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Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 17:58 UK

I知 not feeling pressure - Button

Jenson Button

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Belgium

Jenson Button insists his championship challenge is not under threat ahead of this weekend's Belgium Grand Prix.

Brawn GP's British driver has finished outside the podium places for four successive races and has seen his championship lead cut to 18 points.

But the 29-year-old, who was seventh in last week's European Grand Prix, said: "I'm not feeling any pressure.

"Valencia was frustrating but it's the first bad weekend we've had. I'm still in the best shape of the frontrunners."

Button has been outscored by his closest challengers in the last four races, picking up 11 points to his Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello's 19 and Red Bull rivals Mark Webber's 24 and Sebastian Vettel's 18.


And the Frome-born driver also failed to take advantage of a revitalised Brawn car in Valencia after losing ground on his opening lap.

"I've just lost so many points because I've been in the wrong position and I've not been able to overtake," Button added.

"If you look at the last race, I didn't qualify very well and then, on Sunday, if I had stayed inside Vettel [off the start] I would have broken my front wing and wrecked his race as well.

"It's not a case of having a conservative approach but I think we need to do something different with strategy that doesn't put me in a position around cars that are fighting me for the championship."

Barrichello emerged as Button's closest championship challenger after he claimed his first win in five years at Valencia's marina circuit.

He is going to be fighting for the wins but I have to make sure I finish in front of him

Button on Barrichello

The Brazilian insists he will continue to fight his team-mate for the title, but Button dismissed suggestions that any internal rivalry would disrupt his focus in the final six races.

"Rubens winning the race doesn't hurt me in any way," said Button. "He did an amazing job all weekend and he deserved it.

"We've both been through some difficult times and I'm happy that he won the race. I just wish I had finished a lot closer to him.

"This is my fourth season with him and I know he is a tough competitor. He is going to be fighting for the wins but I have to make sure I finish in front of him."

The undulating Spa-Francorchamps circuit, with its famously fickle climate, is expected to suit the Red Bulls, which have stolen the march on the Brawns in cooler conditions.

But Brawn say they have largely resolved their issues with getting their tyres running at optimum temperature, and Button is confident they can match their chief rivals this weekend.

Sebastian Vettel
I'm not giving up... we are still in a hunting position and we have to score big points now

Sebastian Vettel

"Hopefully, we can challenge the Red Bulls on a circuit like this," he added. "If we can challenge them here then I think they will be in a difficult position (for the rest of the championship).

"I'm sure they come here a bit more positive than the last race but it's not going to be a walk in the park."

Red Bull are confident they can bounce back after failing to win any points in Valencia, where Webber finished ninth and Vettel retired with a blown engine.

The German is now running with his seventh Renault engine, with each driver only allotted eight per season.

Should Vettel use more than eight, he will drop 10 places on the starting grid at the first event during which each additional engine is used - prompting the 22-year-old to consider restricting his running during Friday practice to help conserve his remaining engines.

But despite his engine reliability problems, Vettel insists he is still fighting for the title even though he is 25 points adrift of Button in fourth.

"I'm not giving up," said Vettel, who claimed victories in China and Britain earlier this season.

"Jenson hasn't been consistent and scored points in the last races, which helps us. We are still in a hunting position and we have to score big points and win races now.

"This track should suit our car because of its lay-out and the high-speed corners, but we still need to find out how fast we are.

"Our target here is to win. I don't care if it's wet, dry, or both, that's our target."

Practice for the Belgium Grand Prix starts at 0855 BST on Friday with second practice following at 1255.

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see also
Nerves threaten Button's title bid
25 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Martin Brundle column
24 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
I must find form, admits Button
25 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Barrichello targets second straight win
23 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Barrichello snatches Valencia win
23 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Vettel pens new Red Bull contract
21 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Button fears Red Bull title chase
27 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Button eager to stop Red Bull run
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Brawn set to dominate F1
31 Mar 09 |  Formula 1

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