Button rules out podium

He beat three finalists in a radio- controlled car race on Wednesday, but Jenson Button has conceded that it might be the only race he is going to win here.

The two-time Formula One SingTel Singapore Grand Prix runner- up has been struggling with his McLaren team this season and is not counting on repeating his best result this year.

When asked about his chances of a podium finish, the Briton said: "People have to be very unlucky and we have to be very lucky.

"We are going to be positive and say yes, but in reality, I don't think that's possible.

"Our best result this year has been fifth, and I think we should aim for that here."

Even with his intimate knowledge of the Marina Bay track, the 33-year-old feels that an uphill task awaits his team in the night race.

The 2009 world champion was frank in his assessment of his race car during on Wednesday's ExxonMobil and Mobil One "The One Legacy Tour" event, saying: "It's not quick enough.

"We definitely know how to build a car. We just made mistakes with building this car.

"We did try some things with this car but we weren't sure if they would work, and we took a gamble in a way. "Maybe, we were a little too brave."

At the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month, the team made a mistake with the gear ratios which contributed to Button's disappointing 10th-placed finish.

Button's car could only reach 330 kmh even when its drag reduction system - which adjusts the car's bodywork to increase aerodynamics and promote overtaking - was activated. His competitors were hitting 340 kmh.

Now in ninth place in the drivers' standings, 174 points behind overall leader Sebastian Vettel who has 222 points, Button has counted himself out of contention with seven races remaining this season.

The driver, whose best result this year was fifth in April's Chinese Grand Prix, revealed that the team are not doing anything to "directly" improve this year's car - unless it helps the development for next year.

Having declared earlier this month that he wanted to stay with the team at least until 2015, when the team's engines will be switched to Japanese manufacturers Honda, Button remains upbeat.

He said: "I have a very good feeling that from what we learnt this year, we can develop a good car next year."

ugenec@sph.com.sg


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