'Happy' Button upbeat about title bid

Tuesday 02-April-2013 10:04

Jenson Button insists he is still aiming to win the World Championship despite a stuttering start to the 2013 season.

McLaren were well off the pace during the season opener in Australia with Button finishing in ninth place, but the MP4-28 produced a better display in Malaysia only for pit lane error to cost Button a good haul of points.

The 2009 World Champion was running P5 and looked set to challenge the Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in front of him, but a mechanic failed to screw on a wheel properly during his final pit stop and it ultimately ruined his race as he retired with only a few laps to go.

Although he is already 38 points behind Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull in the standings, Button believes there are plenty of reasons to be upbeat about challenging for the Drivers' title.

"The Championship is still on as far as I am concerned and I am aiming for that. Definitely," Button is quoted as saying by The Mirror.

"Sebastian almost beat me to the title in 2009 and he didn't score for the first four races.

"It's a massive turnaround for us. Most of the race in Sepang we were quicker than the Lotus. Most of the race we were quicker than Ferrari. Who would have thought that five days before?

"We are still not where we want to be and we got a bit lucky with the circuit being so smooth which helped a bit but a lot is understanding where the downforce is.

"The car is still not perfected, it was really thrown together for Sepang.

"The great thing is there are so many cars that are competitive and taking points off each other, which is exactly what we need.

"It was such a positive weekend until the pit stop and it hurt. And it hurt when I woke up the next day knowing we scored nothing and we could have, at worst, been fifth. It is what it is."

Next up on the Formula One calendar is the Chinese Grand Prix and the 33-year-old veteran believes McLaren proved at Sepang that they are ready to take major strides forward.

"We've got to move on and look forward to China," he said. "I just wish it wasn't around three weeks away. In a way, though, that's good because it gives us extra time to work on the car.

"For us the gap means more than it does to most teams because it gives us time to perfect the car. I am a very happy driver at the moment knowing we have improved so much.

"And I know what the team can achieve over the next few weeks to take a strong car to in China.

"I have gone from being pretty down in Melbourne to being a lot more positive in the five days between the first two races.

"Things are not all sorted. We still have issues and need to get the car's ride sorted but in terms of development the car is much better. We've had a massive turnaround.

"We are still off the pace of the Red Bulls but it is still amazing how much you can move forward in five days and I was surprised to be in fifth and still being able to see the leader."

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