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Button: Title dream ended at Spa

NEWS STORY
11/11/2010

Mat Coch writes:

The defence of his championship crown ended in Spa, claims Jenson Button. Speaking in Abu Dhabi the McLaren driver points to the incident where Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel lost control and clouted the side of his McLaren as the beginning of the end, though he concedes that events since then have hardly aided his quest.

"Spa was a good point where it became a lot more difficult," confesses Button. "I'd love to be fighting for the championship here, but that's not possible, but I've had a good year. I've enjoyed it."

Many of the Englishman's problems have stemmed from his inability to extract the full potential from the car in qualifying, often leaving him down the order come race day. It's a point Button himself has recognised as an area that needs attention.

"Qualifying has been an area I have struggled in a little bit this season," he admits. "Finding a balance has been tough for me on low fuel, but I'm very happy with my race performances and I feel that in the races I've got the best out of the car. The problem is I've had to come from so far back."

The Belgian Grand Prix aside, the low point according to Jenson was the Korean Grand Prix, where his inexplicable lack of speed confused even him. "Korea was a pretty dire weekend for me... I still don't know why, but it was one of those off weekends."

After winning the championship with Brawn GP, now Mercedes, Button moved to the McLaren team over the off-season. Questioned at the time, the experience has been a positive one with the 30-year-old claiming he's now more relaxed than he's ever been.

"I feel very at home here. I don't want to take anything away from the previous team because I again felt very at home there and felt part of the team, but I didn't think it would happen so quickly with this team. I didn't think I'd be welcomed in quite as much as I was."

With his own chances now gone Button is left to act as rear gunner for teammate Lewis Hamilton, who himself has a mountain to climb if he is to claim his second world championship. With team orders a hot topic in the Abu Dhabi paddock Button refused to be drawn on the subject, intimating that Hamilton's chances required too many pieces to fall into place to warrant speculation.

Instead his focus is on the longer term, in particular 2011. So enthusiastic is the Brit that he'd asked to participate in the Pirelli tyre testing session at the Abu Dhabi circuit next week, though was blocked by the team. The tyres, they reason, will undergo significant change in the short term, and Button's time would be better spent once the 2011 spec Pirelli's are a more mature product.

He remains upbeat however, if not for his chances this weekend, certainly for next season. "I've loved working with the team this year, and it's great to have a team that really listens to your opinions and what you have to say, and that makes me feel very positive for 2011."

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