LONDON // Formula One championship leader Jenson Button is confident that his three-race slump will end with a victory at the European Grand Prix in Valencia in three weeks' time. After winning six of the first seven races driving for Brawn, the British driver has failed to finish on the podium in his past three outings and his 26-point lead was cut to 18½, with the Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel closing in.
"We have the money and resources to achieve great things but everyone is moving so quickly we need to keep up," Button said yesterday. "We've been through more difficult times so we can solve these problems for sure. We have just got to stay relaxed and make sure we get back to the front, which we will in Valencia. We need to beat the Red Bulls. We can't sit around and collect points, it is not enough."
Button put the swing in Brawn's fortunes down to racing in cooler weather in Britain, Germany and Hungary, where he finished sixth, fifth and seventh, respectively. Now he hopes for hotter conditions in Spain on August 23. "We can put it all down to the cooler climates. Even in Hungary the circuit was a lot cooler on Sunday than it was earlier in the week. But it is down to us to make the car work in those cold conditions, that is what we need to work out and solve," said Button, who swapped four wheels for a bicycle, swimwear and running shoes to take part in the London Triathlon in Hyde Park yesterday.
"If we don't solve those issues we are going to be gobbled up by the Red Bulls because they seem to be working in hot and cold weather." Before this season, Button had won only one Formula One race in nine years. "When you have the opportunity you have to take it," he said. "This opportunity is the best I have had in Formula One by far." * AP