''It is more stressful than being further back'' Jenson Button
on Saturday admitted he is beginning to understand the pressure associated with setting the pace in Formula One.
The British driver is second on the grid for Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix as he chases his
sixth win from seven races this year. However, the runaway leader is a long way from matching the achievements of F1's most successful driver Michael Schumacher
, who retired in 2006 with an incredible 91 wins and seven titles.
"I understand why that guy retired," Button, 16 points ahead of his nearest challenger and team-mate Rubens Barrichello
, said in Istanbul.
Referring to Schumacher's run of success, he added: "I am sure it must have been the most stressful time of his life.
"It sounds stupid but being at the front there is so much to play for. It is more stressful than being further back on the grid for sure," Button said.
Rivals including Renault's Fernando Alonso
and Flavio Briatore this weekend have been ramping up the pressure on Button, by suggesting the 29-year-old can now only lose his iron grip on the championship.
But Button's situation in this year must surely feel better than his last two campaigns, when at the wheel of dreadful Honda machinery he was an also-ran.
He said on Saturday: "I have been in both situations and it is definitely more stressful (now) than last year."