Tag Archives: aggressive

Graham Poll: Samir Nasri deserved to be sent off

Mancini is wrong, Nasri's red card for Bassong butt was a textbook call

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 30 December 2012

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has no case when defending Samir Nasri as referees have clear instructions for such incidents as occurred two minutes before half-time in the game at Norwich.

Following a strong tackle by Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong on Nasri, the City player jumped to his feet and placed his head in his opponent's face.

When two players go head to head this is viewed as adopting an aggressive attitude to one another and if they go no further the advice is a caution for each player.

Head-to-head: Samir Nasri and Sebastian Bassong (left) clashed

Head-to-head: Samir Nasri and Sebastian Bassong (left) clashed

'Incredible': Roberto Mancini raged at the decision to send off Nasri but not Bassong

'Incredible': Roberto Mancini raged at the decision to send off Nasri but not Bassong

However, if, as Nasri did, a player pulls his head away and returns it, this is defined as a headbutt, which has to be seen as violent conduct and the offender sent off.

Mancini, who has already been asked by the FA to explain his criticism of referee Kevin Friend following the defeat at Sunderland on Boxing Day, hit out at referee Mike Jones.

The City boss said: 'Both players went forward with their heads, so if you are to send off one you have to send off both.

'There are two rules for different teams and I hate this in football and cannot accept this.'

However, with Jones cautioning Bassong after consulting with his assistant as well as dismissing Nasri it was textbook refereeing.

Lunge: Bassong was booked for this lunge on Nasri which sparked the incident

Lunge: Bassong was booked for this lunge on Nasri which sparked the incident

Unimpressed: Mancini was upset at what he percieives to be another unfair decision

Unimpressed: Mancini was upset at what he percieives to be another unfair decision

Joey Barton is hoping to stay in Marseille for longer and terminate his contract at QPR

Barton and QPR ready to terminate contract and make French holiday permanent

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UPDATED:

11:19 GMT, 27 December 2012

Joey Barton could stay at Marseille for longer than his 12-month loan as it is understood QPR chiefs have encouraged him to terminate his contract by mutual consent.

He has won over the Olympique Marseille club and fans since going on loan at the end of August and, as he is still in receipt of almost 300,000 a month from his parent club.

QPR are keen to do both themselves and the Ligue 1 title challengers a favour and make him a free agent.

Barton has quickly become popular amongst Marseille supporters in his seven matches

Fans' favourite: Barton has quickly become popular amongst Marseille supporters in his seven matches

He has made seven appearances for Elie Baup’s side, and despite being banned from making his debut until late November, has certainly settled in.

According to Le Phoceen, QPR bosses have already spoken with Barton to raise the issue, and the player has gone on record to say he will not be returning to Loftus Road.

The controversial midfielder has lost nothing of his aggressive side since his move to France

No holding back: The controversial midfielder has lost nothing of his aggressive side since his move to France

The 30-year old may, however, choose to return to England or move elsewhere in Europe.

Valencia have previous reported interest and he has also been touted as a potential replacement for Marouane Fellaini at Everton.

English rugby clubs hold showdown talks to demand rethink on European competition pay chasm

English clubs hold showdown talks to demand rethink on European competition pay chasm

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 17 September 2012

England's leading clubs will go into showdown talks in Dublin on Tuesday demanding a fairer deal from the European competition cash.

Sportsmail can reveal that a gap of 1.75million between the Heineken Cup money handed to English clubs compared to the four Irish regions is the reason behind their determination to change the landscape of European rugby.

Representatives of Premiership Rugby will meet the other European stakeholders for a meeting that is supposed to be an attempt to find a peace formula but could just as easily increase the fallout between England and clubs from France, Italy, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Not a level playing field: clubs such as European champions Leinster are quids in

Not a level playing field: clubs such as European champions Leinster are quids in

It follows the announcement last week of a new 152m TV rights deal with BT Vision for Premiership rugby that also included a new European competition – an agreement which was subsequently ruled to be contrary to RFU rules.

But the Premiership representatives believe they have a strong moral case to force through change and that when others see the figures they will fall in line.

The sums expose the sheer scale of the financial inequality that has driven the organisation representing the English elite to make such an aggressive move.

Under the current European Rugby Cup accord governing tournaments, it is understood that the 12 Premiership clubs each receive an annual payment of less than 650,000, incorporating sponsorship and TV rights money.

In comparison, it is thought that the four Irish provincial sides are given a handout of close to 2.4million.

The equation is similarly imbalanced in favour of Wales and Scotland. They and the Irish teams enjoy the luxury of all-but-certain qualification for the high-profile Heineken Cup, rather than the secondary Amlin Challenge Cup.

Inequality: It is understood that the four Irish provincial sides receive far more than their English counterparts

Inequality: It is understood that the four Irish provincial sides receive far more than their English counterparts

In turn, the relatively low intensity of the Pro12 league has allowed the Irish provinces, in particular, to prioritise their European campaigns.

That has been a significant factor in the dominance of Europe's blue-riband event by Munster and Leinster, who have claimed five titles between them in the past seven years.

Their sustained success brings even greater reward as each side contesting a knockout fixture earns an extra 290,000 to contribute to the national 'pot'.

What infuriates the English and French is that they are the economic powerhouses of the continental game, with far greater financial and broadcasting clout than their Celtic rivals, yet they receive far less per team from ERC in return.

Showdown: The talks have been scheduled in the wake of the announced TV deal with BT Vision

Showdown: The talks have been scheduled in the wake of the announced TV deal with BT Vision

There are unlikely to be any resolutions on Tuesday, with the rival factions so entrenched.

While PRL hope they can secure eventual support for their concept of three tiers of European competition, with a 20-team Heineken Cup featuring the holders, the Challenge Cup champions and the top six sides from each of the Premiership, the Pro12 and the Top 14, the stance of the French is critical.

ERC are adamant that the Gallic clubs will preserve the status quo in return for an earlier final in April of each year, but PRL also believe they have the backing of the French.

One leading official even claimed that officials from Ligue Nationale de Rugby have 'signed' an agreement to stage an Anglo-French event as a final option.

However, that notion of an entente cordiale was being questioned in other quarters on Monday.

Rugby World Cup organisers have marked the three-year countdown to the home tournament by predicting record ticket sales and a profit in excess of 100m.

But Andy Cosslett, the chairman of England Rugby 2015, acknowledged the need to generate fresh interest in the north as a crucial factor in the success or failure of the overall plans.

'Taking rugby union outside the traditional strongholds is a priority for us,' he said.

Paddy Kenny sent "abusive" texts to QPR duo Tony Fernandes and Mike Rigg

QPR fury at Kenny's 'abusive' late-night texts to Fernandes and Rigg after Swansea drubbing

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UPDATED:

09:25 GMT, 23 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

QPR have made a formal complaint to Leeds accusing goalkeeper Paddy Kenny of sending a series of abusive messages to owner Tony Fernandes and technical director Mike Rigg.

Kenny, sold by Rangers to Leeds in the summer, is said to have been mocking QPR after the 5-0 home defeat by Swansea on the opening day of the season.

His replacement, Rob Green, made a howler to concede the opening goal on his debut following his move from West Ham.

It is said a number of Kenny’s messages were of an aggressive nature.
The messages were supposedly sent on Saturday night and into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Rigg is also understood to have received calls up until 3am on Sunday, leading him to make a formal complaint to Leeds.

Claim: Paddy Kenny is believed to have sent abusive texts to QPR staff

Claim: Paddy Kenny is believed to have sent abusive texts to QPR staff

The accusations are likely to further damage Kenny's status at QPR, who he described as a 'tin pot club' on Twitter in recent days.

On Thursday morning, he tweeted: 'Morning guys love it when people deflect #2sides'

Kenny had played in goal for Leeds during their opening Championship win over Wolves earlier in the day. Leeds are believed to be investigating the complaint.

Rangers sold Kenny to Elland Road for 900,000 in the summer. He made a mistake in their last game of the season at Manchester City that could have seen QPR relegated and was allowed to move to Leeds and rejoin Neil Warnock, who had been sacked by Rangers.

Gaffe: QPR keeper Robert Green was at fault for Swansea's opening goal

Gaffe: QPR keeper Robert Green was at fault for Swansea's opening goal

The latest text row comes after Sportsmail revealed how Kevin Pietersen had sent messages to the South Africa dressing room about his captain, Andrew Strauss.

Kenny was in the QPR side promoted after winning the Championship in May 2011.

QPR owner Tony Fernandes has been informed of the Kenny incident and has asked to be kept fully up to date with developments.

If QPR are dissatisfied with how Leeds deal with the matter, they could ask the FA to discipline the keeper.

In the past: Kenny worked with Leeds boss Neil Warnock at QPR

In the past: Kenny worked with Leeds boss Neil Warnock at QPR

Kenny linked up with Warnock for the
fourth time when he moved to Elland Road. He spent the previous two
campaigns at QPR under Warnock and eight seasons at Sheffield United,
where he failed a drug test after testing positive for ephedrine. He was
banned for nine months by the FA.

He was also involved in a drunken fight with his friend at an Indian restaurant in Halifax, in which his eyebrow was bitten off. Warnock also signed Kenny for Bury.

Leeds refused to comment when contacted by Sportsmail on Wednesday night.

London 2012 Olympics: GB girls soundly beaten by North Korea in first round of table tennis

GB girls beaten by North Korea in first round of table tennis

PUBLISHED:

18:13 GMT, 3 August 2012

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UPDATED:

18:13 GMT, 3 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Great Britain's women fell at the first hurdle in the team event at the London 2012 Olympics.

The girls' task was always going to be difficult given they were alongside the bottom eight seeds in the 16-team draw.

Yet Joanna Parker, Kelly Sibley and Na
Liu were buoyed last week by being tied with the lowest-ranked potential
opponent in North Korea – not that it made any difference.

Focused: Great Britain's Joanna Parker

Focused: Great Britain's Joanna Parker

The British trio – sitting 119th, 177th and 153rd in the rankings respectively – were soundly beaten by the Asian powerhouse, whose side comprised of Ri Myong-Sun, Kim Jong and Ri Mi-Gyong.

That means the men – Paul Drinkhall, Liam Pitchford and Andrew Baggaley – are the only players flying the flag for British table tennis at the Games.

They face a tricky encounter against Portugal in the last 16 this evening.

The difficulty was always likely to prove too much given all of the British women's opponents sit above Parker in the ITTF rankings.

In an opening match pitting similar players against one another, Parker and Ri Myong-Sun were happy to contest long rallies as they chopped the ball back and forth.

Too strong: North Korea's Kim Jong (L) and Gyong Ri Mi celebrate

Too strong: North Korea's Kim Jong (L) and Gyong Ri Mi celebrate

While not providing the same level of excitement offered by free-flowing aggressive players, the battle of patience was no less enthralling.

Ri's ability to launch well-timed forehand attacks proved pivotal, however, as she won the opening game.

Parker's calm, defensive approach appeared to be paying off when, after levelling matters, she moved into a 5-3 lead in the third.

Yet a brilliantly-judged North Korea time-out paid dividends as Ri went on to take the game and, in the end, the match as well.

Na's clash with Kim featured considerably more brawn, but not the same level of competitiveness.

Indeed Na, who was raised in China's north-east province of Liaoning before moving to Northern Ireland in 2001, paid the price for making too many unforced errors.

That proved costly as, despite enjoying some good moments, she was eventually beaten in straight games.

The defeat meant Parker and Sibley would have to overcome Kim and Ri to ensure Britain avoided exiting at the earliest possible stage.

They could not have got off to a worse start, with both making a catalogue of errors in an opening game the North Koreans won 11-2.

The Brits came out fighting in the next and were leading as they appeared to find their rhythm, only for Kim and Ri to step on the accelerator again.

After winning the second 11-7, the North Koreans wrapped up a 3-0 success in the game and, as a result, the match by taking the next 11-3.

Barcelona gospel spreads to America – Neil Ashton column

Barcelona gospel reaches America as Under 11s teach Arsenal youngsters a lesson

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UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 17 July 2012

At first glance this video could be a random Barcelona academy match against a group of Arsenal youngsters at La Masia de Can Planes.

Barcelona, just like the ultra-successful senior side, pass and pass before they pass the ball into the net. Their Spanish speaking coach only has words of encouragement from the sidelines as his Under 11 team interchange positions at will.

Word such as 'atras' (pass it back), 'ayudale' (help him), 'cometelo' (skin him), 'cambiala' (switch it), 'toca' (touch) and 'vuelve a empezar' (start again) are frequently heard during this 12-minute masterclass.

Scroll down for the video

The future's bright: The young Barca players celebrate a goal against Arsenal (and below)

The future's bright: The young Barca players celebrate a goal against Arsenal (and below)

The future's bright: The young Barca players celebrate a goal against Arsenal (and below)

In between the praise for his players, an English coach is overheard bellowing instructions from the sidelines. The aggressive nature of them will be familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of youth level football and will come as no surprise.

'Get in there', 'go to him', 'you've got to get your man', 'hurry up, Matthew', 'drop it', 'get back' and 'get over there', can be made out.

Barcelona beat them 6-0, but this is no ordinary academy team in action. Instead it is a club in California affiliated to the Catalans and passing on the total football principles established under Johan Cruyff.

The Arsenal team they were playing in the semi-final of the California State in March has no official connection with Arsene Wenger's team.

Perhaps, given the context of the communication between the English coach and his young players, it is just as well. It is not just the red and blue striped shirts that are instantly recognisable. Instead it is the unique pattern of play, with every member of the team comfortable in possession and always making themselves available.

When they lose it, they immediately
begin to work out how to win it back, just like the team that has won La
Liga 11 times and the Champions League on four occasions since Cruyff
laid down the principles of total football.

Aspiration: The Barca youngsters in America play in the same style as their Catalan heroes

Aspiration: The Barca youngsters in America play in the same style as their Catalan heroes

They have cornered the market and the danger is that they are beginning to establish a network of feeder clubs operating under the same philosophy around the world.

Barcelona USA's objective is to equip their players with the same technical skills that are passed on through generations at La Masia. In 2010, for the first time in the history of the FIFA World Player of the Year, the top three ranked stars all came through the same academy.

La Masia is a conveyor belt for young talent, but Barcelona’s search for the best young players is being converted in other countries.

Messi was brought over from his hometown of Rosario in Argentina to learn the skills that would turn him into the world’s best player at the age of 11.

The next generation of Barcelona recruits are being schooled at their academies and given the opportunity to work at La Masia if they recognised as outstanding young talent.

Last year Brian Brabin, the full-time academy coach at Barcelona USA, took his Under-11 team to the mothership and drew 2-2 with the full-time recruits at La Masia. That result is recognition for Brabin's work, the gold standard for a team that is training and playing its matches in the USA.

VIDEO: Barca pass masters teach young Gunners a lesson

They are rarely beaten, sticking to their passing and possession principles and accepting that on a rare occasion they will be beaten by a kick and rush team. Last year one of Brabin's players, Ben Leadermen, went on trial at La Masia and has never come back.

He is about to begin his second year and his progress has been so rapid that he has been given the coveted No10 jersey, the same as the master himself. Most of Brabin’s players are Hispanic or south American, drawn to Barcelona USA by the promise that they will pick up the habits of the best in the business.

Many of the principles were established by Cruyff when he became manager of Barcelona in 1988, ahead of the game when it came to football's gravy train.

The Spanish federation jumped on board ten years ago, replicating the structure throughout the country and rigidly sticking to it throughout the transition phase.

Their patience has been rewarded with
success at junior, youth and senior level, winning two European
Championships and the World Cup since 2008.

New era: Barca's new boss Tito Vilanova (right) has huge boots to fill after the departure of Pep Guardiola

New era: Barca's new boss Tito Vilanova (right) has huge boots to fill after the departure of Pep Guardiola

Other countries, such as England, are still stuttering along, clutching on to their FIFA ranking as evidence of their status within the game. FA chief executive Brian Barwick promised 'root and branch' reform when England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren.

Four years on it is all about Burton and the FA's learning centre in the middle of the Staffordshire countryside. No doubt they are looking beyond lumping it up to the big man, but it may be too late.

Lewis Hamilton insists his fans still love him

I'm still loved by my fans, insists Hamilton as he gears up for British Grand Prix

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 2 July 2012

Lewis Hamilton is adamant his true fans remain as supportive as ever despite the troubles he endured on and off the track in 2011.

Hamilton certainly divided opinion last year. His numerous collisions brought plenty of criticism from Formula One followers about alleged aggressive driving while others disapproved of his decision to drop his father, Anthony, as his manager.

Still loved: Hamilton is grateful for the support of his fans

Still loved: Hamilton is grateful for the support of his fans

With 120,000 people expected at Sunday’s British Grand Prix, Hamilton was asked if he felt some of his home support had drifted away. ‘That is the way the world is,’ he said. ‘People love to be with you when you are up but some people don’t like to be with you when you are down.

‘To be honest, the fans I have got have been with me through thick and thin and that is so empowering. When I go places, the reception I get seems to get bigger and bigger every year, even after last year.’

Wimbledon 2012: Nikolay Davydenko jokes Andy Murray"s behaviour is because he is Scottish

Maybe Murray's on court behaviour is because he's Scottish, jokes foe Davydenko

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 25 June 2012


Teasing: Nikolay Davydenko

Teasing: Nikolay Davydenko

Nikolay Davydenko believes Andy Murray’s sometimes hangdog behaviour on court may be because he is from Scotland.

The former world No 3, who will play Murray in the first round on Tuesday, had a glint in his eye as he considered the issue that has hung around the British No 1 of late – his reactions to the aches and pains of being a tennis player.

‘Sometimes he walks on court, he looks tired,’ said Davydenko.

‘Then he starts running and returning and
you see his condition is very good. Maybe it’s a special Scottish
thing. He has done that all his career, he just walks and he’s like,
“Ah, I don’t want to play any more”.

‘Sometimes we laugh about it. He may have a pain somewhere but if you ask any player they will all say they have a pain here and there.’

Davydenko, now 31 and ranked 47 in the world, also poked fun at people uniting behind Murray when it comes to Wimbledon: ‘I don’t understand you guys because he’s from Scotland and you’re British.

‘He is Scottish, haven’t you had a war for 100 years with Scotland’

Temperamental: Andy Murray behaves oddly on court sometimes

Temperamental: Andy Murray behaves oddly on court sometimes

The quirky Muscovite with an offbeat sense of humour was the surprise winner of the inaugural Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2009 at London’s O2 Arena, but has never been past the fourth round of Wimbledon in a decent career and has not played a grasscourt warm-up event for SW19.

Yet he could still take advantage of any initial nerves from Murray, which he can sometimes be prone to, and is not expecting to be overpowered by the world No 4.

‘He plays not so an aggressive game, he play different, he waits for players to make mistakes,’ said Davydenko, whose idol as a child was Ivan Lendl, Murray’s coach.

‘For him it is good and he plays it well. He reached the Australian Open final with it but it doesn’t look like enough to win it.

‘I think it’s difficult for him to go to these tournaments and defend all these points in a row. But he is a good player and he holds his level.’

European Grand Prix 2012: Pastor Maldonado blames Lewis Hamilton for crash

Maldonado blames 'aggressive' Hamilton for collision which ended McLaren driver's race early

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UPDATED:

17:32 GMT, 24 June 2012

Lewis Hamilton was left fuming after another run-in with Pastor Maldonado forced him out of the points positions in the penultimate lap of the European Grand Prix on Sunday.

McLaren's 2008 world champion, who had started the day as championship leader, was clinging on to third place in Valencia when he and the Venezuelan collided.

Smash: Lewis Hamilton (right) collided with Pastor Maldonado in the penultimate lap in Valencia

Smash: Lewis Hamilton (right) collided with Pastor Maldonado in the penultimate lap in Valencia

Hamilton's car pitched into the wall following the collision with the Williams driver, and the Briton hammered his fists on to his steering wheel in frustration and then tossed it out of the cockpit.

Although he had calmed down by the time he answered questions from reporters, he was still clearly aggravated by the smash with Maldonado.

Going well: Hamilton was in third place when he collided with the Venezuelan

Going well: Hamilton was in third place when he collided with the Venezuelan

Going well: Hamilton was in third place when he collided with the Venezuelan

'A tough day in the office for us, but that's life, you have to deal with it,' a terse Hamilton told the BBC.

'As always I put my heart and soul into a race like that. You have ups and downs so I'm looking forward to the Silverstone Grand Prix.'

The McLaren driver has previous form with Maldonado, colliding with him at last year's Monaco Grand Prix and ending the Williams driver's race.

All smiles: Hamilton (left) and Maldonado (right) after qualifying on Saturday

All smiles: Hamilton (left) and Maldonado (right) after qualifying on Saturday

Maldonado, surprise winner at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, was forthright with his opinions at the time accusing Hamilton of not 'driving like a champion'.

Maldonado was critical on Sunday too, blaming Hamilton's aggressive style for the collision.
'He tried to put me out of the track,' Maldonado said.

Winner: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was emotional after he won the European Grand Prix

Winner: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was emotional after he won the European Grand Prix

'And he didn't leave any room for me to stay and to do the corner side by side. I jumped over the kerb and I couldn't avoid the accident.

'I don't know why he drove like that, he was struggling too much with the tyres, he was completely lost and at that moment I was making very good pace.

'He tried a very aggressive movement on me.'

Lewis Hamilton leads F1"s open championship

Hamilton happy to be leading the way in competitive season

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UPDATED:

23:20 GMT, 11 June 2012

With seven different winners from the first seven races, the battle for the 2012 Formula One drivers' championship remains wide open.

All a far cry from last year, when, after yet another win for Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in round eight of the championship in Valencia, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton threw in the towel and conceded the title to the German.

Hamilton held onto his towel after registering his first victory of the year in the Canadian Grand Prix. He needed it after jumping into the rowing lake in celebration.

Head over heels: Lewis Hamilton celebrates his win by jumping into a rowing lake

Head over heels: Lewis Hamilton celebrates his win by jumping into a rowing lake

The win means Hamilton heads to Valencia topping the championship table, delighted to be narrowly ahead of two giants of the sport in Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

And if the title race did indeed turn out to be a battle between two double world champions and one striving to match their achievement

'That would be an amazing tussle,' conceded Hamilton who is desperate to add the drivers' title he won in 2008. 'I have an incredible amount of respect for the both of them.

'The two strongest drivers in Formula One at present, two double world champions, incredible drivers. To be in the mix with them gives me great pleasure.'

On top of the pile: Lewis Hamilton celebrates his win in Canada

On top of the pile: Lewis Hamilton celebrates his win in Canada

The other thing that gave Hamilton great pleasure in Montreal, other than his stunning win, was the ability to drive his car as fast as it would go as McLaren finally adopted an aggressive strategy to suit his driving style perfectly.

'I drove the a**** off it, particularly in that last stint,' said Hamilton. 'I was flat out when I was trying to catch them (Vettel and Alonso). Being able to take a bit more of a risk, that is what I love. It is probably when I am at my best.'

As for Hamilton's teammate, Jenson Button, finding a way to get back to his best is proving to be a perplexing and highly frustrating mystery.

Button has picked up just two points from the last four races, a run which is reminiscent of his dark days battling down the order while driving for Honda.

Leading the way: Hamilton is first in the driver's championship after seven races

Leading the way: Hamilton is first in the driver's championship after seven races

Did he ever contemplate such difficulties while driving for a team with McLaren's heritage in Formula One 'No, not really, and this is a real weird one,' said Button after coming home 16th at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

'I don't understand it. I'm not taking a holiday right now. I'm driving my heart out, but it just isn't working – something isn't working for me.

'Being lapped by your team-mate – he obviously won the race and did an amazing job – but it's a strange one more than being disappointed. It's not like we made mistakes or I crashed. I was just slow and I finished 16th.

'Is the championship over or not I don't know. I think we can still have some great races; we just have to sort ourselves out. I'm not giving up, but I'm not thinking about the championship anyway.

'When you've had a race like this you don't think about the championship, you think about solving your issues and getting back to the form where you expect to be fighting for wins.'

'When you've had a race like this you don't think about the championship, you think about solving your issues and getting back to the form where you expect to be fighting for wins.'