Wheels24

Button 'on pole' for runner-up

2011-11-24 07:45

SAO PAULO, Brazil - The runner-up's spot in the 2011 Formula 1 Drivers' championship will be the only prize at the season-ending Brazilian F1 GP on Sunday.

McLaren's Jenson Button, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Mark Webber can score the place; Vettel secured the title weeks ago and all he might be interested in this weekend is overtaking Nigel Mansell for most pole positions in a season.

'McLAREN WANTS TO WIN'

Button has a slight advantage in the fight for second with a 10-point advantage over Alonso and a comfortable 18-point lead over Webber. The winner at Interlagos will take 25 points.

Button, the 2009 World champion, said: "I think we proved in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago that McLaren still wants to win races even though both championships are now settled."

Button was third in Abu Dhabi;  team mate Lewis Hamilton won after Vettel retired on the first lap with a blown tyre. Now Button be runner-up by beating both Alonso and Webber.

"Winning the last race of the year is always a very special thing," Button said. "I've struggled to qualify there in the past but I've had some very good races. I also have great memories from Sao Paulo because that's where I won the World championship in 2009."

It was also where Button had one of the scariest moments of his life when armed men attacked the armoured car in which he left the track after qualifying in 2010. He said recently it was frightening to see a gun pointed at him.

WEBBER YET TO WIN

Alonso was second in Abu Dhabi and has the best chances of beating Button to second place on Sunday. He won both his World titles here for Renault in 2005 and 2006. He was third in Brazil in 2010 behind the Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber.

Webber, fourth in Abu Dhabi, has yet to win this year. He won in Brazil in 2009.

The Interlagos track is unchanged from 2010 even though a stock-car driver and a motorcycle racer died there this year in accidents at the high-speed corner that leads to the main straight. Another driver was killed at the same place in 2007 and it's where Alonso and Webber were involved in a serious accident in 20003at the 2003.

Local officials wanted to add an escape area outside the corner but the FIA has not yet approved the change.

AP