Button laments huge blow to title hopes

Last Updated: Aug 30, 2010, 10:06 AM IST

Brussels: Jenson Button lamented a "massive blow" to his hopes of a second successive Formula One title on Sunday when he was shunted out of the Belgian Grand Prix by Red Bull`s Sebastian Vettel.

The McLaren driver had been in second place, behind team mate and eventual winner Lewis Hamilton, when championship rival Vettel lost control of his car and `T-boned` into the side of him.

Button, fourth in the title chase with six races remaining after Spa, was unable to continue while the German was given a drive-through penalty for causing the collision and finished 15th.

The retirement left Button 35 points adrift of new overall leader Hamilton.

"I don`t know what happened to Sebastian," he told reporters after the race as rain fell on the Spa paddock.

"All I felt was a big bang in the sidepod, it ripped the radiator out I think and I lost drive completely. A very strange incident, I don`t know what he was doing really.”

"It`s a massive blow," added Button. "It hurts quite a bit really."

"I`m really disappointed for this weekend," said Button, who went out on the 17th of 44 laps.

"I was really happy with the way it was going...he didn`t do it on purpose but still for me it is a massive blow for the championship.”

"Six more races but it just puts me on the back foot a little bit...at the moment I am pretty down."


Team principal Martin Whitmarsh joined the condemnation of Vettel and said the drive-through penalty seemed a "pretty light punishment" to him.

"It (Vettel`s driving) is not what you would expect to see in Formula One; more reminiscent of junior formulae," he added.

"I realise it wasn`t intentional but it was a pretty strange one, really," said Whitmarsh. "If he was going for the inside he had about three inches he could sneak down there, so God knows what he thought he was doing.”

"I`d rather he did it with his team mate than with us," added the boss, referring to Vettel`s Turkish Grand Prix collision with Australian Mark Webber while the two Red Bulls were fighting for the lead.

Whitmarsh told reporters that Button had perked up after his immediate disappointment and had assured Hamilton he would still try to beat him.

Vettel, meanwhile, apologised for the error.

"What happened, happened and we can`t change it now," said the 23-year-old. "Obviously I`m not proud of it...I`m sorry for him."

Bureau Report