Sebastian Vettel feels he still has a shot at the Formula One world title if Jenson Button continues to be blighted by inconsistency.
Vettel's championship challenge was dealt a bitter double blow last weekend in Valencia for the European Grand Prix with two failures of his Red Bull's Renault engine.
The 21-year-old German, who has scored wins in China and Britain this season, now trails Button by 25 points with six grands prix remaining, starting on Sunday in Belgium.
It is a chasm that at this late stage would appear too difficult to bridge, although not in Vettel's eyes if Brawn GP driver Button fails to halt his own slide that has seen him take just 11 points from the last four races.
Asked as to his chances of winning the title, a defiant Vettel said: "I think it is still possible.
"I am not giving up, definitely not. Clearly 25 points is not easy, but we have seen how quickly things can change.
"One thing that helps is that Jenson has not been very consistent in the last few races. He hasn't scored a lot of points.
"I don't know what was wrong, but in the end it helps us."
Vettel, who also suffered a suspension failure in Hungary nearly five weeks ago, added: "We should have scored more points in the last few races, but we did not.
"Although that hasn't helped, the future remains open, so we will push and we will fight.
"Of course, we are in the hunting position, which means we will have to score big points."
Vettel's task is compromised by the fact he has lost six engines this season, and only has two remaining for the final six races."
In order to preserve engine life, and avoid a 10-place grid penalty should he use more than the permitted eight engines for the season, it means he will run less in practice.
It is far from ideal as that is certain to affect his opportunities of finding the perfect set-up, but it is a chance he and the team are willing to take.
"Last weekend, having two failures within two days, was not a good thing," reflected Vettel on the engines that blew in final practice and again in the race.
"It affects the programme for the rest of the season because the last thing we want is to take a penalty.
"The question now is 'What can we do?' We are considering all our options, which possibly means less running for myself on a Friday, and less practice is not an advantage.
"At the end of the day do you want to take a grid penalty? Yes or no?
"I think it is better to have some time off and take a coffee break rather than start 10 places back at some race.
"We will see, but from now onwards we cannot afford any mistakes or failures again. That's for sure."Reuse content