F1 » 23 September 2012
Button happy to be back on the podium
Jenson Button had a quiet afternoon of it, tucking in behind Sebastian Vettel through the first corner of the Singapore Grand Prix and following the Red Bull to a second place finish at the chequered flag.
It might not have been the most exciting race for McLaren's Jenson Button: he stayed out of trouble, didn't have any major scares or incidents during the gruelling two-hour race, and followed Sebastian Vettel all the way through to the chequered flag in second place. But that lack of drama in Singapore suited Button just fine.
"It's nice to be back on the podium," he said. "I finish every remaining race in the top one or two, that'll be perfect."
That's not to suggest that Button was meekly settling for a runner-up spot from the start. On the contrary, he started with high hopes of claiming his third win of the season this weekend.
“During the first stint, I even thought I had a chance of winning because I was able to go longer than the cars around me," he said. "But then they didn't seem to struggle much on the harder tyre, so the advantage swung away from me.
"I had a good second stint, but the harder tyre didn't feel quite as good for me [as the the supersoft options]," he added. "Then I didn't really have good balance in the final ten laps."
Compared with the consistency of Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, reliability continues to be McLaren's Achilles heel. Button retired mid-race last time out in Monza while on his way to strong second place, and now Lewis Hamilton has lost a likely win at Singapore with a gearbox failure.
"It's disappointing that we had a reliability failure with Lewis's car, so that's something we need to solve, particularly as we're doing such a good job in every other area," agreed Button. "If we can solve our reliability issues, we'll definitely have a chance of fighting for the win in all six remaining races.
He wasn't counting himself out of the title running just yet, either.
“I still have a slim chance of winning the drivers' world championship, but I'm just enjoying my racing at the moment," said Button. "I think our car will be competitive at Suzuka, and we're doing a very good job as a team too."
For team principal Martin Whitmarsh, Button's continued strong contributions to the team's constructors championship points was proving crucial in keeping McLaren's own title campaign afloat.
“Vodafone McLaren Mercedes remains very much in the hunt, bolstered in no small measure by the 18 world championship points that Jenson's solid run to second place occasioned here today," pointed out Whitmarsh.
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