," said Hamilton, who won in the wet at Silverstone in 2008.

"We've got to make sure we sure these components work this weekend but an update package doesn't always bring what you expect.

"It feels bit by bit we are getting all the segments in the right position to win the championship.

"The feeling of winning your home grand prix is unique and very special - it's almost as good as winning the world championship.

Button, whose best finish at Silverstone was fourth in 2004, wants to add a home victory to his F1 roll of honour but agrees that getting the updates on song could be crucial to his chances on Sunday.

"For me, as for most drivers, our main aim is to win the world championship, to win in Monaco - and I've managed to achieve both of those - and to win your home grand prix, which is something I'm looking for.

"We know the Red Bulls will be very quick and the Ferraris but our package will really lift us into a good position where we can really fight for a victory.

"We need to raise our game and add performance to the car, but updates don't always work when you first put them on the car - hopefully we'll get it right this weekend."

Alonso, who won the opening race of the season in Bahrain, is also targeting maximum points at the coming races in Britain, Germany and Hungary to reignite his title challenge.

Ferrari introduced a major update, including an exhaust blown diffuser, at the last race in Valencia, but the Spaniard finished eighth after being controversially delayed by the safety car.

"We arrive here after two unlucky races for us," said Alonso, who is fifth in the championship, 29 points adrift of Hamilton.

"We didn't take the points we wanted to but we know what we have to do.

"It's important [to win] not only here but also the next couple of races are important.

"We have three races in four weeks now, so there are 75 points in July to play for so we have to try and score more than the others.

"With all the problems we face, we can do a better job in the second half and hopefully it's enough to be in the fight for the championship.

"I think we can do it."

Webber made the most of Red Bull's sizzling pace to record back-to-back wins in Barcelona and Monaco but has since seen his luck fade, and then get even worse with a spectacular somersault crash in Valencia.

Button and Hamilton joke about relationship

But the Australian, who is fourth in the championship, expects the season to continue to see-saw all the way to November's closing grand prix in Abu Dhabi.

"We know it's changing event by event," said Webber. "The new points system is pretty interesting in that sense.

"At the last race, Fernando had a few problems with the safety car, Lewis had a driver-through but still got second, Jenson didn't qualify well, I crashed and Seb had a perfect weekend - it's up and down like this until the end of the year.

"We know whoever has the best weekends consistently until Abu Dhabi will be the guy who who is in the best shape.

"But there are going to be some more tears before the year's out in terms of reliability, mistakes, pit-stops and mistakes."

The British Grand Prix weekend marks the halfway point of the 19-race season and the field will get the first to assess their form during first practice at 1000 BST on Friday.



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see also
Jenson and Lewis Q&A
08 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Button-Hamilton 'will boil over'
05 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Button delighted with second place
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Jenson Button profile
14 Mar 11 |  Formula 1


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