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Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 16:53 UK

Button rejects cautious approach

World championship leader Jenson Button
Button raced into an early season lead but has seen competitors close the gap

World championship leader Jenson Button says he will go all out to win Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix rather than opting for a cautious approach.

With four races to go and 40 points up for grabs, Button is 14 points ahead of Rubens Barrichello, with Sebastian Vettel 26 points adrift in third place.

"I'm privileged to lead the title race but it's tricky," said Button.

"As soon as you start taking it a bit easier it is asking for trouble. That's when accidents can happen."

Two years ago, his fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton missed out on the world title after throwing a sizeable championship lead, and Button said he was keen to avoid making the same mistake.

"As a driver your instinct is to win... to challenge for victory," he said.

"You also have to think 'All I have to do is finish just behind my team-mate in every race and the title is mine by six or eight points'.

Button began the season in superb fashion, winning six of the first seven races but since then his title charge has faltered.

But there was a welcome return to form in the most recent race at Monza, where he finished second, his first podium place in six races.

And he said his two worst performances of the season, in Belgium and Valencia, both came when he tried the cautious approach.

"You have to go all out and you have to be aggressive. Yes, it's always in the back of your mind that you have to finish the race and be consistent. So nothing really changes in that regard."

The title race could well boil down to a battle between Brawn team-mates Button and Barrichello, and team management has insisted they will allow an "open" fight between the pair for the title.

And Button said having his main rival being in the same team as him, and driving the same car, was actually helpful.

"It's easier - I understand Rubens a lot more than Sebastian or Mark (Webber), he has the same equipment as me," he said.

Brawn team-mates Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button
Barrichello (left) and Button (right) are friends as well as title rivals

"We've got the same tools so whoever does the best over the season comes out on top.

"I need to finish as close to him in every race if I'm thinking about the championship. As long as I qualify well and finish close to him it's fine, but as a driver you don't want to do that, you want to go out and win."

He also said the element of competition was not impacting on his friendship with the Brazilian.

"We both respect each other, as far as I know. It's exciting within the team - we're still in briefings, we still discuss ideas for the weekend.

"There's no need to hold anything back - as far as I know. The atmosphere is pretty good."

The Red Bull duo of Vettel and Webber are also still mathematically in contention for the title, but that could end this weekend.

Webber will be eliminated from the title race if Button outscores him by two points this weekend, and Vettel's chances will also be over if Button outscores him by four points.

Vettel's title challenge looks to have been scuppered by a lack of mechanical reliability.

The German has failed to score any points in two of the last four races and has used his eight permitted engines already this season.

If he needed to use a ninth in any of the remaining races, he would incur an automatic penalty of 10 places on the grid.


Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher says the world title is Button's to lose this season.

"Looking at the situation, I'd pretty much expect Jenson to fix the title. It's very hard to take it away," Schumacher told BBC Sport.

Speaking ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, Schumacher admitted problems with Vettel's car were likely to have killed off his compatriot's hopes.

"With the (engine) mileage Sebastian has left in his hands, it's going to be a tough challenge - the points difference is normally too big already," he said.

Schumacher will team up with Vettel to represent Germany in the Race of Champions in Beijing in November.

Although he is satisfied he is fit to compete in that event, Schumacher played down the likelihood of any future return to F1 having had to abandon a short-term comeback this season because of a neck injury.

"I'm working out a bit and doing go-kart racing - it's one story the Race of Champions, but it's another thing for F1," said Schumacher.

"I don't need to say yes and I don't need to say no - there's no reason to be confirmed."

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see also
Briatore ban too harsh - F1 boss
24 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Zoom in on Singapore GP circuit
23 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Brawn to allow 'open' title fight
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Button back as Barrichello wins
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Button must relax, warns Mansell
10 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Button shrugs off Spa title blow
31 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
Schumacher sad at F1 abandonment
12 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Schumacher calls off F1 comeback
11 Aug 09 |  Formula 1

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