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Button admits he found Le Mans “disconcerting” at first

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Button admits he found Le Mans “disconcerting” at first
By:
Co-author: Filip Cleeren
Jun 3, 2018, 6:44 PM

Former F1 World Champion Jenson Button says his first experience of Le Mans was “another world” from what he was used to, but ended the test day happy with his confidence levels.

#11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1: Jenson Button
#11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1: Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov, Jenson Button
#11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1: Jenson Button
#11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1: Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov, Jenson Button
#11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1: Jenson Button
#11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1: Jenson Button
#11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1: Jenson Button
#11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1: Jenson Button

Button completed his first 20 laps around the Circuit de la Sarthe in the SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1-AER he shares with fellow ex-F1 racer Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin.

“I was reasonably happy, but in the morning I found it another world – driving around here in a car I don’t really know,” said Button. “I found it quite disconcerting. But we made some good changes over lunch, and I was much happier with the car in the afternoon. 

“[I had] a lot more confidence. High speed, good confidence, and the braking was much better too. We had quite a lot of ‘push’ and a lot of the corners here are very tight and they come up on you very quickly, which is very different from what I’m used to.

“I definitely got to grips with it in the afternoon, much happier. But you always want more running, and new tyres. We didn’t have enough time, look at the data we have, and hopefully we get some good laps in the Wednesday tests.”

Petrov ended the day fifth quickest with a lap of 3m21.603s. The #11 car lost track time with two issues, one in the morning and another just after lunch.

Button explained: “We lost a lot time because of a sensor issue this morning, so we lost a couple of hours just in the garage, it was a shame. Then we had another small issue after lunch, so our track on time was quite limited. I only ran one set of tyres, not a new set. 

“I think I did 20 laps, but I learnt a lot. This place is all about building confidence and gaining time. You can go out and be as quick as you can, but there’s a big chance you’ll go off. You’ve really got to respect this circuit. It’s tough, but I feel very confident now at the end of the day. 

“But I’d rather have had another 50 laps.” 

Flashback: Le Mans 1980, the year Button was born...

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