Button pledges he will keep his title duel with Hamilton alive for a 'special' British GP

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The Independent Online

Jenson Button feels next month's British Grand Prix could become "a very special race" if he and Lewis Hamilton continue to spearhead this year's battle for the Formula One world title.

Back-to-back one-twos in the last two races in Turkey and Canada, with Hamilton ahead of Button, means the McLaren duo now lead the championship standings going into Sunday's European Grand Prix here.

For the first time since winning the title in 2008, Hamilton is out in front. He leads Button by just three points, with Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber a further three points in arrears. With Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel also within 19 points of Hamilton, the scrap for the championship is an enthralling affair, with five different leaders so far during the season.

Around Valencia's port circuit this weekend, McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari are all hoping for a strong showing. Button, though, would love nothing more than for him and Hamilton to be holding sway in the standings come the end of it to give a partisan crowd at Silverstone even more reason to cheer.

"It's a great championship, with the race in Canada highlighting how exciting Formula One is at the moment," Button said. "There are just six points between the top three drivers, but if we [Button and Hamilton] can go into the British Grand Prix leading it would be a very special race. It's great for this team they've two drivers fighting it out in front, and we're so close on points.

"We've won more races than any other team this year, with Lewis and I winning two each, which is a good position for us to be in. Valencia should again suit our car, so I'm looking forward to the challenge and the circuit, which I love, even though I had a bad race there last year."

With the Formula One field so tightly bunched, Button knows this weekend is again too close to call. "I've heard Red Bull will have a big upgrade, so we will see what happens," Button added.

"But it's not just about us and Red Bull. On their day Ferrari are very quick. Mercedes seem to have dropped off for Canada, but they could be there in the next one. But as a team, it feels like we've really gathered considerable momentum."

*Pirelli will replace Bridgestone as Formula One's sole tyre supplier for three years from 2011, the sport's governing body, the FIA, announced yesterday.