Sunday April 1st, 2001
Britain's Jenson Button dismissed suggestions on Saturday that he had gone from hero to zero in the Formula One world.
The 21-year-old claimed the first point of his career in Brazil last year with Williams, becoming the youngest driver ever to score in a Grand Prix.
But on Saturday at Interlagos he qualified 20th out of 22 in his Benetton and was 2.4 seconds off world champion Michael Schumacher's pole position time.
"People who are writing that haven't got a clue about Formula One obviously," he said of the zero tag.
"I think they've just got to wait and see what's going to happen in the future. I'm sure people will forget this tough part of the season by the end of the year."
Benetton are using a new Renault V10 engine that Button admitted was currently slower than last year's Supertec.
The French carmaker, treating this season as a testing ground before the team name changes to Renault in 2002, have also experienced repeated reliability problems.
On Saturday, Button qualified behind the Minardi of 19-year-old Spaniard Fernando Alonso whose car has an ageing Ford-based engine.
Alonso was right behind the other Benetton of Italian Giancarlo Fisichella.
"There's nothing to get excited about really at the moment," said Button. "It hasn't been the best weekend, has it? It will get better, but not next week or the week after.
"It's not great. One row off the back row is not where you want to be. But I can't do anything about it, just do my best and hope that everything gets better, which it will do."