Jenson Button clings to F1 hope at Valencia
Jenson Button's season may have well and truly hit the skids, but there's no way he'll be pulling the handbrake on his championship bid anytime soon.
The McLaren man’s confidence has been rocked in recent weeks with two retirements and a 16th-place finish in three of the last four Grands Prix.
Those pitiful performances have left him wallowing in eighth on the drivers’ standings, a massive 43 points behind leader and team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
However, with this year’s campaign shaping as one of the most wide open in F1 history - there have been seven different winners in the opening seven races - the Briton knows he only needs a slight change of luck to reignite his title charge. And he’s optimistic of that happening this week when the spectacle of speed hits Valencia for the European Grand Prix.
“The last few races haven’t delivered the results I’d like, but there are still 13 to go,” Button said.
“We’ve had seven different winners and no clear leader has emerged, so I’ll be looking to get a decent result under my belt next weekend in order to get my title bid back on track.”
Another cause for hope for the 2009 world champion is that he’s back on a street circuit on which he grabbed his only victory of the season so far – albeit way back in the season opener in Melbourne. The Monaco streets weren’t as kind to him last month as he was forced to retire, but Button said: “Valencia is a track I enjoy; I’ve already won on a street circuit this year so I’m definitely optimistic about having a great weekend and picking up the momentum again.”
Meanwhile, the picture couldn’t be any different for Hamilton, who arrived in Spain fresh from breaking his season drought in Montreal.
However, with only a two-point lead over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the Englishman relayed the consistency sermon he’s been preaching all year - insisting the Canada win will mean nothing if he fails to turn up on Sunday.
“The intensity of this year’s championship means there’s so little breathing space,” he said.
“Consistency, rather than individual strong results, will be the key to winning this world championship, so we need to back it up in Valencia with another strong result.”