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Jenson Button may support Lewis Hamilton in Brazil

Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos, 5-7 November
Qualifying: 1500-1720 on BBC One, Red Button, online and 5 live sports extra
Race: 1510-1815 on BBC One, Red Button, online and Radio 5 live sports extra

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari drives during the Korean Formula One Grand Prix

Highlights - Korean Grand Prix

By Sam Sheringham

McLaren have admitted their decision to treat Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button as equals may be reconsidered over the course of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The team had vowed to give Button their "full support" as both drivers chase the title with two races remaining.

But with Hamilton in the stronger position to challenge leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, Button may be needed to help out his team-mate on Sunday.

"We'll see what the situation is during the race," said boss Martin Whitmarsh.

In one of the most exciting finishes to a Formula 1 season, five drivers still have a chance of winning the title, with the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel also in the hunt.

1 ALONSO 231pts
2 WEBBER 220pts
3 HAMILTON 210pts
4 VETTEL 206pts
5 BUTTON 189pts
If Alonso wins in Brazil, he will be champion unless Webber is higher than fifth
If Alonso is second, he will be champion unless Webber is higher than eighth, Hamilton higher than fourth or Vettel wins
If Alonso is third, he will be champion unless Webber finishes in the top 10, Hamilton in the top four and Vettel in the top three
If Alonso does not finish on the podium, it will go to Abu Dhabi
Button can only stay in contention if he finishes first or second but is out if Alonso finishes in the top six or if Webber is in the top two
Vettel must beat Alonso on track to stay in contention

But while Hamilton is only 21 points behind Alonso, Button is 42 adrift with a maximum of 50 points still available.

"I think the right thing for a racing driver is to go there and win and I'd be disappointed if Jenson wasn't going there trying to win," Whitmarsh told BBC Sport.

"I think the championship for Jenson in particular is tough but if he was telling me that he has given up I would be deeply disappointed.

"So I think the right target is for him to get his car in front of all of our competitors."

Although teams are barred from giving orders which affect the outcome of a race, as Ferrari found to their cost after the German Grand Prix this season, teams will often ask one driver to support the other or tailor their race strategy to the benefit of their stronger competitor.

"We'll see what happens over the course of the weekend," added Whitmarsh. "There's a good relationship between the two drivers. I'm sure they are going to co-operate with each other.

"I think Jenson is a remarkably composed, mature thinking driver. He should go there with the attitude that he should be trying to seek to win the race and during the course of the weekend I'm sure he will do everything he can to fulfil the ambitions of the team.

Martin Brundle, Eddie Jordan, Jake Humphrey and Eddie Jordan

Button on his title hopes

"Lewis and Jenson are both going to try to win the race. In the race itself we'll see what the situation is.

"If we are in the fortunate position of running in a strong one-two position then that's a nice challenge to have, but I think the right frame of mind is to go there to win it and have a one-two."

Whitmarsh believes the Brazilian Grand Prix is wide open, with all three main teams in contention for podium places.

McLaren have made upgrades to the car to combat the bumpy stretches at Interlagos, an area where the team have struggled this season.


"With regard to the bumps we have made a number of developments," said Whitmarsh. "Bahrain and Silverstone were relatively low moments for us so we are aware of that challenge.

"We have a number of things we have done which we hope will help us but whether they help us enough, we will start to establish over the next 48 hours.

"I see no reason why we can't be competitive and win in Brazil. But we are in a fierce championship at the moment. Ferrari and Red Bull won't stand still.

"They will be doing everything they can to win and no-one can predict which guy is going to be quicker round Interlagos, which is great."

Responding to Red Bull boss Christian Horner's assertion that an Alonso victory would be "frustrating" after the Ferrari team orders scandal, which led to the team being fined $100,000 (£65,100) for appearing to give Felipe Massa a coded message to allow Alonso victory at Hockenheim, Whitmarsh preferred to stress the positives in a remarkable season.

"I have lots of private views on the outcome but I'm not going to cast aspersions on what others have done," he said.

"We run our team as we wish to and we understand the rules in one sense. It may well be that other teams have got a different view on that.

"Regardless of team orders... Ferrari, from really struggling mid-season, have had a resurgence and Alonso is a formidable competitor.

"I think we shouldn't detract from what is probably one of the greatest F1 championships in our history with issues over what teams did over the course of the year."

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see also
McLaren promise to support Button
29 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton happy to chase for title
02 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso wins as Red Bull implode
24 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Button downbeat on title chances
24 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari escape further punishment
08 Sep 10 |  Formula 1

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