• McLaren driver will not concede title hopes just yet
• ‘We are here to do the best for ourselves and our team’
Jenson Button says he will not help Lewis Hamilton towards the Formula One world championship at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday even though he has no realistic chance of winning the title himself.
Button is seventh in the championship table, a hopeless-looking 88 points behind the leader, Fernando Alonso. He is also 41 points behind Hamilton, who is one of four drivers with a reasonable chance of catching the Ferrari driver. But despite a clear message from the McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh, that Button might have to support Hamilton later in the season, the 2009 champion was clear that such a time had not yet arrived.
Button said: “Personally I think it is a pretty pointless conversation right now. Forty points is not a big margin. It’s less than two wins [50 points].
“Half the grid are in front of their team-mates and all their team-mates will not say they are going to help them. You always think you have a good chance and until that chance is gone you will fight for it.
“We are here to fight, to do the best job we can for ourselves and for our team. It would be a pretty boring championship if only 12 drivers are fighting for victory and the rest are helping them. It’s not the sort of formula that we should want.”
“We will fight all the way until either we win the championship or it is no longer possible.”
The F1 season resumes this weekend after a five-week break, with McLaren suddenly more upbeat about their chances in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.
After a bright start to the season McLaren’s form slumped. But Hamilton won the last race in Hungary at the end of July, while Button was second in the previous race in Germany.
The speed of the Spa track should also be more to their liking than Alonso’s. Despite the Spaniard’s outstanding performances throughout the season the Ferrari is generally considered not as quick as the McLaren – or Red Bull and Lotus, for that matter.
“The last two races before the break were very good,” said Button. “So [supporting Hamilton] is not the situation. We go racing as always, and we do the best we can.
“We want to get as many points for ourselves but also for the team. The constructors’ championship is important to McLaren and something that we will work for as hard as we can.”