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Button tips Schumacher for title 29 Sep 2006

Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, 28 September 2006 Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, 28 September 2006

Michael Schumacher found an ally in Jenson Button on Thursday. Despite Schumacher’s poor showings in the past two years in Shanghai, Button believes that the German can win the three remaining races to clinch an eighth world championship crown prior to his retirement.

“There is a very good chance that he can win three in a row,” Button said. “Okay, this isn't his favourite circuit, not when you look at the past results, but he's quick in Suzuka (Japan) and Brazil and I think the Ferrari will work well at those two and also here.

"I think Ferrari are very strong and I think these three circuits are the sort that might suit them well, and if Bridgestone have got their act together they will be very quick."

Schumacher, meanwhile, said that while he had hoped that his retirement announcement, made in the immediate aftermath of his 90th GP victory, at Monza a fortnight ago, would stop the endless questions about his future, that has not been the case.

“A lot of people were thinking or have the view that when you make the announcement the questions stop which is the wrong way to look at it, because the questions then start or there are new questions,” he said. “But I have a target for the last three races, maximum concentration.”

He denied any suggestion that there is some sort of jinx over him in Shanghai.

“I haven’t got strong feelings about the place, it’s not to do with bad luck or anything, it’s simply that I was unfortunate the first year, I had a puncture in the race, and last year we were completely out with our tyres and I hope this year we have the package to compete, which, from the nature of what we have seen so far this year, there should be no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive.”

Schumacher also said that he has no doubt it will be “very close” between Ferrari and Renault in the championship fight.

“It depends on the characteristics of the tyres and the track and being able to pinpoint one or the other direction but it will vary and we will have to see how it goes for the last three races,” he concluded.