And so there were four, barring a miracle for Jenson Button, who is now 42 points behind the leader Fernando Alonso in the Formula One world championship fight with 50 to play for. The reigning champion's failure to score in South Korea cost him dearly but he is not the only one: Mark Webber's crash cost him his series lead while Sebastian Vettel's engine failure prevented him from sitting where Alonso now is, 11 points ahead of the rest.
Button knows it is almost over for him, but he will not give up. "I won't be asked to support Lewis. But if I can't mathematically win I'd do whatever I needed to, to help the team. My championship, if the other guys don't have non-scores, is pretty much over. But you don't win championships by sitting back and saying, 'I can't win it any more'. You have to keep on fighting. Seeing what's happened to the Red Bulls here proves it can turn around easily. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, it's a very small chance but that's all I need to keep pushing."
"We picked up some good points," said Button's team-mate, Lewis Hamilton. "It could have been better but if you look at the last four races we didn't pick up such good points. We have to make some improvements to the car as the qualifying pace is not good enough. We have some good things coming so it's not impossible. We'll keep pushing. Fernando is quick, but it's still open."
But while it seems almost certain that McLaren will soon have to deploy Button to help Hamilton – who is 21 behind the Spaniard – Red Bull are adamant that, even though Vettel is 25 down, they will not favour Webber as the title reaches its climax in Brazil in a fortnight and Abu Dhabi a week later.
"As we saw at different points during the race, different drivers were leading this championship," said the Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner. "In last year's scoring there is only 10 points between Sebastian and Fernando and Mark is even closer, so our strategy will be to push both drivers. It would be wrong to ask Sebastian to give up his chance. Nobody has a crystal ball. This championship is not over until the last lap in Abu Dhabi."Reuse content