Yeongam: Jenson Button has turned his focus on trying to secure McLaren a first Formula One constructors' championship since 1998 after accepting he has little chance of the drivers' title this season. The 2009 world champion is 63 points adrift of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with five races, worth 125 points in total, still to come.
McLaren are second in the constructors' standings with 283 points, 41 behind champions Red Bull who have 324. "We can claw that back [the deficit] in one race, that's the great thing, if both Lewis [Hamilton] and I get a good result and those two [the Red Bull drivers] don't," Button told reporters ahead of Sunday's Korean Grand Prix.
"The constructors' is definitely on and that's the big aim I think...when I get out of the car at the end of the race and look at the points, that's the bit I really look at," added the Briton. "Winning the drivers' championship is such a slim opportunity and if it happens, it happens. But I am not going to get too excited about it."
Hamilton is fourth overall, 42 behind Alonso, after finishing fifth in Japan last Sunday with Button fourth. Red Bull still scored five more points thanks to Sebastian Vettel winning and Australian Mark Webber coming ninth. Red Bull were dominant in Suzuka, with double world champion Vettel winning from pole and setting the fastest lap, but Hamilton was far from downcast after discovering that his car had a mechanical problem.
The 2008 champion was particularly relieved that the problem had been traced to a particular part and that his car's lack of pace was attributable to it rather than a mistake in setup choices.
Hamilton, winner of three races this year, had blamed himself after Suzuka for going in a wrong direction. "I know my car really well, so I know...it's very rare that I get it wrong, and if I do, it's only a little bit wrong and I can still manage with it," said the 27-year-old, who is joining Mercedes next year.
"But this was worse than I had ever set it up and I was really shocked that I had done that and thought it was my fault. Fortunately after the race, the guys did an analysis and found that we had a failure of part of the rear suspension. That's comforting because it means I'm not crazy and happy that we found it so it won't be a problem this weekend."