Defending world champion Jenson Button has put his confidence for the remaining three grands prix of F1 2010 in his conviction that 'luck has a habit of going in cycles' – as he vowed to adopt an 'aggressive' approach now, with 'nothing to lose'.
Button's distant fourth place in last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka – almost a quarter-of-a-minute behind race-winner Sebastian Vettel, who common consensus has it was scarcely pushing to the maximum of his Red Bull Racing RB6's capabilities – has seen the McLaren-Mercedes ace slip to some 31 points adrift of world championship leader Mark Webber, with only 75 left to play for and uncertainty as to just how much, if anything, there is left in the tank at Woking.
The one ray of encouragement for the British star is that his quickest lap was a scant five hundredths shy of that of Mark Webber, who set the fastest lap of the race outright – and as he now pins his hopes on a significantly better result next time out in Korea to keep his ailing title chances alive, Button reflects that if anything, of the crown-chasing quintet, he is the one under the least pressure simply because he has the least to lose.
“It probably was, yeah, for better or for worse,” the 30-year-old told his personal website, when asked if P4 at Suzuka represented an accurate assessment of McLaren's form in Japan. “I think I could have extracted a bit more from the car if I'd been fuelled for just a single lap in Q3. I can understand why the team felt it was wiser to fuel for two laps, but my first run was good enough, and, with the fuel I could have saved, I would have been ahead of Robert Kubica and in a better position to challenge Fernando [Alonso].
“If we'd switched to the Option [tyre] when the others were making their switch to the Prime, then we'd probably also have had a better race – but that's hypothetical, and I don't think we could have achieved anything higher than third without a little bit of luck on our side. If we'd got everything right in qualifying then things would probably have been a little better for the race, but the car felt great to drive, you could take it to the limit, lean on it and it would stay planted.
“We were able to make the car work extremely well throughout the last part of the race, and that's encouraging for where we want to be in the final three races, where I believe we will [pose] more of a challenge at the front. I'm pleased that our race pace was good, but we need to make sure, for Korea, that we've got all the upgrades working on our car if we a're going to fight for victory.”
“At this time of the season, if you're ahead on points then you can't do anything risky, but if you're behind, you've got more confidence to be aggressive, because you've got less to lose. For me, it's a very different situation compared to where I was last year, and I'm actually looking forward to taking the fight to the leaders, because I've got nothing to lose by doing that.
“If it doesn't come off, at least I'll know that I'll have given it everything. Luck has a habit of going in cycles;– our team hasn't had the greatest of fortunes recently, so who knows what will happen at the next race? It could all turn around.