As he prepares to hand his hard-fought drivers' title over to somebody else following the Abu Dhabi season finale in only five days' time, McLaren-Mercedes star Jenson Button has mused that should it be Fernando Alonso who ultimately lifts the F1 2010 laurels, he only hopes the Spaniard does so by 'more than seven points'.
That is an allusion to the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim back in July, when in the controversial and now infamous team orders row, Ferrari was handed down a $100,000 fine from the FIA – but, to the great surprise of most observers, no further penalty in front of the governing body's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC), despite having flagrantly transgressed the rules by manoeuvring Felipe Massa out of the race lead so that team-mate Alonso could triumph.
As a result of that manipulated result, the Spaniard holds an eight-point advantage over Red Bull Racing rival Mark Webber and 15 in-hand over the Australian's team-mate Sebastian Vettel arriving in Abu Dhabi, with Button's own McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton similarly still in the reckoning in what is an unprecedented scenario for the sport, but needing to win and hope that none of his three fellow protagonists score at Yas Marina in order to pip them to the post.
Button admits that he fears should Alonso go on to triumph by fewer than the seven points he artificially gained that summer's day in Germany, then the Oviedo native's third world championship success at the highest level will be a tainted one and warns him to expect a backlash from F1 fans.
“I don't care,” the 30-year-old Briton is quoted as having said by Reuters
, when asked who he would prefer to usurp his crown. “It doesn't make any difference to me. It's exciting that there are those three guys fighting for the championship at the last race. Lewis still has an opportunity, but it's going to be very tough for him.
“I like the way [Red Bull] have let their drivers fight – it's the way it should be. You fight all the way through your career to get into F1, to get into a good car...and you should be given equal opportunities.
“I don't know who will win – it is very close. It's between Mark and Fernando. Fernando is an exceptional driver, [though] some will be disappointed with what happened at Hockenheim and question whether he deserves it. I just hope he wins it by more than seven points.”