"It is not a huge advantage. I lost eight points to Rubens at the last race, which was frustrating even though it wasn't down to the pace. Here I don't have the pace, and he is starting fourth and I am starting outside the top 10."
"Even if the positions stay as they are, he is going to gain a lot of points for me this race. It is a lead that is going to disappear very quickly if we start having bad weekends, but at the moment I cannot do anything about it."
The above quotes by Jenson Button, taken from autosport.com, have become distinctly regular in recent weeks.
It seems all Button can talk about is the points gap, that is all he’s concentrating on.
And in recent races, it looks like it is beginning to affect his driving.
He’s lost his direction, and he is beginning to look like he’s in a world of confusion as his thoughts stifle his natural instinct to race.
In Valencia, he bottled it against Sebastian Vettel. He could have moved into the pit lane exit, but it didn’t look like he wanted to go up against someone who had made such an aggressive start. That punished him for the rest of the race.
In the previous three races, it could be kindly justified that circumstances were against him and the car was just not performing.
But in Spain, it became clearer that perhaps Button was also a contributing factor to this loss of performance.
If Rubens can find the speed to win, then the first seven races showed Button can too. But from the looks of it, he is becoming increasingly distracted by his thoughts.
I am by no means an expert on winning championships, but maybe if he concentrated more on taking one race at a time and stopped being fixated with mathematics, he could let his driving talk for him and win the championship.
Remember in the early races of this season, Button wouldn’t even say he was in the championship fight. He was just enjoying winning and driving naturally, and he didn’t even have the best car all the time--he had to work for those wins.
Of course, now it can’t be denied he is fighting to obtain the ultimate prize in motor racing, but his attitude needs to adjust. He has to remember that driving like he did at the start of the season has not done him any harm, while driving for the championship is costing him.
Any car advantage he had has slipped now. Fourteenth on the grid for tomorrow’s race in Belgium is unacceptable, and those championship points and tables and formulas are going to be weighing heavily on his mind.
However, I have some advice. I’m not really qualified to know how to win a championship, or even how to drive a Formula One car, but Jenson, instead of thinking your way to the championship, clear your mind and just race. Because otherwise, you may end up thinking how you managed to lose it.