Rubens Barrichello has admitted that the events of 2009 are quickly turning sour for him, but insists that he is not giving up on the thought of catching a team-mate enjoying a season many are comparing with Michael Schumacher at his best.
Despite running neck-and-neck in pre-season testing, underlining how closely matched they had been in their two years together under the Honda banner, Barrichello has been left trailing by Jenson Button's whirlwind resurrection as an F1 frontrunner, having mustered a best of second place - on three occasions - to the Briton's six wins in seven races. As a result, 26 points already separate the pair at the head of the world championship table, but Barrichello refuses to believe that his title chances are over.
"I cannot see him running away [with it]," he claimed, optimistically, after the Turkish Grand Prix, "I cannot see that because we were so fair and square for all the three years together. One year he was better and the other year I was better, so I don't see him better now and winning every race this season. At some point, there will be a drop - and I want to be there to conquer."
The Briton's sixth win, at Istanbul Park on Sunday, elevated him into exalted company with a handful of greats - including Michael Schumacher, Jim Clark, Juan Manuel Fangio and Alberto Ascari - who all similarly dominated the start of a campaign and, crucially, then went on to take the world title. While Button has yet to achieve the ultimate recognition for his performances this season, his current form suggests that even Schumacher's record haul of 13 wins in a single season - 2004 - could be under threat.
"It is almost like a Michael kind of thing, because things are opening right in front of him without much of a problem, so it's really good for him," Barrichello said of his team-mate's start, while no doubt nursing memories of his own tough times alongside the German at Ferrari, when he seemed to attract the worst of the team's luck.
Barrichello posted Brawn GP's first retirement of 2009 in Turkey, and has been hampered by a range of gremlins - including two poor getaways - that have prevented him from challenging Button closely.
While Button's victory streak has moved him to within two of the Brazilian's career total of nine, Barrichello believes that he can end his own barren spell, which stretches back to the 2004 season - and intends to start by upsetting the Button fans on home soil next weekend.
Silverstone has always been a happier hunting ground for the veteran - now the most experienced driver in the F1 field - and he is keen to improve upon, not only the surprise wet-weather third he scored last season for Brawn predecessor Honda, but also the win he claimed with at Ferrari in 2003. And, without the obligation to play back-up to Button's more obvious title bid, the Brazilian is confident that he can succeed.
"Right now, I am p*ssed off with the situation, but tomorrow is another day," he noted, "Silverstone is a great track for me and I will go there and try to win the race.
"Both [Jenson and I] went into Ross's office and said that [we] wanted to be free to race. It was very good from Jenson, from me, from Ross - different to my Ferrari times. Until, mathematically, it is [over], it is [open]). It just takes one second [to turn things around] and, with all my experience, I am very cool.
"I don't want to just win the race [at Silverstone], I want a hat-trick there. I want everything - I want fastest lap, I want pole position...."
Button, who has yet to better fourth on home soil, has duly been warned.