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September 23, 2017

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Button ready to get sweaty for Singapore

LONDON -- Jenson Button will be getting on his bike and building up a sweat to prepare for Singapore next week after failing to finish on Sunday in an Italian Grand Prix won by McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton.

The 2009 Formula One world champion had thought he was building up momentum after winning from pole position in Belgium and racking up a string of points to put himself back in the fray after a mid-season slump.

Instead, Monza left him with even more of a mountain to climb after a fuel system problem forced him to retire while running in second place.

Button will have two days in McLaren's race simulator at their Woking headquarters, and will then do some sponsor activity before heading to Singapore on Saturday with his trainer to prepare for the Sept. 23 race.

"We'll be doing a lot of cycling outside in the humidity to get used to it. Because that's the big thing about Singapore, it's humid, it's hot, it's sweaty and it's two hours," he told Reuters.

"It's the longest race on the calendar (time-wise) so it's good to get used to that. And I think I'll have a head start."

The Briton, a popular figure in Asia and particularly Japan because of his girlfriend Jessica Michibata and his Honda past, is now 78 points behind Ferrari's championship leader Fernando Alonso in sixth place with seven races remaining after Sunday's farewell to Europe.

He is also 41 adrift of Hamilton, who lies second.

If there was no personal positive from Monza, the fact that McLaren have won the last three races from pole position was encouraging at least.

"Every time that I jump into the car I know that we have a chance of winning the race and for a racing driver that's such a good position to be in," said Button. "I look forward to Singapore and having the chance of fighting for that victory."

The heat and fury of the title campaign may have moved further away from him but Button indicated his own focus had switched more to individual battles.

"The buzz when you win a grand prix, that adrenalin, sometimes it is better than winning a world championship," he said. "And I want that feeling back, especially after having it at Spa."

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