Button realistic on title hopes
Jenson closes gap on Hamilton but still a distant contender
Last Updated: 03/09/12 8:34am
A jubilant Jenson Button has accepted that his title hopes still amount to a "long shot" even after his dominant victory at Spa.
The McLaren driver was in a class of his own as he avoided the first-corner mayhem to cruise to his first win in Belgium and mute pre-race chatter that he should offer his support to Lewis Hamilton's ambitions of landing a second World Championship. In the wake of Sunday's triumph, Button now trails his team-mate by just sixteen points in the standings. However, Button remains sixty-three points adrift of championship leader Fernando Alonso and realistic about his chances.
"It's a long shot," Jenson admitted to Sky Sports F1, before adding: "But I think today proves that anything is possible. If we can continue like this then there's still a chance. Obviously it's a slim chance but there's still a chance we can fight for the championship.
"But we can't think about that too much. We have to focus on the next race, planning well and getting the car to my liking because when we do we get a win."
"Jenson has got some momentum now, but Monza is a completely different style of track. It is wide open again. Alonso leaves here with less than a victory in hand."
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In hindsight, the victory was effectively secured on Saturday when Button suddenly produced a blistering turn of pace at the end of Qualifying Two before setting two laps in the top-ten shoot-out which were comfortably sufficient to secure pole. From there, once the flotsam of the first-corner pile-up had been brushed away, Button was able to control the race in a manner reminiscent of his 2009 pomp.
"Saturdays, especially this year, have been a tricky and so it's been really great to find a balance I like. When you get a car around here that you like it's so enjoyable to drive.
"It's an amazing to win here at Spa. We started the season so well then had a difficult time and it's nice to put that behind us and put some good points on the board."
From outside of the MP4-27's cockpit, Button's dominant victory appeared to be a straightforward matter, but the McLaren driver insisted that wasn't really the case.
"It's never easy even if it looks easy on television," he added. "We didn't really know who our competitors or if two stops would be quicker than one stopping."
Ultimately, Button's one-stop strategy proved to be a leading success story, but the Englishman did concede that the team had been travelling into the unknown during Sunday's 44-lap race.
"We thought one-stopping was possible but after yesterday and having no practice on Friday, we weren't so sure," admitted a relieved Jenson.
"It was unusual to be able to run a one-stop strategy. We got to lap 12 and the team asked me how the car was feeling; I told them that the balance was getting better and better, so we were able to get to lap 20 before pitting.
"We need to score big points in both world championships - and today was exactly what we required. I'm a massive team-player, and I fight for the team; I want us to win both world championships and, until I can't mathematically fight for the Drivers' World Championship, I won't give up on it. I think I showed that today."