DEFENDING champion Jenson Button admits his reign is all but over after a disappointing result at the Korean Grand Prix left him way off the pace in the title battle.
Button could only manage 12th place as rain caused chaos at Yeongam, meaning he trails new world championship leader Fernando Alonso by 42 points with just two races left.
“If the other guys do not have issues, failures or non-scores, then my championship is pretty much over,” said the McLaren driver. “But you don’t win championships by sitting back and saying, ‘That’s it, I can’t win it’. You fight until the end. Until I can’t win it mathematically I have to keep fighting.”
Button realistically needs the maximum of 50 points from the remaining races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi to stand even the remotest chance of retaining his crown.
Alonso is the man to beat after victory in Korea took the Spanish Ferrari driver to within touching distance of a third world title.
Button’s fellow Englishman and team-mate Lewis Hamilton is still firmly in contention, however, after a second place finish left him 21 points behind Alonso. “Everyone is really enthusiastic and is pushing as hard as they can,” said Hamilton. “The championship definitely isn’t out of reach. We can still do this.”
Red Bull’s Mark Webber was knocked off the top of the standings after the Australian crashed out on lap 19 in an incident that also ended Nico Rosberg’s race.
“It wasn’t my day, and I collected Nico as well,” said Webber. “Postions are not important, the points are the most important thing. This is my second non-finish of the year, but there are still two races to go. I’ll do my absolute best.”