Jenson Button hopes that McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso will “annihilate” him in the United States Grand Prix this weekend, as the Spaniard runs the Honda engine upgrade while the Brit sticks to the old one.
Both Button and Alonso qualified and raced the Specification 3 engine in Sochi, but Alonso had run the upgraded Specification 4 engine in free practice on Friday and will use it across the US GP weekend.
“Normally, when you’re teammates, you want exactly the same [engine],” said Button. “But I’m hoping it’s a really good upgrade; I hope he’s really quick and annihilates me all weekend! It’s unusual to say that.
“When you’re fighting for a world championship, or fighting at the front, everything has to be the same. But in our situation, it doesn’t matter. It’s about getting it on the car and proving it out reliability-wise.”
Button will get his own Specification 4 unit at the next race in Mexico City, and says he’s fine with delaying the move as he is targeting another points finish this weekend.
“This circuit is much better than Sochi for us,” he said, having finished ninth in Russia. “We scored points there because we were reliable and did nothing wrong.
"Here, hopefully, we should be more competitive and be able to fight for points.”
Raising track-drainage fears
Button described the ominous weather forecast for this weekend as “mental” and added: “It looks like the whole of Texas is going to be underwater!
“It could be tricky, and I’m hoping it rains today [Thusday] so I can go for a run and see where the puddles are. This track has so much elevation, so you’re going to get pools of water on it.
“They had the WEC race here last year which was very wet, hopefully they learnt from that [a number of cars aquaplaned off during a heavy rainstorm].
"Those cars are a lot heavier, so it will be worse for us. But it’ll be our first time in the wet here.
“Last year we were very strong in the wet, but we’ve had a few issues in the wet [this year], so we have something to solve this weekend, and see if improvements have helped us.”
Catch our Inside GP preview...