Jenson Button has denied that he is now a long-shot title contender after being taken out of the Belgian Grand Prix, and remains confident that Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber can be caught.
Sebastian Vettel's tangle with Button at Spa and Fernando Alonso's crash in the same race broke up what had been a close five-way championship fight, allowing Hamilton and Webber to make a break. Button is now 35 points behind his championship-leading McLaren teammate, but does not think his hopes are fading.
"It is amazing how much talk there is about the difference at the front back to third place," he said, "but that talk has only been for two weeks because of only one race that changed the championship. It can easily go the other way, it only needs one race for the leaders to have a bad race. Sitting here now, I don't think we need the leader to have an incident, not score or have reliability issues, there are possibilities and it's necessary to fight for the win at every race we go to.
"It's not over until there are not enough points left on the board. It is pretty mixed at the front and as you can see there has been quite a lot of action this year – it is all still to play for."
Button is also confident that McLaren is now firmly back on the pace following some difficult races – and that it will not just be quick at Monza, but also at the slower tracks that follow.
"If you look at Spa, our car looks like it works very well," he said. "On low downforce it is an efficient car, so there is no reason we won't be competitive here, we should be fighting at the front and everything points toward that.
"At the moment, I feel we are in a strong position, the car is working very well. We had a couple of tough races where we were not as competitive as the top teams, but if you look at Spa there was nothing quicker than our car. The team has done a great job in improving it. I am positive for the rest of the season. We have improved the car a lot, and we go to Singapore positive we will still be competitive. We are not fearing anything, but we know this is a good circuit for us."
The World Champion added that McLaren had still yet to make a firm decision about whether it would remove its F-duct system for the Italian race. It currently intends to try the device in practice.
"We are still not sure," said Button. "We've done a lot of testing in the simulator and a lot of setup work but we still don't know, so we have to wait and see."