Vettel crashes into Button in Spa
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has made too many errors to be in contention for the world championship, according to his McLaren rival Jenson Button.
Vettel smashed into Button during Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, knocking the defending champion out of the race.
The German, 23, also collided with team-mate Mark Webber in Turkey in May.
"He's made too many mistakes this year to fight for the world championship but he is extremely quick, we can't take that away from him," Button said.
Vettel, nicknamed "Baby Schumi" when he arrived in the sport, has landed seven poles in 13 races this season but has only claimed two victories.
His 15th place in Spa left him 31 points adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton, but four ahead of Button.
Button frustrated by 'weird' move
"To get seven poles is extraordinary in the amount of races we've had (13), but to throw that many away is also very surprising," Button added.
Vettel's manoeuvre on lap 16 - for which he earned a drive-through penalty - also drew criticism from McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh, who described him as a "crash kid".
His collision with Webber in Turkey in May cost the team a one-two finish, while earlier this month in Hungary he slipped back too far behind the safety car, collecting a drive-through penalty and costing himself an easy win.
Red Bull's title hopes would now appear to lie with Mark Webber - who is just three points behind Hamilton - but Button does not expect the team to favour the Australian over Vettel.
"I don't think they will. I think they love Vettel," he said. "I don't think they will put all their eggs in one basket."
Crashing out at Spa has left Button with an uphill task in the title race but, having had time to reflect on his predicament, he retains hope for the rest of the season.
"When I got out of the car and walked into my drivers' room, I said that it massively hurt my championship and coming back from this is very difficult," he said.
"But I was very down at that point, as you would be after losing so many points.
"Looking at it now, it's 35 points which is still a lot but in old money (the 2009 scoring system) it's about 14 or 15 so it's definitely still possible."
And Button is optimistic about getting back to winning ways at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on 12 September.
"I'm in a position now where I've just got to go there and hope for a race victory and work towards it," said the Briton.
"If I can come away with another race victory in Monza then it's a very different atmosphere and feeling for me. It's a circuit I love and where I will do very well this year. I'm confident in the car and I think I'll have a good weekend.
"I am positive, but I've taken a big knock."