Defending F1 World Champion Jenson Button has sought to downplay McLaren-Mercedes' relative lack of performance up against title rivals Ferrari and Red Bull Racing in last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix – asserting that the Woking-based outfit's MP4-25 will be far better-suited to the remaining four circuits on the calendar.
Button finished fourth under the spotlights of the Far-Eastern city-state, tracking Red Bull's Mark Webber across the line, albeit lamenting the difficulty he encountered in trying to overtake an adversary who was behind the wheel of a car with 30 more laps on its tyres than his [see separate story – click here
That means the British star will travel to Suzuka next weekend as the most distant of the crown-chasing quintet at 25 points adrift of the top of the table – but convinced that he will be able to challenge at each of the remaining races in Japan, Korea, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
“It was a little disappointing to see that we probably didn't have enough pace to take the fight to the Ferraris and the Red Bulls, but that was to be expected, really,” the 30-year-old told his personal website, reflecting on Singapore. “[Marina Bay] is one of the highest-downforce tracks on the calendar, so it's not a place where our car would really excel. I think the next four races will be very interesting, though – they'll certainly play more to our strengths.
“As we've seen, this championship is going to go all the way, and it's still very hard to predict who will come out on top– so it's very exciting. It's funny, because every race we go to seems to be called a pivotal'race and, while every result is obviously important, I don't think you'd say that any one race is really pivotal to your title campaign – it's more about the pace you carry across the balance of the season.
“Funnily enough, I think Singapore showed that it will probably actually take a couple of races to have a more significant impact on the overall standings. Okay, Fernando' [Alonso] has had two good races and is right in the thick of things, but Lewis [Hamilton – McLaren team-mate] has retired from the last two races and he's still right there, and both Sebastian [Vettel] and me are ready to strike.”