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Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Saturday, 26 September 2009 16:52 UK

Button rues disastrous qualifying

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
Venue: Marina Bay street circuit Dates: 25-27 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

Button blames last-minute changes

Jenson Button blamed hastily-made changes to his Brawn GP car for qualifying a disappointing 12th for Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.

Button's hopes of consolidating his 14-point drivers' championship lead took a knock after he failed to make it into the top-10 qualifying shoot-out.

"We lowered the tyre pressures a bit but I hit the floor, locked the brakes and it cost me a lot of time," he said.

Team-mate Rubens Barrichello is 10th on the grid after a five-place penalty.

Barrichello, second in the drivers' standings behind Button, received the penalty for a gearbox change before qualifying.

You never expect a red flag in the middle of Q3 but it's the same for everyone and we're in the hunt

Red Bull's Mark Webber

After Button's failure, the Brazilian had the opportunity to put some distance between the two Brawns on the grid, but hit a wall to bring the final qualifying session to a premature close.

"In Q1 the car felt good although we had a bit of understeer," explained Button, "so in the second session we tried to help that.

"But it didn't help. It's disappointing. I don't know how far we were off the top 10. Not that far. But 12th on the grid. That's disastrous, really."

Team boss Ross Brawn, whose drivers had topped the timesheets in Friday's first practice shared Button's assessment.

Ross Brawn

Brawn on a 'disastrous qualifying'

He told BBC Sport: "We underestimated the competition in Q2 because we used one old set (of tyres), then one new set, and didn't get the car balanced well on the new set.

"We were perilously close to losing both cars in Q2. Q3 wasn't bad looking at the fuel weights, but that topped it off for us," said Brawn, referring to Barrichello's crash.

"We'll have to see what we can recover tomorrow," he concluded.

However, Barrichello refused to be too downbeat, despite admitting he was unsure what damage had been done to his car during the crash.

"I feel fine, it wasn't such a big hit," the Brazilian told BBC Sport. "The car was bottoming out a little bit and I lost a bit of pace so I had to try to push it. In the end I lost control and I just hope the chassis is OK.

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"But I had a pretty good session considering everything and I'm ahead of Jenson, my main title rival. I've got to be happy with that.

"I'm sure he has the freedom to do a better strategy from a fuel point of view but, with the crash, I saved some fuel too so I'm still quite confident."

Red Bull's Mark Webber, who qualified fourth, said he expected Brawn to fight back, but was more concerned with chasing down pole occupant Lewis Hamilton of McLaren.

"It's a tough day for Brawn but they've got a lot of character, as have we as a team," said Webber.

"Both Sebastian (Vettel, who qualified second) and I have put the car up there.

"You never expect a red flag in the middle of Q3 but it's the same for everyone and we're in the hunt.

"It's a long grand prix tomorrow and we're in a good shape to try and have a crack at it."



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see also
Singapore Grand Prix starting grid
14 Sep 09 |  Results
Singapore GP qualifying as it happened
26 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton on top as Button toils
26 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Singapore GP Saturday photos
26 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Ecclestone sends Donington threat
26 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Vettel heads Alonso in practice
25 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
F1 returns to scene of the crime
24 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Zoom in on Singapore GP circuit
23 Sep 09 |  Formula 1


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