Button says criticism eases pressure

(GMM) Jenson Button returned on Thursday from a holiday in Hawaii to McLaren's snow-bound Woking headquarters and faced a national press baying for controversy.

The reporters had picked up on comments made to ESPNF1 by Eddie Irvine, in which the outspoken former Ferrari and Jaguar driver predicted that 2009 world champion Button will be "murdered" on track by his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton this season.

"I don't think it's worth looking into too much what people say because nobody knows what the situation is going to be this season," Button is quoted as having responded to the British national newspapers.

Ulsterman Irvine had claimed that Button, 29, had often been beaten by his teammates, and therefore could not be put in the same class as drivers like Rubens Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Button, however, saw the bright side of Irvine's barbs.

"It makes my life a lot easier," said the Briton. "I'm in a more relaxed position than if people were telling me I'm going to destroy my teammate."

Hamilton was not also at Woking on Thursday, so McLaren issued a statement wishing its driver a happy 25th birthday.

"He's still training hard, loving every minute of it and will be back here shortly to begin preparations for the launch of the 2010 car later this month," said the team.

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