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Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 14:12 UK

Button must relax, warns Mansell

Venue: Monza Dates: 11-13 September 2009 Coverage: Live coverage of Friday practice, Saturday qualifying and Sunday's race - which starts at 1300 BST - across BBC TV, radio and online platforms. Find full listings here

Jenson Button
Brawn driver Button, 29, won six of this season's first seven grands prix

By Chris Whyatt
BBC Sport at Silverstone

British Formula 1 legend Nigel Mansell has warned Brawn's misfiring Jenson Button that he must "untighten himself" if he is to win the world championship.

Mansell, who won the title in 1992, believes the championship leader needs to adjust his approach after scoring just 11 points in the last five races.

"There's obviously something going on with him," said Mansell on Thursday. "He's got to untighten himself."

Button insisted he was in a "good place" ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Asked if he had been pondering championship point permutations with five races of the season remaining, Button admitted: "I think I was, but I'm not so much any more.

Nigel Mansell
I really do believe he [Button] will bring the crown home for Great Britain

Nigel Mansell

"I've been thinking about this race and getting the car set up in the best possible position we can for this weekend, spending at lot of time talking to my engineers."

Button won six of the first seven races of the season but, after suffering a poor run of recent form, he is now 16 points ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello in the drivers' championship table with a maximum of 50 available and five races to go.

The last grand prix, in Belgium, marked a season low for the Englishman as he qualified in 14th before being taken out of the race by rookie Renault driver Romain Grosjean in the first lap.

Despite not finishing at Spa, Button's title rivals did not fully maximise the opportunity to further close the gap - Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel sits three points adrift of Barrichello in third, with his fourth-placed team-mate Mark Webber 20.5 off the lead.

In-form Barrichello moved back into contention for the title after winning the European Grand Prix in Valencia where Button, who has repeatedly insisted he is not feeling the pressure, could only finish seventh.

"You can't have your team-mate out-qualifying you and out-racing you," said Mansell, who is preparing to race a Ginetta-Zytek with his son Greg in the Le Mans Series championship finale at Silverstone this weekend.

The 56-year-old, who has won more grands prix than any British driver in history, had previously raised questions about Button's future in F1, telling BBC Sport two years ago that he had "had the opportunity and he didn't take it; there won't be any more".

Now, though, Mansell says he believes Button can hold off the chasing pack to emerge victorious after the last race of 2009 in Abu Dhabi.

"He's got to be careful and give a bit of thought to what's been happening," he said.

"[But] he's a mature enough driver now and accomplished enough to realise that even with a 16-point lead he must pay attention.

"When you win six races on the trot you start to think it's easy. But it's never easy until you cross that finishing line.

"But I really do believe he'll bring the crown home for Great Britain."

Talking of his rivals, Button insisted he has not identified any particular driver from Barrichello, Webber and Vettel as his main threat.

"It seems to be someone different every race weekend, which is a good thing," he said. "People are taking points off each other."

Should Button follow in the footsteps of McLaren's reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, it would be the first time that British drivers have won back-to-back world titles since 1968 and 1969 when Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart achieved the feat.

And Mansell believes the British motor racing industry would reap the rewards.

"It will help to basically demonstrate to the sponsors and all the teams that the home of motorsport is England," he said.

"And, hopefully, British drivers and British teams will get more funding because it's been very difficult these past few years."

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see also
Button shrugs off Spa title blow
31 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Button and Hamilton crash out at Spa
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Raikkonen wins exciting Spa duel
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Highlights - Belgian Grand Prix
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix as it happened
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Iím not feeling pressure - Button
27 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Nerves threaten Button's title bid
25 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Button chances are over - Mansell
08 Aug 07 |  Formula 1

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