McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh backs Jenson Button after slump

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The Independent Online

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has vowed to help Jenson Button out of his slump and ensure his 200th grand prix on Sunday is one to remember.

Button bemoaned to Press Association Sport this week his run of bad luck which has dogged him since his stunning victory in Canada last month.

A KERS power-boost system failure affected his European Grand Prix in Valencia, whilst at his home race at Silverstone a wheel rolled off his car following a poor pit stop.

Then in Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, Button was forced to retire with a hydraulics issue, leaving him 107 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

Button is obviously now hoping Sunday's historic Hungarian Grand Prix does not go the same way.

With all the issues down to the team and not the driver, Whitmarsh said: "Jenson's had some bad luck in the last couple of races.

"But he's mentally tough and he knows the tide will turn.

"He's driven beautifully this year, and it's up to us to give him a car worthy of his talents."

McLaren certainly did that for team-mate Lewis Hamilton four days ago as the 26-year-old put his and the team's woes behind them with a victory to savour.

But with no time to rest on any laurels, Whitmarsh added: "Everyone in the team thoroughly enjoyed Lewis' win.

"He proved he's at the top of his game at the moment. He was perfect in qualifying, perfect again in the race, and when he's in that kind of form he's very difficult to beat.

"But our attention has already turned to this weekend's race as back-to-back races don't afford you the luxury of looking backwards, only forwards.

"As we have won at the circuit nine times, which is more than any other team, we'll be looking to add to that tally on Sunday."

It is a race a buoyant Hamilton is looking forward to, especially as he has twice won at the Hungaroring in the last four years.

"After my win on Sunday, this race can't come soon enough," said Hamilton, who closed the gap on Vettel to 82 points.

"The team performed brilliantly last weekend and I want to maintain that momentum at the Hungaroring.

"There wasn't much between ourselves, Ferrari and Red Bull in Germany, so it's going to be fascinating to see which team holds the advantage this weekend."

As for Button, who chalked up his maiden Formula One victory in Budapest in 2006, he knows that whilst the car might have let him down of late, he cannot be better prepared for one of F1's toughest tests.

"The hot weather conditions make this one of the most gruelling races of the year for the drivers," said Button.

"Cockpit temperatures regularly exceed 50 degrees and we're always pulling g-force in the car because there are so many corners.

"It's tough, but this is definitely a circuit when all the training pays dividends."