Jenson Button says winning the Belgian Grand Prix is crucial if he is to remain in the hunt for the Formula 1 World Championship.
The McLaren driver was in stunning form at Spa-Francorchamps during qualifying, taking his first pole position in more than three years. But he admitted that the job was only half done, with a full 25 points required from the race if he is to mount a late challenge for a second title.
"A lot of people ask me if I am still driving for championship," he said. "It is a long shot. I am 80 points behind Fernando [Alonso], so I need to be on podium and finish ahead of him every race. It is not easy, but this is a good start. But a win is important tomorrow to fight for the championship."
After a recent run of sub-par qualifying results, Button said that he was unsure what sparked the turnaround that put him on pole for the first time as a McLaren driver.
"It has been quite a long time since I got my last pole position, back in 2009 in Monaco, so it is pretty emotional," he said. [It is] so important to come back after such a long break and come back with such a good result. This is as close to winning a grand prix for me since it has been so long.
"We just got the balance right this morning. The car has been working really well all day and in the limited running we have had, every run the balance has been good. The balance is to my liking, and I have a style that is difficult to have a car that works for me in qualifying. But when it does I get pole."