Budapest: Defending world champion Jenson Button headed off on holiday in defiant mood after his McLaren team endured what he called "our lowest point" of the season in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 30-year-old, who finished a disappointing eighth in a race that saw team-mate Lewis Hamilton forced to retire with gearbox problems, admitted they now face a tough fight to recover their championship-challenging potential.
"It's the toughest day we've had this year," said Button. "But this McLaren team has had dark days in the past and always bounced back from those so I am pretty confident that we can do it again."
Hamilton lost his position as leader of this year's drivers' title race and the McLaren team lost the leadership of the constructors' championship after Australian Mark Webber claimed his fourth victory of the season for Red Bull.
Webber's German team-mate Sebastian Vettel finished third, after being given a drive-through penalty for infringing the Safety Car rules, behind two-times champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.
The combination of Red Bull's pace and supremacy in qualifying - they have taken 11 out of the 12 pole positions this season - has made them the team to beat with seven of the 19 rounds remaining.
"We'll be doing all we can to make sure the car works in Spa (Belgium GP) and I'm pretty sure it will happen. In qualifying, I really struggled to get a balance, I didn't get into the top 10 - and that made it difficult," said Button.
"I didn't have the pace in the race. I just didn't have any grip, locking front, locking rears. It's mentally draining fighting for position, but it's pretty crazy how close the championship is at the moment."
Briton Button added that he remained confident that McLaren can recover with improvements once they have returned to work following the mandatory two-weeks summer holidays factory closedowns.
"The Red Bulls are on top now, and in the last couple of races they've had such a performance advantage," he added. "They have jumped ahead of us, and we have to find our pace."
McLaren team chief Martin Whitmarsh said: "We need to make some development improvements to take the car forward - and I think we have a reasonable track record in that.
"For me, it was always going to be a race to the end of the season and we know Red Bull are prone to making mistakes. We have to make sure we don't throw away any more potential podiums."
First Published: Monday, August 02, 2010, 20:34