Jenson Button has admitted that it is going to be hard to beat Red Bull
Racing over the final couple of races of 2011, but insists that McLaren
isn't giving up on a sixth victory just yet.
The Briton led the chase of Sebastian Vettel
as he racked up an eleventh win at the Indian Grand Prix, but conceded that there was little that could be done to halt Red Bull's continued success. Asked whether he expected to be playing a similar role in the final two races of the season - in Abu Dhabi and Brazil over the next four weeks - Button acknowledged that the champions would again start as favourite, but that that would not stop him dreaming of adding to his personal tally of three wins in 2011.
"Is [Vettel] going to be untouchable? I don't know," he admitted, "I hope not, and we're going to do everything we can to make sure that he doesn't win the next two races, but he's obviously been very strong all year. It's very very difficult to challenge Red Bull
and Sebastian, but we're doing everything we can and I think today we did everything right - we just weren't quick enough.
"For the next two weeks, we've got to hope that we can make some improvements for Abu Dhabi. It's a circuit where they're generally very quick but, then again, they were generally very quick in Japan, so... Hopefully, we will work well there, get everything right and challenge Sebastian."
Button admitted that, after making life difficult for himself in Korea and seeing his run of podium finishes end with fourth place, he was determined to make the most of a second row start in India. Although he was forced to hold position off the line, he took advantage of Fernando Alonso's ambitious run into turn one - which saw the Ferrari
run wide - then powered past Mark Webber
on the straight linking turns three and four.
"[At] the last race, I really struggled on the first lap and lost a lot of places, so I wanted to redeem myself here," Button explained, "I got a good start and was able to get up to second by turn four. Then it was basically trying to hang on to Sebastian.
"[Getting] off the line didn't feel that good, but I think there is such low grip. I think [Alonso] went a little bit deep and I knew I had to get a good exit out of turn three, [as] it is such a long straight. I got a good exit, was in Mark's tow and, when you are in that situation, where there is a car behind you, can't do anything about it. You have to be very careful where you put the car in the entry into turn three, but I judged it well as I also had Fernando behind me, trying to overtake. [Mark] covered the inside, did the right thing, but I had enough speed to go around the outside. It was an exciting part of the race.
"[After that], I had Mark behind me for about eight laps, pushing me really very hard. He tried to get down the outside of me into turn four, we both braked very, very late and both ran wide - almost off the circuit - but kept the position. Then I was able to pull away. I think he damaged his tyres quite a bit, but it was a fun race. [It was] a little bit frustrating that I couldn't catch up with Seb, but we did a good job this weekend and that's the important thing. [The] pace isn't quite there, but hopefully, in the last two races, we can make that little step."
Despite disposing of the second Red Bull
entry, Button admitted that he had little to offer in terms of opposition to Vettel.
"His pace was very good [and] he didn't seem to make any mistakes," the Briton reported, "Every time through the pit-stops, we gained a little bit. I don't know if it was the stop itself or if it was after the stop but, on tyres, when I came out of the box, I felt very good. I felt very competitive and that was when I could really close the gap down. But, as soon as Seb got into a rhythm, I couldn't do anything about it really.