Jenson Button does not think his Italian Grand Prix retirement has killed off his Formula 1 world title hopes, but admits he needs to find more consistency if he is to keep his championship challenge alive.
The McLaren driver's Belgian GP victory a week ago revived his title bid, but a fuel system problem forced him out when running second at Monza this weekend. That leaves Button sixth in the standings, 78 points behind leader Fernando Alonso with seven rounds to go.
Button said he was buoyed by race-winning teammate Lewis Hamilton's progress up to second in the championship.
"[The Monza result] is not good but it shows with a good race how many positions you can pick up because Lewis overtook two or three guys in the championship so it shows what can happen if you have a good weekend," said Button. "The problem is I'm just not doing them consistently at the moment."
The Briton's Spa victory followed a disappointing sixth place at the Hungaroring, which had been preceded by a strong second at Hockenheim. Button admitted inconsistency was hurting him badly.
"It is going to be very very difficult [to win the title] but it just shows you that if you can be consistent you have such a good chance of winning the championship," he said. "At the moment it is one race off and one race on and if you get 25 points one race then don't finish it mixes it up."
Button was open-minded about whether he could have closed in on Hamilton and fought for victory had he continued. He was 7.3 seconds behind when he retired.
"The car felt good and it was always going to be difficult to win but with such a long stint you never know what is going to happen to the other guys around you," he said.