Jenson Button insists that the Canadian Grand Prix could yet spring a surprise result for McLaren despite admitting that the Woking-based team still has some way to go to be fighting at the front this season.
The Briton added to his points tally on the streets of Monaco with a sixth place finish, but he still sits down in tenth place in the championship standings as a result with just 25 points to his name – leaving him well over 100 down on points leader Sebastian Vettel.
Button has enjoyed success in Canada in the past, most notably during a dramatic, rain-affected race in 2011 when he recovered from contact with team-mate Lewis Hamilton and a later puncture to win the race despite dropping to the back of the field; taking the lead on the final lap when Vettel made a crucial error.
Few expect Button to be in the mix for victory again this time around given McLaren's current struggles but the Briton admitted that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was one where anything could happen.
“Like Monaco, the Canadian Grand Prix can be something of an enjoyable lottery – but whereas Monaco is a low-speed, high-grip place, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is the opposite: high-speed and low-grip,” he said. “It's a mix that always comes together to provide the fans with great racing, which is another reason why it's become one of the most popular races of the year.
“Going back to Canada always brings back happy memories of my race there in 2011. Coming through from last to first really does show that anything's possible in Formula 1. While we won't be heading to Montreal with a winning package, we're making steady progress, and there's always that added motivation that you can pull off a surprising result at this race.
“I'm looking forward to a great weekend in Canada.”
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh agreed that the race was one where the unexpected should almost be expected and said he felt the Canadian event could again prove to be one of the season highlights.
“McLaren has always gone well in Canada – we've won 13 Canadian Grands Prix – and while we're not heading to Montreal next week with a realistic shot at victory, we well know that this is a race where an unexpected result is always possible,” he said.
“The Canadian Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the Formula 1 calendar, and a race that the whole paddock enjoys. It's a showcase for F1 at its best – the track has a natural flow that encourages bold driving, but which punishes mistakes with narrow run-offs and uncompromising concrete walls. The track surface is abrasive and relatively gripless, and the long back straight is perfect for lengthy slipstreaming battles and overtaking.
“In addition, the Canadian and North American fans are passionate and knowledgeable about the sport – it's one of those races that's packed-out from Thursday to Sunday, and filled with a varied and exciting support race timetable.
“It's one of the best races of the year.”