Jenson Button's Belgian victory was the second win in a row for McLaren, not only underlining the unpredictable nature of the championship this season, but also the rollercoaster path his own campaign has followed.
The Woking team was being written off through the mid-part of the campaign as Ferrari, Red Bull
and Lotus appeared to take the upper hand, but team-mate Lewis Hamilton's Hungarian success ahead of the summer break signified a determination to keep both drivers in the title hunt that had begun with Button bouncing back to form with a podium finish in Germany. Despite pitting before the chequered flag in Bahrain, the Briton has yet to record a DNF is 2012, but has failed to score on four occasions, leaving him still 63 points adrift of Fernando Alonso
despite winning in Belgium.
"We've had a very up-and-down season - and I'm not talking about me personally, but as a team," Button confirmed, "We had such a strong start to the year and then a pretty weak part to the season. I obviously won the first race [and], in the first three or four races, the pace was very good. Then I had a period of about four races that weren't so good, but for different reasons.
"At certain times too I've been unlucky, especially at Silverstone - which was disappointing because it's my home grand prix - and, in Valencia, again the pace was good but it didn't go my way. But, from then on, I think the pace has been reasonably good. Hockenheim was a good race, with second [place], then the win for Lewis in Hungary, and also the win in Canada. We've had some very, very good races and it seems the last three have been very strong for us. It's great to see, because [Spa] is very different to the last two races. I've been running a different wing package in the last two races and it's good to see that they both work."
Button also confirmed that he had regained control of his MP4-27, having been at odds with it through the middle of the season, and hoped that that would allow him to be a podium contender for the rest of the year.
"We tried something with the set-up to try and help the tyre temperature issues that we were having in our team. I tried it on my side and it took us a couple of races to realise that data wasn't correct and we were probably damaging the tyres more than helping them. I've been much happier with the car in the last few races - I feel that I can work with it. Before, it was so inconsistent, not just lap to lap [but] corner to corner. I wouldn't say it's just our car, it's probably everyone's car, with the way the tyres are working but, for me, that was more of a struggle than for Lewis and maybe some others. It's definitely a weakness of mine, but something I worked on. This weekend proves that I can get the best out of the car when I like the balance.
"All weekend, to be fair, the car has felt reasonably good. And this is the first circuit we come to that is lower downforce, we pretty much run full downforce everywhere else we go, so it's a nice change to try something different."
With rain once again blighting the whole of Friday, there was precious little time for the teams to get a handle on settings for the dry conditions forecast for raceday, and Button admitted that there was still a lot of head-scratching going on heading in to Sunday.
"We weren't really sure what to do with the strategy - whether it was going to be one [stop] or a two," he conceded, "We even thought some people might even be doing a three [-stop race] and really we were just playing it by ear. I think, when Nico [Hülkenberg] got into second, it helped us a little bit because I could just feel the car and not push it too hard. At that point, I still didn't think we were going to do a one-stop, I still thought it was going to be a two, but then, on lap twelve, the tyres started working and the car felt very consistent, really good to drive and I could control the degradation of the tyres.