Former championship favourite Jenson Button is being swallowed up by F1’s fascinating 2012 season.
The first winner this year, Briton Button’s form has been sliding recently and it hit rock bottom in Canada, where he finished sixteenth whilst Lewis Hamilton won in the sister McLaren. He admitted afterwards that he leaves Montreal “confused and very lost”.
He has qualified tenth or lower throughout May and June, and has only half of championship leader Hamilton’s points tally, and is just eighth in the title standings.
“There was nothing there,” Button told reporters after Sunday’s race. “It has been the same at the last couple of races. I don’t know why that is.”
Button, the 2011 championship runner-up, also admitted he is at a loss to explain how his celebrated skill of looking after his tyres is proving no benefit this season.
Compounding the mystery is that Hamilton, actually the more aggressive driver, is making the heavily-degrading Pirellis work for him.
“I haven’t got a clue at the moment,” Button said when asked what he and his engineers will do to rectify the situation between now and Valencia in two weeks. “Driving around one and half seconds slower than the leaders, one of whom is my teammate … I don’t know why because I can’t push the car any quicker.
“It is not the tyres. I cannot be the only person who can’t drive the tyres. It’s impossible. That felt like the limit of the car. I am leaving here confused and very lost,” he said.