Jenson Button admits he is still hopeful of defending his F1 title despite failing to score in the Korean Grand Prix – a result which leaves him 42 points away from championship leader Fernando Alonso with just 50 points remaining.
The McLaren driver endured a difficult race day at the new Yeongam circuit and could only manage twelfth place, having lost out badly during one of the numerous Safety Car periods which littered the race.
While his title hopes are now hanging by a thread, Button insisted that he wouldn't give up the fight until it was mathematically impossible that he could no longer end the season on top of the pile.
"I've always said that I will fight until it's mathematically impossible,” he said. “Sure, looking at it written down on paper, you've got to admit it's a long-shot – but I'd regret it for the rest of my life if I chose not to go for it, and then circumstances transpired to give me a full run at the title."
"So, for me, the situation's the same: I'll be fighting until it's no longer possible for me. In Formula 1, you just never know – it's totally possible that I could win at Interlagos, take home maximum points and have none of the other title contenders finish. If it's another wet race, that could easily happen."
"Basically, you learn early on in this sport that it's not over until it's over."
Button added that he was hopeful that McLaren would be on the pace in Brazil next weekend, although he conceded that recent races had made it difficult for the team to see how its pace compares to both Red Bull and Ferrari.
"Our performance has been a little bit up and down recently,” he said. “We nearly had the pace to win in Monza, we looked faster than the Red Bulls in Singapore, and our race pace was very good at Suzuka. So it's difficult to say precisely where we are. In Korea, we looked extremely quick during all the practice sessions, only to see that pace narrow in qualifying and the race. So I think we have every reason to still feel optimistic.
"For Brazil, we're bringing more updates to the car. That's something that's always impressed me about this team – the pace of development is just incessant, and everybody is so determined to make the car faster. We're always trying out new parts, and making changes. We haven't backed off the development stream just yet, so, once again, we're hopeful of another step forward in performance for Brazil."