After qualifying a disappointing eleventh for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Jenson Button has admitted that his previously slim championship title defence hopes have all but evaporated, in addition to admitting that it is unlikely he could help McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton in his own title bid.
The Briton – who drove an outstanding race here to win the title last year after a poor qualifying result – has struggled for chassis balance all weekend, admitted his disappointment after qualifying.
“It’s been pretty tough for me all weekend. I’ve struggled with car quite bit to get a balance,” he told reporters.
“It’s disappointing not to get in the top-ten but I’ve started from worse places here and done okay.”
And as for his championship hopes?
“Before, there was a slither of hope of retaining the championship but now it’s gone, it’s basically impossible. My main aim is just to have some fun tomorrow and see how many points we can get.”
Button still maintained he would help his team-mate out in away way he could, but admitted it would be difficult starting seven places behind Hamilton on the grid.
“It’s pretty difficult when you’re so far behind your team-mate,” he added. “So if Lewis gets a good start in I’m not going to be able to help in that way. But I’m 11th, I started 14th last year and had a pretty good race, so we’ll see what happens.”
“But I’m still in the fight,” he said after qualifying. “We’ve got a good race pace I think. In the straight speed we are in a good position for tomorrow, I’m happy that I can at least battle from there.”
Currently sitting 21 points behind the championship leader, Fernando Alonso – the only driver who can theoretically win the championship this weekend – Hamilton must not be outscored Alonso to the tune of any more than three points this weekend in order to remain in the championship hunt as the season closes next weekend in Abu Dhabi.