Button back in the title hunt after commanding Spa victory
4 September, 2012
Sep.4 (Reuters) The 2012 Formula 1 world championship title remains a long shot for McLaren’s Jenson Button, but he is determined to give it his best shot after his dominant pole-to-flag Belgian Grand Prix victory on Sunday.
The 2009 world champion, had made it clear all week that he would not be giving up his championship hopes until forced to and winning at the classic Spa circuit has only made the Briton even more up for the fight.
He is still 63 points behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with eight races remaining, but this season has been nothing if not unpredictable.
McLaren have won the last two races and if a car goes well at high speed Spa, it should be equally competitive at Monza – the fastest track of all in the F1 calendar hosts the Italian Grand Prix next weekend.
“There’s still a lot that can happen, it’s just over 60 points. It’s not easy but I’m going to give it a go,” he said after a weekend that saw Alonso fail to score for the first time in more than a year, after being caught in a pile-up at the start.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh saw no reason why Button should not be a contender, after coming back strong from a mid-season slump.
“But after a performance like that he has to believe he’s capable of going out there now and doing well. We’ve clearly got a quick car…and on very different circuits, which will be reassuring for him and [give him] the confidence that he can get the job done.”
Button ended last season strongly and, with two podium finishes in three races, Whitmarsh senses that he could be on a similar roll now.
“He has certainly performed well in the last few races, he did exceptionally well in Belgium, and there is no reason why he cannot be on a massive roll and score lots of points and take lots of victories for the remainder of this season,” he added.
Button has now won at Monaco, the sport’s jewel in the crown, at Japan’s daunting Suzuka track where he feels home from home, and now one of the greatest and most historic circuits of all in the form of Belgium’s Spa.
Monza, the temple of Italian motorsport and Ferrari’s backyard, might be the next target on his list but it is not the place where he most yearns to win.
That is Silverstone and he will have to wait until 2013 for a shot at that.
“The only one that’s missing is my home grand prix, which I haven’t been on the podium at,” he smiled.
“I’ve won in Monaco, I’ve won at Spa, I’ve won at Suzuka. Those three really stand out for me as being very special circuits and I’m missing the British Grand Prix still.
“Before I end my career I’d like to at least be on the podium or hopefully win there.”
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