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Jenson Button Q&A: It’s not over until it’s over 28 Oct 2010

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren signs autographs for the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 23 October 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 24 October 2010 (L to R): Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren with girlfriend Jessica Michibata (JPN).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 24 October 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 23 October 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday, 21 October 2010

After a nightmare weekend in Korea, Jenson Button’s title hopes are hanging by a thread. With a 42-point deficit to standings leader Fernando Alonso and just 50 points available, Button admits the chances of retaining his crown are slim. But that doesn’t mean the McLaren driver is giving up hope. He has been in Formula One racing long enough to know that anything can happen - and frequently does - as he discussed in an interview with his official website…

Q: Was there one particular reason why your Korean GP didn’t pan out as you’d expected?
Jenson Button:
Not really. There were a number of issues - it started to go wrong on Saturday afternoon in qualifying when the temperatures dropped and I just didn’t feel as comfortable working the tyres as I'd felt during practice. Suddenly, the car just didn’t feel as confidence-inspiring as it had on Friday - it was much harder to find the limit, and I was struggling with nervousness and wheel-locking. In fact, I was quite surprised to qualify seventh, because I certainly didn't feel comfortable with the car’s pace during Q3.

The race was an extension of that, really. I just had no grip: the brakes were locking at every corner. I wore through the extreme wets pretty quickly - it might've looked like a strategic call to make an early switch to inters, but it was borne out of necessity really.

And that set the pattern for the rest of the race. I lost out badly when everybody else pitted during the safety car period, and I just didn't have the pace from then until the end of the race to be able to challenge the cars in front of me.

On paper, 12th looks like a pretty shocking result, but it was actually a pretty good reflection of the pace we had on Sunday afternoon.

Q: You're 42 points off the championship lead. There's 50 points on the table - is it the longest of long-shots, or do you think it’s effectively over for your title hopes?
JB:
I've always said that I will fight until it’s mathematically impossible. Sure, looking at it written down on paper, you've got to admit it's a long-shot - but I'd regret it for the rest of my life if I chose not to go for it, and then circumstances transpired to give me a full run at the title.

So, for me, the situation's the same: I'll be fighting until it's no longer possible for me. In Formula One, you just never know - it's totally possible that I could win at Interlagos, take home maximum points and have none of the other title contenders finish. If it’s another wet race, that could easily happen.

Basically, you learn early on in this sport that it’s not over until it’s over.

Q: Do you think Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has enough performance in the car to challenge Red Bull Racing and Ferrari?
JB:
Our performance has been a little bit up and down recently. We nearly had the pace to win in Monza, we looked faster than the Red Bulls in Singapore, and our race pace was very good at Suzuka. So it's difficult to say precisely where we are. In Korea, we looked extremely quick during all the practice sessions, only to see that pace narrow in qualifying and the race. So I think we have every reason to still feel optimistic.

For Brazil, we're bringing more updates to the car. That's something that’s always impressed me about this team - the pace of development is just incessant, and everybody is so determined to make the car faster. We’re always trying out new parts, and making changes. We haven’t backed off the development stream just yet, so, once again, we’re hopeful of another step forward in performance for Brazil.

It's a track that should suit us, so I'm already looking forward to it.

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