Title favorite role 'stressful' - Button (GMM) Jenson Button on Saturday admitted he is beginning to understand the pressure associated with setting the pace in formula one.
The British driver, second on the grid for Sunday's Turkish grand prix, is on course to beat Michael Schumacher's record for the number of wins - six - in the opening seven races of a season.
But with 6 career wins and no world championships to his name, the runaway leader in 2009 is a long way from matching the achievements of F1's most successful driver 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 teammate Rubens Barrichello, said in Istanbul.
Referring to German Schumacher's 16-year 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 2009 championship.
But Button's situation in 2009 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."