Button feels the heat

Published : Aug 29, 2009 00:00 IST

Jenson Button spent most of the race regretting a simple but costly error during qualifying. By running wide at turn four, Button not only lost speed but also a place near the front of the grid. Starting from fifth, Button was immediately overtaken by Kimi Raikkonen, who went on to finish third for Ferrari, and then got into a wheel-to-wheel fight with Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull.

"I had to lift off (the throttle) because Vettel was squeezing me and that would have taken my front wing off," said Button. "That's how he stayed ahead and it cost me a lot of places." It also left him unexpectedly under threat from Rubens Barrichello, who moved up to second place in the title race behind his Brawn teammate.

Button finished the first lap in eighth place and had to concede another place to Mark Webber after having contravened the rules by being forced to shortcut a chicane on the first lap, passing the Red Bull in the process. Button leapfrogged Webber during the second pitstops after earlier gaining a place thanks to the retirement of Vettel with engine failure.

"It all comes down to a bad qualifying lap," said Button. "It's so close at the moment that I can't afford to make the same mistake again. Rubens and I are separated by 18 points but, if I don't get my arse together, the gap is going to be less than that. My closest challenger is now my team-mate. He took a lot of points off me this weekend and I can't let that happen again. But well done to Rubens. It's been five years for him; he's been itching to get that victory. And he's going to want more." Vettel's engine failure was the second of the weekend, leaving the Red Bull driver with just two Renault engines to see him through the remaining six races. This was a more serious problem than a failure of the fuel rig to deliver all the fuel during the German driver's first pit stop.

"We weren't able to get all the fuel in the car, so I had to go round and come in again," said Vettel. "I was lucky to make it back to the pits. The race was already lost at that point but then, a couple of laps on, I had a problem with the engine and had to retire. It's not good. In terms of the championship, I will fight until the last breath but it's not good to have retired when you're hunting and want to get more points than your opponent. You're in a position to do it and then you don't finish the race."

Maurice Hamilton/© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2009

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