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Frustrated Button critical of Schumacher
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Frustrated Button critical of Schumacher
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 May 2010   |  11:08 am GMT  |  186 comments

Jenson Button had a frustrating afternoon in the Spanish Grand Prix, losing a place to Michael Schumacher at the first pit stop and failing to pass him for the remainder of the race.

Button scored ten points for fifth place and retained his lead in the world championship heading into this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, but his comments surprised senior figures in the Mercedes team and many onlookers.


Button criticised Schumacher for his passing move as Button exited the pits,
“”He turned in and if I didn’t back out of it we would have crashed,” he said. “So he didn’t really give me a lot of room there. There you go, you’d think with his experience he would know. It wasn’t really the right move.”

Having been two to three tenths of a second faster in the opening stint than the Mercedes driver, Button was then forced to follow him for the rest of the race. He lined up several passing moves on the seven times champion, but none of them came off. This has brought him in for quite a bit of criticism and unfavourable comparisons with other champions who “would have got past.”

What is clear from the lap times yesterday is that this was one of those days when Button was nowhere near as fast as his team mate in the same car. In the 16 lap opening stint he only matched Hamilton’s lap time once and the rest of the time he was between a tenth and half a second slower. In 15 laps he lost six seconds to him.

Once they switched to the hard tyre, Hamilton was at least a second and at times two seconds faster than Schumacher’s Mercedes, indicating that the McLaren was better on the hard tyre and therefore Button had a significant performance advantage over Schumacher too. But he couldn’t find a way through.

It demonstrates that even with such an advantage overtaking is extremely hard in modern F1, especially when it’s Michael Schumacher you are trying to pass.

“On a track like this you’re not going to overtake him, ” said Button. “He was putting it on the inside, and I couldn’t pass on the outside because he just pushed me wide every time. He didn’t make a mistake, so it was very frustrating.”

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186 Comments
  1. James W says:

    It’s only fair to say that Button should have been able to get past Schumacher. The Mclaren car has a clear advantage over the Mercedes.

    But I think this incident should that even with a second to two second advantage per lap, it still isnt easy to overtake. The airflow is still disrupting the following car when slip streaming.

    1. Chris says:

      I find it interesting that there is no mention in James’ article of the fact Jenson had a blank steering wheel for about 90% of the race. This certainly affected his lap time and ability to shift accurately when in a tow trying to overtake – not to mention the pit stop that caused all this. Not saying others wouldn’t have got past but he was obviously struggling with pushing the car.

      That and as above the fact that these cars just cannot follow close to each other.

    2. The problem is the mickey mouse tracks that infest F1. Slow .. stop start infields that just will not allow any trailing car to run efficiently. Look at the really great tracks SPA, SILVERSTONE, IMOLA all have fast high speed corners that dictate teams run low down force, this means the cars are not impacted by turbulent air when they appraoch another car.

      Bring back man tracks and stop steralising f1

      1. Baktru says:

        You can hardly call Barcelona a Mickey Mouse track though.

      2. GTRacer says:

        But there was hardly any passing at Silverstone or Spa last year & there was never any overtaking at Imola either.

        In the last F1 race at Imola in 2006 there was only 1 overtaking move done on the track, Passes at Imola only went above 7 once the last 10 years it was on the calender.

        Its the tracks with lots of fast, flowing corners that are the hardest to pass at because there the sorts of corners where cars can’t follow.

        You get tons of overtaking at the new Hockenheim at the part where it slow corner, long straght, slow corner. Those kinda sections may not be the best to watch but there were you get overtaking. Slow turn so cars can follow closer through it, Long straght to slipstream & then a big braking zone to outbrake.

    3. Spencer says:

      On top of the failed steering wheel, I personally feel that Jenson drove a mature race. He tried to pick Michael off on about 20 occasions and when he realised it was unlikely he played it safe. Whilst Lewis may have tried one of his red mist moves and succeeded, Jenson knew even in 6th the points were safe and he would retain his lead in the championship. It must have been really frustrating for him, but safe points were far more important than a crash.

      1. kbdavies says:

        “Whilst Lewis may have tried one of his red mist moves and succeeded

        Surely that is the whole point of overtaking – To succeed. Can you tell us of any attempted overtaking that Hamilton has ever done that ended in tears – for himself or sombody else?

  2. D Anders says:

    Sour+Grapes+Experience come to mind, are you telling me Jenson would have backed out of that, no way Jose.

    1. Formula Zero says:

      You have just taken the word out of my mouth mate. Nobody would’ve backed out of that. Vettel made similar move when Hamilton was coming out of the pit. Only difference is that Seb didn’t stick it.

  3. Juan says:

    hi James,

    Interesting race even though it was a bit boring/procedural. What’s the general consensus regarding Schuey? Was his driving a step forward? or the jury still out on the great man?

    It will be fascinating seeing how it pans out for Michael next weekend,around a circuit he has been very successful.

    Great blog! been reading it since day one but first comment ever!

  4. John F says:

    I think the first world of this article sums up Button’s state of mind: FRUSTRATED!!!

    Don’t make too much out of it. He will calm down and we will never know if Hamilton would have been able to pass if he’d been in Button’s place.

    This whole story is going to blow out of proportions.

    1. Coops says:

      I agree. There wasn’t a huge amount of overtaking going on anywhere. More down to a circuit that the teams know too well as opposed to Button not having the skill and ability.

      Contrast this to what everyone’s been saying about Button’s skills after his two wins so far this season.

  5. Lu says:

    Erm, not sure which race you were watching, but I watched the whole thing with my laptop on my lap and the formula1.com live timing website open. I can assure you that for the last third of the race, Schumi would often go 0.3s per lap faster, only to be matched by Button a lap or 2 later. However, towards the end he was consistently quicker, eventually ending 3 or 4 sec up on him. Also, if you look at their personal bests for the race, Schumi’s was faster.

    As for the poll – he couldn’t get past, so doesn’t that answer the question?

    1. tobi-wan says:

      I agree with you. Fairly irrelevant poll question IMO. Maybe he “should” have – but he couldn’t.

    2. jonrob says:

      Yep! Laptop open at the live timing page, with the R5Live commentary open on another tab and the tv sound at zero. On freeview there was no alternative commentary on the either the blue button or on the “in car” view. Last race it was on the “in car” only. It would be nice if the ~BBC would sort themselves out and put the alt commentary on the sideways button permanently.
      Noted: That Hamilton got the fastest lap of the race in just seconds before his tyre blew (or maybe the rim broke)

      1. joe says:

        they suspect that a stone might have caused it. barrichello was having problems as well

      2. Wally says:

        Yes the BBC seem not able to maintain the very high standard they set last season.
        There was NO alternative commentry on the blue button, I had to listen to radio 5 live on my radio.Good for the commentry but bad for 3 seconds delay to real time and no stereo sound!.

    3. Phil C says:

      The most likely reason that Schumacher was faster than Button at the end would be because Jenson wrecked his tyres. We saw it with Hamilton behind the Ferraris in Australia. Jenson himself said he flatspotted a tyre.

      But with the F-Duct advantage, he should have got past. He says Schumacher was moving around a lot, but surely he should have been able to force a wrong move, or send a dummy and then respond?

      I can’t help but feel Lewis, Fernando or Vettel would have managed to pass him.

      1. kurt says:

        Phil,

        One thought crosses my mind – how many times have we seen Lewis, Vettel or Alonso suffer from their impetuosity. Michael is not the sort of driver to be muscled off the track and Jenson tried throughout the whole lap – not just the single passing point! The F-duct advantage was negated to an extent by the grip of the car – or lack of – through the final corner – you could see lap after lap that Michael had better grip which gave him enough of an advantage to get down the straight before Jenson caught up. There were no fantastic overtakes this weekend. Jenson was the victim of a poor pitstop – had he come out in front of Michael he would have left him for dust and the press would be commenting on how Michael had lost rather than found his sparkle!

    4. Carl says:

      Button let a gap grow because if you are so close to a car in front of you all the time, it heats up your own engine, breaks, etc., risking overheating and then failure.

      And when it was cooled enough, he pulled a faster lap to come closer to see if he could try again.

      Mclaren was definitely the faster car.

      1. Bayan says:

        but schumacher was the faster driver of the two

      2. kurt says:

        Nope – he’s just a good blocker on a poor overtaking track!

      3. Doug says:

        Yes…because he was in front.
        I think Button was distracted when he came out of the pits due to the technical problems he was having…it might have been fair to mention those James!
        I think had Jenson got past Schumacher then we may have got to see what he could have done speed-wise…he would have certainly dropped Shumi like a bad habit.
        The Mercedes had better traction out of the last 2 corners which meant that by the time Jenson could close in he was nearly in the breaking zone. I think he could have gone to the inside but Michael would have probably taken them both off. I think for this reason Jenson had to play it safe & still leads the championship!
        I was gutted for Lewis, a great drive and some bad luck.

  6. Mike says:

    James,
    I’m not clear on what your poll is asking. Is this a question about Jenson’s ability as a driver or the current nature of the cars and their inability to follow each other closely? Clearly Jenson was ‘having a go’ (and doing this at the same point on the circuit every time for a numbe rof laps) but it did appear that the speed differential between him and Michael was not sufficient for him to get close enough / far enough ahead on the straight to make the pass stick. Michael Schumacher, despite 3 years out of harness, is always going to be a challenge to overtake at any circuit (as Lewis found in Shanghai). But in Barcelona, the only track where Michael has any recent experience and possibly the most aerodynamically sensitive circuit on the calendar, I think it’s a big ask for anyone to have a chance under the current regulations. How many on track overtakes between the top eight finishers did we actually witness yesterday?

  7. Lu says:

    as for Button’s comments re the overtake – grow up, this is motor racing.

  8. Adrian says:

    I disagree with the premise of your poll James. In an ideal world with a faster car car then Yes, Button should have been able to pass him. But in F1 2010 with cars that struggle to follow another car and especially when the leading car is Schumacher then it’s very unlikely that anyone could get past without taking a big risk.

    Let’s not forget that Button will already have 1 eye on the WDC and wouldn’t want to risk a DNF just to get past Schumi. Would Hamilton have gotten past? Maybe, but just as likely the 2 would have collided.

    And it’s not like Button didn’t show on many occasions last year that he can overtake…Brazil anyone?

    1. James says:

      Hamilton already has overtaken Schumacher, in similar circumstances, remember?

      1. Adrian says:

        No, please could you tell me when Hamilton passed Schumacher whilst having problems with his clutch and dash-readout at what is acknowledged to be a very hard circuit to overtake on and while Schumacher was driving a car that he wasn’t struggling with??

      2. Paul says:

        but james in that particular situation schumy didnt have good drive out of the corner in china the car was bad i dont think it can ever happen like that again

      3. mo says:

        Similar circumstances?

        China backstraight versus Spain front straight?
        Different track conditions?
        Michael driving a Merc artificially setup to turn in sacrificing all manner of traction coming out of corners in the process?

        They were hardly similar situations.

      4. Bello Mahmood says:

        But James that overtaking involved one of the longest straights in F1 also Hamilton used the f-duct to it’s full potential. In Spain, Michael was much faster. I see no reason for this poll really, what we should be talking about is how Vettel got to cruise to the chequered flag with no brakes.

      5. James Allen says:

        Sure, we did that elsewhere…

  9. Scott says:

    Had it been Hamilton or Alonso they would not have been behind Schumacher for long.

    1. Bill Nuttall says:

      I was just about to post this exact same conclusion.

      1. Rishi says:

        Yes but Button is not Hamilton or Alonso, Jenson is Jenson. He has shown in the past he can pull the pin when he wants to but maybe his tendency is to have the odds more stacked in his favour before committing to an overtake.

        Maybe hes looking at the bigger picture too and if that approach cost him a position yesterday think how many positions he gained from it in Australia and China.

    2. Cliff says:

      That makes the assumption that MS would give way to Alonso or Hamilton. I’m trying to think of the last time he gave way to anyone on the track. I suspect that the other drivers will think that they will muscle past MS, thinking that he will give them room…not a cat in hell’s chance! We will have more incidents and cars going on to the run-off areas, that is untill we approach the sharpe-end of the WDC. I would allways put my money on MS in thise situations. As for JB’s comments, he’s probably seen the clip on TV and wished he had said nothing. As for his race pace, I think that says as much about the design of an F1 Car as it does about the pace of Button. Being unable to follow the car in front to allow a driver to create overtaking opportunities will remain a problem for some time to come. As much as love watching Monaco I expect that to be the same procession next week. Roll on Canada.

    3. Carol says:

      No, he would probably have been in the side of the track with a broken car – we ALL know what Schumacher is capable of – and I believe Jenson was very sensible, in view of the other problems he was having, NOT to try to pass the bully boy!!

  10. Scotty says:

    Didums Jenson. With your experience, you’d think you’d know that Schumacher would do something like this, as it is his form after all!! Thats racing!

  11. f1fan says:

    Absolute rubbish Jenson! I’ve just rewatched that stage of the race and you only have yourself to blame. Jenson was to conservative going into turn one which allow shuey to drive down the outside and then claim the racing line for the left hander.

    1. The Ram says:

      Yes, Jenson gave up the racing line like a promiscuous woman!

  12. Chris Anderson says:

    Sorry but if Jenson is critical of that pass he shoudent even be in the sport. That was racing am afraid Jenson. Was clean and a good overtake wich was not even commented on during the race by the BBC people. Button should learn from this. Respect lost for Jenson today.

    1. Trent says:

      Yes he didn’t do his status any good by complaining about this battle. It was hard, but fans expect nothing less of Schumacher. Jenson, mate, if you can’t stand the heat…

  13. GLM says:

    Clearly JB is upset that he couldn’t get past, but I didn’t see anything wrong with the way MS took the position as they came into turn 1 – think that is a little sour grapes there.

    Occasionally JB will pull off a half decent move and overtake a few people like back in Brazil last year, but he is nothing like the type of driver of Lewis, Alonso or Schumie is… they would have made one of the many attempts to pass stick.

    Also, I think this goes back to the fact that when things are not 100% as per JB liking in the car, he isn’t as adept at getting a little more out of the package.

    Lastly, fair play to Schumie – experience counts for being able to position the car in the right places to hold position. That is as much about race craft as being able to overtake as well, and more often than not it can be overlooked and put down to the fact that it is difficult to overtake nowadays (but still not impossible!)

  14. Freespeech says:

    If ever there was an example of how Button is no match for Hamilton it was this.

    1. Munzer says:

      I could see Hamilton maybe sticking one up the inside of Schumacher, but I could only ever see one outcome in that, and it wouldn’t involve Hamilton getting passed.

      It’s much easier to overtake on a wet/damp track than it is to overtake on a dry track.

    2. Marybeth says:

      Jensen played it smart, no DNF, points. LH drove hard, blew a tire, dropped 4 places in points.

      1. Matthew says:

        Wrong – the wheel failed, not the tyre. Nothing Lewis could have done.

      2. Bayan says:

        Did he really need to push that hard in the last few laps while over 10s behind webber? I think not. Prime example of how Lewis still has a lot to learn. But he is still exciting to watcch.

      3. Tim says:

        Jenson wasn’t exactly happy with his performance and not getting past MS so i think you are putting on a positive spin for JB that not even he is doing. If he could have got past MS he would have, not think i’ll just settle for the points as LH is gonna blow a tyre.

      4. James Stewart says:

        “Jensen played it smart, no DNF, points. LH drove hard, blew a tire, dropped 4 places in points.”

        Well said.

        For all his driving talent, Hamilton still lacks the maturity
        and judgement which would allow him to accrue more
        points than he can gather via skill alone. And points are
        what wins a championship.

        But if Hamilton can ever gain the racing sense that he lacks, in the current field only Alonso will be able to touch him, and the rest will be racing for third place.

  15. Ryan says:

    I was impressed with Schumacher.
    Thought he would have backed out of the move but he went for it! There’s life in the old dog yet!

    1. Cliff says:

      It’s not in his DNA.
      If you haven’t allready, read the two books that James has written about MS.

  16. Steven Pritchard says:

    James,

    You are misrepresenting slightly here.

    Button was carrying both a clutch and dashboard display issue, which meant he kept hitting the rev limiter.

    Additionally, this totally boring track doesn’t normally offer overtaking opportunities – this in concert with this years dubious rules makes it so much worse.

    As for Hamilaton versus Button, well Hamilton is most certainly faster over one lap, but seems to be destroying his tyres with abandon. The fastest guy is the one who finishes in front, not the guy who pulls out 5 qyalifying laps, then destroys his tyres.

    And for the season? Hamilton will probably come out best in qualifying, but Button will probably score more points.

    James, keep up the good work!

    Cheers,

    Steve

    1. Mark Crooks says:

      Excellent post, couldn’t agree more.

      Similar to Vettal, Button managed to get the car home and bag a decent amount of points and this will prove critical come the end of the season when hopefully they will close the gap to Red Bull

    2. Liam says:

      Yep, In that one post is about as good and honest analysis as you’ll fine anywhere.

    3. Bloke says:

      Spot on Steve.
      James – you are a little off the mark with your comment, in my mind.
      The Mercedes clearly had better traction coming out of the final corner, and was no slouch along the pit straight, and Schumacher is the same wiley old fox as always. Not JB’s best race, but he kept his head, and kept the championship lead……

      1. Jomy John says:

        How long have you guys been watching F1? Mercedes has better traction out of the corners???? Its the pendulum effect guys. Schumi gets on the throttle before Jenson can and hence the car ahead will always pull out better out of a corner unless he is having tyre issues. Its becuz the Mclaren was ridiculously faster than the Mercedes that Jenson was able to catch down the long straight.

      2. Doug says:

        When Martin Brundle says ‘The Mercedes has got better traction out of the corner than the McLaren’ I tend to believe him, especialy when my eyes tell me the same thing. More than just the ‘pendulum effect’…this may have been made more obvious due to JB’s dash failure causing him to A) Hit the limiter or B) Shift up too early.

  17. Robert Higginbotham says:

    It is behaviour such as this which leads me to believe that Jenson isn’t a top-line driver.

    1. Mark Crooks says:

      And what “behaviour” is this, isn’t Jenson allowed to speak his mind? He was interviewed after the race and was obvioulsy a bit frustrated with the whole day for a number of reasons, so you can cut him some slack.

      And you have to admit while Schum’s driving wasn’t illigal, it was very aggressive defensive driving.

      1. Robert Higginbotham says:

        The “behaviour” I referred to is having a sulk when things don’t go his way.

        I accept that Schumacher’s driving was defensive, but we clearly disagree on how aggresive it was. If Button had made a lunge, then Schumacher may have done something aggressive. I am yet to hear of any current or former driver be critical of Schumacher’s tactics yesterday, probably because most would do likewise if in his position.

      2. Adrian says:

        Is Alonso a “top-flight” driver then?? Because I think his behavious in 2007 could easily be categorised as “a sulk”…

      3. Steve says:

        Hamilton said of Schumacher that he’d never seen anyone so aggressive defending a position in China. I can’t remember his exact words, but there was definitely a hint of criticism in what he said.

        But I agree, Button shouldn’t have been such a big girl’s blouse about it.

      4. Doug says:

        Lewis discribed Shumi as ‘the dirtiest driver I’ve ever had to get past’ in China.
        Schumi is ruthless and they all know it.
        I think JB shouldn’t have said anything, but he was obviously frustrated by a combination of factors working against him.

      5. Robert Higginbotham says:

        Adrian

        Alonso’s foibles were evident long before 2007, but for some reason these were in general overlooked.

        Steve and Doug

        I was referring to Schumacher’s driving at Barcelona (which was what “yesterday” meant).

      6. Bello Mahmood says:

        Right on my brother. The British media is going to destroy Hamilton if he is not careful. Would like to see Hamilton driving for red bull or Ferrari.

  18. John Snow says:

    Rather harsh on button I think. We are talking about over taking schumi at the Spainish gp, that’s a very tough job! Yes he could have done better but crashing into schumi and getting a dnf would damage jensons championship bid

  19. Tom says:

    I was pretty much shouting “send one up the inside!” at the telly every lap, prompted by Martin Brundle’s comments. I’d have liked to see JB try a few more different moves, or in other places like Rosberg or the GP2 drivers.

    But Michael knew he’d done well – he was nearly as stoked as Webber in the interviews after the race. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by his on-track behaviour this year (so far…) None of the old dangerous chops – just outstanding, pre-meditated defensive racing

  20. chris green says:

    In a championship as close this drivers need to take a big breath and stick it down the inside.
    If Button had passed Schui he may have finished on the podium.

    1. Doug says:

      I think if this had been one of the last races of the season then he would have done. But he knows that at this stage of the season he’s just got to keep collecting points.

      1. B D Maines says:

        So he was in a position where he could afford to be tactical????

        In only the fifth race of the season!!!!

        What was his points advantage again????

        This is typical of the twaddle that the Button Brigade come up with. Does anybody really believe such garbage?

      2. Doug says:

        I think Button showed last season that when he needs to overtake people he can & will.
        He was quoted as saying (as were a number of other drivers) that consistancy is the key to this years championship. They all know it’s going to be close & DNF’s will hurt.

        I’m actualy a Hamilton fan…I also admire Alonso & Vettel for the record so don’t know if I qualify for membership of the ‘Button Brigade’
        I do however admire his Prost-like ‘thinking mans’ driving style…though I can see why it’s lost on you! :-P

      3. B D Maines says:

        “consistancy (sic) is the key to this years championship”

        A cliché if ever there one.

        “Prost-like” – Prost won many races in cars that were hardly the class of the field.

        “thinking mans (sic)”

        A bit of twaddle a journalist (not James) in need of some hyperbole to make a story more interesting came up with, and many have blindly followed.

        “when he needs to overtake people he can & will”

        Most of his overtaking moves were made in a car that was vastly superior to anything else. No doubt you will say that his drive in Brazil is proof that he is something extraordinary, but spend a split second contemplating the issue and you will see that his lowly grid position meant that he was behind numerous cars that had a sizeable performance deficit in comparison with the Brawn. Bear in mind also Vettel’s drive that day.

        He spent most of the second half of 2009 as an also-ran, and his childish rant to the pit crew demonstrates that he wasn’t in cruise-and-collect mode, he simply wasn’t quick enough. Anybody who can be pushed to the second-last round by Barrichello clearly isn’t an outstanding talent.

        It is just as well that you admire the trio of drivers that you refer to, as it will give you a fallback position later in the season!

  21. SeanG says:

    Only two things:
    (1) Thank goodness I didn’t pay to see this race.
    (2) Button is not a racer.

    1. PaulL says:

      Not that not being able to pass Schuey was proof of such, but yes I agree with (2) broadly speaking, and yes to (1).. I think F1′s really sucking at the moment.

  22. m de p says:

    he was frustrated, so that expalines his comments. Overtaking michael at barcelona it’s a big task for anyone, and hamilton is not the toughest driver out there. So don’t make too much fuss about it. He is not in schumi’s league, either When he is behind, or when he is in front.

    1. Antoine says:

      agreed, i thought Schumi as hard but fair, Button should have found a way round. MS did no weaving like Hamilton did to Petrov

  23. Dave says:

    Button should engage brain before mouth.
    Sour grapes come to mind.

    If the positions had been reversed he would have done exactly the same things as MS.
    If you are the driver behind, it is up to you to try and get past by your own efforts especially when fighting for position. Do not expect to be let past.
    Button had a poor race, and it was due to his own poor efforts.
    Jenson, do not blame other people for your own failings.

  24. Miguel says:

    I think the crucial moment was when Button exited the pits, as he conceded Schumacher too much room, and backed off too early.
    Hamilton’s pass on Vettel exiting the pits, was much difficult, due to the third car, but he pulled it off.
    Schumacher didn’t do anything wrong to Button, he just took the candy that was offered to him.
    After the exit, nobody can really blame Button too much for not overtaking a 7 times world champion in a track like Barcelona.
    That’s why I didn’t vote in the poll, as I think he first had the chance, but then he just didn’t.
    Although my idol is Hamilton, I still think Button is a great driver, having different qualities, and different defects than Lewis.
    I don’t think it’s right having so many people doubting his habilities just for this GP.

    1. Formula Zero says:

      Totally agree with you mate. Button’s claim on Schumacher move doesn’t have much approval from anybody including the blind McLaren or Button fans. He still scored respectable chunk of point & he is way ahead of his main rival(LH). At the end of the day the outcome of the race wasn’t too bad for him. So, maybe he should be concentrating on getting more points. His claim sounds like a bit of whine only because he couldn’t pass Schumacher, maybe out of frustration. We all know that catching and passing are two different stories. And passing Schumacher would be like walking accross The Mount Everest for any driver.

      I’m amazed that how comment section in this blog still gets hammered with posts relating Hamilton with any article!!!

  25. Adam says:

    Surely Button’s experience should have told him that Schumacher’s experience would prevent him getting past. As Brundle said, Jenson should have made a lunge, but he didn’t, he tippy toed around, giving Michael enough time to counter and still set himself up to leave the corner at regular speed.

    Schumacher has the same instinct as Senna – “I’m putting the car here and it’s up to you what happens next”. Hamilton, Alonso or Kubica would have been straight up the inside. For sure Button was frustrated but what did he think Michael would do? Let him stroll past? Or has Button been spoilt by other drivers that do little to defend?

    1. wilson says:

      Schumacher has the same instinct as Senna – “I’m putting the car here and it’s up to you what happens next”.

      Beautiful! Couldn’t have said it better myself. I have a decent amount of respect for Jenson after the first 4 races of the year, but this was just unmitigated whining that he was doing on Sunday. Schumacher took what was left there for him on a plate, he would have been crazy not to. As someone above said, if Button thinks this was ‘out of order’, then he shouldn’t even be in the sport.

      And yes, for the 10 laps after it, his car was much quicker than Schumachers. Barcelona or not, he should have been able to pass him. With the obvious performance advantage he had, Hamilton and Alonso would’ve easily.

  26. Glen Phillips says:

    I have to say that a) Schumacher did nothing wrong and b) I would’ve liked to have seen Jenson be a touch more aggressive, but there’s no doubt that the track and the nature of the cars is the main reason the pass didn’t happen.

  27. Hairs says:

    A rather odd poll and some strange commentary here James. On the one hand, on “raw” pace JB should have had a good chance to get pace Schumacher, and possibly made one or two moves that were either not ballsy enough or in the wrong direction. However, I don’t agree that:

    “What is clear from the lap times yesterday is that this was one of those days when Button was nowhere near as fast as his team mate in the same car. In the 16 lap opening stint he only matched Hamilton’s lap time once and the rest of the time he was between a tenth and half a second slower. In 15 laps he lost six seconds to him.”

    Jenson had a car that had a slipping clutch and no dash readout – that means he was having to guess his gear changes based on experience and, what? Listening to the engine revs? And had a botched pitstop. Yet he was still *only* losing a tenth on Hamilton on some laps? Surely that’s a sign he’s a great driver who was able to get almost on parity with his teammate despite a massive disadvantage? I’m not at all surprised Button didn’t get past Schumacher this weekend. Who else did?

    The piece below is a long commentary on the great job Vettel did with a car full of technical problems and failed pitstops. Why not the same kudos for Button? Had Hamilton, or Alonso, had the same race Jenson had in that car, surely the message from the pundits would have been “look at him, keeping his car close to the pace and getting the points, still trying to make passes even though it’s impossible to pass on this circuit and his car is a wreck, what a great champion!” I’m not surprised Button (and many of his fans) have got frustrated at the public perception of him as a 2nd rate champion.

    Let’s not forget, when Hamilton had a car that was much much faster than Schumacher’s in China it still took 3 laps to get past him. And he didn’t get past Sutil at all in Malaysia, again despite a much faster car.

    1. Mark Crooks says:

      I really think Button is damned if he does and damned if doesn’t.

      There is nothing he can do to change the minds of his detractors.

      So he should just forget about it all and keep on doing what he does best and keep bringing home those points.

      1. James Allen says:

        I think that’s a good observation

      2. Matt says:

        Surely that applies to all drivers?

      3. David C says:

        In this case I feel that some of the criticism is deserved since Jenson brought it upon himself with his criticism of Schumacher’s move, which was a racer’s move, and as such it was completely above board. It was the kind of move that any racer would have attempted, therefore Jenson’s remark ends up appearing rather sour and ridiculous.

    2. David C says:

      In James’ defense, some of the facts raised in your rebuttal are a bit overstated. You said that Jenson’s car had a slipping clutch and no dash readout, which are both true. However, by your claim that “despite a massive disadvantage” he was able to match Hamilton’s speed, you are clearly implying that Jenson had to deal with these technical problems race-long. However, by Jenson’s own admission, the display issue only persisted during the opening laps and the clutch problem only occurred during his pitstop. This is what Jenson actually said.

      “During the opening laps, my dashboard readout stopped working. The team was telling me over the radio to do things on the steering wheel but I couldn’t see if I was doing the right things, and I couldn’t see the rev lights either: most of the time I was pretty close with my gear-changes, but I was hitting the limiter quite a lot, which happens when you’re getting a tow and you’re shifting at different places. Then I was delayed at the first pitstop: there was a problem with the clutch dragging, so the guys couldn’t get the wheel on, and then I had wheelspin. When I rejoined the track, I didn’t know where Michael [Schumacher] was. Into Turn One, he turned in – and if I hadn’t backed out of it, we would probably have crashed.”

      1. Steven Pritchard says:

        “During the opening laps, my dashboard readout stopped working”

        Err, I think this Button is stating the time when it stopped working (not the duration of how long it was not working)

      2. Hairs says:

        Exactly – where did you hear that the dash started working again after the opening laps?

        It’s possible that Button could maybe have tried different lines into different corners, and maybe gave up his position to Schumacher too easily but on the other hand, how many other overtakes did we see all race long? Hardly any. Vettel may well have been driving with a damaged car but how much of that was caused by his excursion on the sleeping policemen when Hamilton overtook him out of the pits? And how many times can you rely on Vettel to overtake a slower car in front? That was one of his killers last year, after all.

    3. The Ram says:

      The bad dash was only for the early parts of the race. Read Jenson’s interview again!

      1. Hairs says:

        Jenson’s interview states it started “in the early parts of the race”, not that it only happened at the start and then stopped. Read Martin Brundle’s piece on the BBC website today, he was talking to Button and the problem went on the whole race, and is why his pitstop went wrong.

        So for Button to keep pace with schumacher, and get close enough to attempt to pass, when he can’t get accurate gear changes, is an example of championship driving.

      2. Jameson says:

        Since when is lap 38 out of 66 the “early part” of a race? Watch the race again, and you’ll see that at lap 38–the last on-board with JB–that the display is not working.

        Quit the unwarranted Button bashing.

  28. carl craven says:

    Button’s early pace was dictated by being behind Alonso who Jenson followed closely up until the first pitstop. Jenson is notorious for keeping a distance behind the car in front so as not to chew up his tyres if a passing move is not circumspect, so to criticize his early pace is a bit unfair.

    Probably his whinge on MSs overtake is a little too much, but Michael is known for putting other drivers at risk so it’s what you come to expect. He had nothing to lose he’s not likely to win another title this year.

    I think considering Button had Massa crawling all over his back and no read outs on his steering wheel explain his reticence to not over kill the attacks on MS. Otherwise he’d have run off and lost another place to Massa.

    It’s easy easy easy to criticize Button for not taking on MS, he attacked a lot at the beginning, but tell me this. If the point comes where you know that you have a safe 5th (or 6th) place and that the guy in front of the guy in front of you is so far ahead that you’re not likely to catch him, then at least you are going to come home with some points. Jenson did, Hamilton didn’t.

    It’s always said that MS stats simply hide the manner in which he achieved some of them. JB leads the championship and he leads his very talented team mate too. By almost a win. I think the points are more significant than how he achieves them.

    I’ve always said that Lewis is the better racer, attacker overtaker, but Button is doing al he needs/can to be in the position he is.

    No doubt he’d lost alot of grip attacking Michael in the early stages of the second stint and to continue might have meant joining Lewis on the side of the track.

  29. pawelf1 says:

    I dont think that the poll has the right question.

    Do you think Button should have been able to pass Schumacher?

    Yes because they should change F1 so he would be able to pass.

    Becase the rules that we have now didnt let him do that

    1. Matt says:

      Why don’t we just change the whole format to suit Button? Jenson was predictable with his moves and lacked instinct. Boring.

  30. BiggusJimmus says:

    I think Button’s cred as an overtaker is pretty well established. Last year he slaughtered Hamilton at it. I think Schumacher is becoming a problem, not only for others but for his own team. The car has been changed to suit him and it is now a dog. Rosberg must be seething, in private.

    Schumacher’s motivation was well discussed when his comeback was announced, and he insisted he still had it. But imho he mistook the desire to succeed for the will. Now he’s changing things outside himself to try to make them suit when he should be examining what is going on within. He may have got himself in too deep to do that now. Ross Brawn may have to do it for him.

    1. John F says:

      > I think Schumacher is becoming a problem,
      > not only for others but for his own team.

      And why exactly is he a problem for others?
      Because Button could not overtake him?
      Sure, I can clearly see it now …

      1. BiggusJimmus says:

        Because he is used to being the boss, and now he isn’t. Because he has altered the course of his team for the worse. Because he is dragging others down to his level.
        The truth is that it is virtually impossible to overtake at Barcelona. There isn’t much overtaking in F1 anyway. It is not a mark of Button’s inferiority that he couldn’t find a way past; more it’s a mark of Schumacher’s ability to exploit defensive opportunities that abound at the Circuit de Catalunya.

    2. Skysurfer says:

      You should check your facts before wading in with such an ignorant post…

      The plans to modify the wheelbase and – as a consequence – the weight distribution was not made to suit MS. It was a decision taken shortly after winter testing and NR, by his own admission, had a say in that.

      1. BiggusJimmus says:

        Not sure how much “say” a new driver to a championship winning team with a seven times world champion for a partner would have had. Anyway, if you are correct, I stand corrected.

  31. Jey says:

    James,
    Fantastic job you have been doing here at this site.

    As far as Jense’s comments go,I believe its his way of trying to push the topic of discussion to Schuey vs Jense instead of the Lewis vs Jense that could have topped the media at UK.

    After being completely outrun by his teammate,I think Jense has been succesful to some extent in that aspect :-)

  32. Phil C says:

    I honestly can’t remember the move out of the pits, But I do remember when I saw it thinking it was fair. I’m really not a Schumacher fan, but there you are.
    I thought it was closer with Vettel, Hamilton and the Virgin when Lewis emerged from the pits. I didn’t really see why Vettel took to the run off, he had space to stay on the track, and may even have held the position.

  33. STJimmyL says:

    Nobody would have got past Schumi at this track – not without one of the drivers losing a wing anyway.

    A frustrating race all round (vettel, hamilton, button, the viewers)

    James – what are your thoughts (put aside how much money you make off your book about Michael :) Tongue firmly in cheek)

    Cheers,

  34. Mark Edwards says:

    In my opinion Jenson compromised his race by not qualifying as well as he could/should have (3rd),he was nearly 2/10′s off Lewis.

    Unless he made gains at the start he race was always going to be dictated by those in font and pitstops.

    He should have been more aggressive down the inside of Michael, but had it not been for that dodgy pitstop would have been right with Alonso battling for 2nd.

  35. Francisco says:

    In my mind it comes down to TOP class. Just compare SV vs LH on the same race, the same situation LH coming out the pits from inside. Who came first? LH. Who is coming first between MS and JB? It was NOT JS.

    I have not heard SV complaining. It is quite telling.

    In the long run, JB will be behind LH. It is a matter of time. In nomal conditions, LH will outperform every time.

    1. Cliff says:

      SV did not complain because he took to the run-off area rather than hit Lewis. As a Lewis Fan I would rather he had Jenson’s points rather than wait for his luck to change. Remember allmost all Lewis’s problems have been self-inflicted. If Lewis fails to increase his points tally on a consistent basis, all the comparisons will be meaningless.

      1. kbdavies says:

        “Remember almost all Lewis’s problems have been self-inflicted.” – Really? Well, lets look at this statement. (1)Strategy mistake by McLaren in Australia, (2)Webber shunting him off from behind, (2)Tyre deflation due to wheel rim failure in Spain, (3)Wrong tyre pressures in Malaysia. That’s at least in 3 of the 5 races so far. Please tell me how that equates to “Almost”?

      2. Cliff says:

        I use the term “Self-inflicted” from a team perspective. You blame the team for Lewis’s race in Australia, but you disregard the fact that he Qualified 11th and placed himself in a difficult position for the race. His driving skills got him up into contention later in the race. I fully accept that the Webber incident was not of his making, but I belive in “Cause & Affect”. A poor Qualifying position will bring problems, for Lewis, it was Mark Webber. As for the Wheel Rim failure, I can’t remember blaming him for that one! Lewis’s has to take his share of the blame. In the words of Ron Dennis “We win as Team & we Lose as Team”

  36. Lu says:

    actually, pawelf1, I don’t think he would’ve gotten past even with different rules/aerodynamics etc. He simply wasn’t faster than Schumi yesterday, as anybody who was watching the actual sector and lap times will tell you.

    1. Paul Douglas says:

      And as anybody who understands racing will tell you, then you are stuck behind a car you:

      A) Are restricted to their pace
      B) Are almost always slower than them, particularly when you are following within about seven tenths because you have to follow, evading a crash, compromising your braking points etc.

  37. This is highlighting what I expected would be the difference between lewis and jenson. Given good conditions, a bit of luck, a clear track and with experience jenson can win.

    Lewis on the other hand i am 99% certain would have passed michael. I’m absolutely certain because Jenson a few times was very close.

    Lewis would have got past and then made up places whereas jenson isn’t quite the racing racer

  38. Kam says:

    I read it somewhere that no one in the top ten gained positions from an on track over take.

    Says it all, and Jenson should not have felt the need to defind himself.

    JB just needs to carry on doing what he is doing, head down and getting the points.

    Its working for Alonso, and Nico. Nothing flash need at this stage.

    5th is perfectly respectable on a day like his.

  39. Andy C says:

    I think Jenson gave MS too many signals about his intention yesterday, in that he kept taking a look. He should have just given Michael a taste of his own, and thrown it one time down the inside (but thats why I’m not a racing driver).

    Very easy to be an arm chair critic for me, but I would say the track is one of the biggest aero tracks on the calendar, and its no surprise that it exacerbates the problem of cars not being able to follow one another.

    Surely in all of the technology available, the Tech working group cant come up with a workable solution to this….

    A relatively bad day for JB, but he will happily bank those points and move onto Monaco (a track I know very well, having bored my wife to tears tearing round the track in a hired car when we were there last year). That bump in the road is so big going down the hill from casino it must be massive for an F1 car.

  40. Stevie P says:

    JB couldn’t get close enough to send one “up the inside” – great traction from the Merc out of the last chicance and onto the main straight – besides Mr Schumi was already on the piece of tarmac that JB would have liked to utilise to execute a pass.

    A “lunge” would \ could have put both drivers out… with a potential grid penalty on top for reckless driving… better to finish and collect some points (especially when your dashboard malfunctions).

    Also perhaps a little Schumi revenge… you (JB) hit Alonso in Aus, who then hit me and scuppered my race… so have some back :-)

    The only negative point, for me, is that JB should have defended better when he exited the pits.

    Who else over-took…? Alguesuari around the outside of… at turn one? Rosberg at Campsa, on the inside of…??? There wasn’t a lot of over-taking, as we expect in a dry F1 “race”.

    I feel JB was frustrated because, as in Bahrain, he got stuck behind Micheal… in Spain, he missed a potential podium (yes, all IF’s and BUT’s). But take the points and move on; (so far) we’ve seen that consistency is the main key to keeping your title challenge up… but Red Bull’s pace will be worrying the others!

  41. Crackers says:

    Schumacher has the widest car in the history of F1, so whoever was behind him would have had no chance on that track.

    As for Hamilton outpacing Jensen, only one of the two finished – Button looks after his tyres and Lewis has a history of destroying his. It might have been the rim this time, but that also might be just an excuse.

    1. wilson says:

      “Schumacher has the widest car in the history of F1, so whoever was behind him would have had no chance on that track.”

      Very true. But really, could the timing be ANY more ironic for Jenson? When Hamilton was asked after China, “..so,what was it like to pass Schumacher?” At which point, Jenson giggled in his ear to tell the truth, for Lewis’ answer to be: “Just like any other driver.”

      Well Jensey-Poos, you might have to think about that answer again. That driver kept you behind for 50 laps, while you were in a much faster car!

      I have respect for Jenson. But he’s not a ‘racer’ like Hamilton, Schumacher, Alonso. Before all the groupies jump on me, let me reiterate my respect for him. He’s a very intelligent driver, as we’ve seen this year especially. I like him a lot as a person too, more than Hamilton and Alonso. But there is a difference between him and those 3. He just lacks the killer instinct that would have seen Hamilton and Alonso pass Schumacher with similar car advantages.

      1. Crackers says:

        Agree to a point that Button isn’t the same aggressive type of racer as Alonso, Hamilton or Schumi, but if you cast your mind back to Melbourne all three of those guys spent their entire race behind guys who were slower.

        I put Button in the Alain Prost category – a thinker who is kind to his car and tyres and who will finish races consistently. It will be interesting to see who’s ahead at the end of the year.

      2. rooks says:

        Are you sure about Melbourne?

        Hamilton overtook Button, Webber, Massa (twice), Rosberg on track and Alonso recovered from last to fourth featuring quite a couple of overtakes too.

  42. kenny says:

    ************************************************************************
    ************************************************************************
    I think this article, along with all F1 commentators completely missed the point.

    Everyone is keen to criticise The Ledgend that is Michael Schumacher, and play down his
    performances, but the straight facts are that in the 2 dry races this year
    his has out raced the current world champion — after a 3 year layoff!!

    ************************************************************************
    ************************************************************************

    1. Klaas says:

      Damn Right

  43. Michael says:

    All drivers get like this from time to time. They have a frustrating race and the first thing they want to do when they get out of the car is tell the world exactly why their lack of success was due to other people. Some say they should hold their tongues but I find it entertaining. And ALL drivers do it at some point.

    Had it been the other way round, Schumi would have said much the same thing, not because he really believed it but because he would have wanted other drivers to second guess themselves in close situations.

    Schumi’s move was fair enough. Jenson had various problems this race and Lewis was only fast for 64 laps. We’ll know whose best at the end of the season. This race didn’t reveal much beyond how blisteringly fast the Red Bulls are.

    1. AndrewJ says:

      Well said.

      To say that Lewis is a better driver based on the premise that he’s already pulled a move on Michael this season is to forget that up until this race the Mercedes was the poorest performer in the top 4 teams, and it was widely acknowledged that Michael was struggling with the car.

      Now the car is more suited to him, as is evidenced by his position in practise as well as during the race, then you’re not comparing like with like.

  44. chairmanmeow says:

    James,

    Out of topic, but here goes. Do you think the ultra long wheelbase cars this year would have a problem going round a tight and twisty track like Monaco?

    1. James Allen says:

      Well they are a few centimetres longer but it’s not going to be a problem

      1. chairmanmeow says:

        I’ve seen a comparison chart of the cars, the McLaren is 27cm longer than the Mercedes (guess now 22)…

      2. Michael says:

        Apparently it is! http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/83527

        They’re reverting to the shorter wheelbase as the new chassis wouldn’t get around the corners! I laughed at the original comment but I guess I’m eating my words!

    2. Michael says:

      It’s hardly a bus! :)

      1. chairmanmeow says:

        But it is a limo… ask Weber. ;)

  45. Carl says:

    What I like about this is, that many drivers and commentators said that Schumi would not take risks if needed because of family, older blahblah, yet he made a risky move overtaking Button.

    So risky apparantly that it shook Button, lol.

    If Schumi had a Mclaren or a Red Bull, he would be untouchable.

    It definitely is his Merc that is holding him up, he has proven this now.

  46. Sam says:

    In China, Lewis was asked by a reporter how it felt racing and passing Schumi. Button then interjected: ” Be honest now…” eliciting laughter from the reporters.
    Now we should ask Button how does it feel being passed by Schumacher and being stuck behind his back for 49 laps considering that his car was significantly faster.
    I think one of the funny things about Button is that every time he got exposed, he needed to point to something else. “Oh something wrong with the car” “Oh Schumi did wrong thing blur blur”
    The fact of the matter is that Schumi was able to keep up with him in a very much slower car and that was one of two ‘normal’ races this season and Schumi beat him in both with an inferior car.
    He inherited a win from Vettle and he made the right call to win another race.
    I have nothing against Jenson, he is a humble bloke but only his countrymen think he is the best which many don’t agree.
    I know this may upset some people, but considering him as one of the top 10 drivers on the world is hardly bashing.
    Despite being a Schumi fan, his performance wasn’t that spectacular either. It was a good step forward but it doesn’t remind us Hungary 2006 or anything like that.

  47. Paul Mc says:

    Button in my view was asleep into turn 1 and allowed Schumi to nail him into turn 1. Most exciting part of the race for me. Seeing Schumi holding off Button lap after lap. Jenson was obviously frustrated but Michael never weaved or moved more than once he put his car where it needed to be. A lesson in defensive driving.

    Still the Mercedes is way off the pace

    1. Paul Douglas says:

      You say “asleep”, but he got a late call on the radio that MS was going to be there and the reality is he was likely still reacting to the clutch and dashboard issues since he had only recently got underway and was just about to get up to speed. Consider that he’d have been upshifting, without the lights. And then moments later downshifting to make the turn.

      At the time, I noticed his hesitance and chalked it up to caution over the problem he’d had in the pits. With the knowledge of all that went on, it’s clear he had a lot of things to deal with coming out of the pits. Circumstances were not ideal.

  48. Jon says:

    Its seems to me that Jenson cant really win no matter what he does. One race he’s a hero the next a zero. All theses comment about Hamilton would have got past are pure speculation. If Hamilton can pass anybody at anytime then why didnt he get past Sutil in Malysia? As for Button’s lap times well if you are stuck behind Alonso and then Schumacher then it is hard to come to any real conclusion. Maybe he wasnt as quick as Hamilton at this race but as he wasnt running in clear air we will never know.

  49. PaulL says:

    I think Button is right, Schuey always makes you decide if you want to have an accident by potentially causing one. I’m not sure it’s right, but that’s how the man operates. You see his move out of the pits on Rubens at Indy 2005?

    If I were a driver I’d put down a marker and take a wheel off him once. Then it would be an even keel next time! Easy said of course!

    1. Williams4ever says:

      Well JPM bore the most brunts of Schumi Indiscretions. Rememeber Sepang’02 :-?
      there were other times, when Schumi turner in from outer side on JPM and it was always JPM that bore the brunt of FIA thanks to “Don’t disturb him during the race” Whiting.

      1. Crom says:

        Let’s not forget JPM instigating his own fair share of incidents – anyone remember seeing a Ferrari emerging from the Monaco tunnel on three wheels, in 2004?

  50. F1 Kitteh says:

    “There you go, you’d think with his experience he would know.”

    Schumi definitely knew where to put the car! I guess the rust is gone and puts to rest the doubters?

  51. knoxploration says:

    Jenson said “There you go, you’d think with his experience he would know. It wasn’t really the right move.”

    It seems perhaps Jenson isn’t familiar with Michael’s career. He wasn’t exactly known for his fairness, nor for the clean and sporting manner in which he behaved — and I say that as a long-time fan of Schumacher myself, who finally saw the light when he deliberately blocked the track at Monaco.

    Schumacher will do whatever is required to win, up to and including outright cheating. If Jenson wants to stop that, he needs to convince Michael that future dirty moves will be rewarded with a collision.

  52. Jonas says:

    I think if we had just seen a race full of overtaking it would be fair to be critical of Button for not getting past.

  53. Matt says:

    I like Button, I think he’s a decent guy. But at the end of the day, Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher (not counting the first few faces) just seem to have that extra 10% to give. And where that is most evident is in coming through the field and dealing with problems. Most drivers on the grid would have been in with a chance of a win if they were in Webber’s position. Also, im afraid to say that Button is a very dull driver to watch. Those comparisons with Prost are unfounded, he was never dull to watch. When people look back, the drivers people remember are the ones who are entertaining. 90% of this current wont be remembered.

    Also, It’s quite telling how many people (journos inc) assumed Hamilton’s puncture was his own fault. Says it all really doesn’t it.

  54. Brace says:

    It’s interesting that hamilton always has “rim problems”…

    1. David C says:

      “Always”? The last time Lewis had a tire failure was in Hungary 18 months ago. I’m excluding the tire puncture he got in Germany last year, as that was caused by a collision with Mark Webber and was not wear related. It seems that a lot of people like to damn Lewis for being hard on tires (which was true certainly at times during his rookie season), without giving him sufficient credit for maturing as a driver over the years.

  55. GektorS says:

    Why is JB justifying himself? He just couldn´t pass Schumacher plus he was overtaken wildly by the same guy, I think he should have been more agressive defending the position which proved to be vital for his race.

    Though not the same drivers and cars I remember Alguersuari overtaking Hulkenberg at the end of the straight on the outside.

    Some races you do good others not, that’s life. But complaint about a racing battle? No way JB.

  56. Klaas says:

    Another example why Flavio Briatore doesn’t rate Button as one of the top 5 f1 drivers at the moment.
    And his reaction after the race was utterly stupid. It was a clean manoeuvre and a fair and square overtaking. Are we beginning to complain if someone actually manages to overtake somebody. Button was just too cautious coming out of the pits and Schumi took the opportunity.
    If Button says this then everybody will have a right to complain after every overtaking in the future. Cause eventually someone has to give way, that’s the whole idea of motor racing Jenson. Admit that you were not good enough to get passed him and get on with it. Don’t cry but put your race face on, like Hamilton does!!!

  57. AdrianP says:

    As I posted on the other thread, it looked to me like Schumacher was at the limits of what is permitted in terms of moving around in or near the braking zone and chopping up a car that’s already got the line into the corner. Seems to me Button had a legitimate complaint, and he actually made the observation quite lightly – Hamilton implied the same thing about Schuey’s driving in Malaysia. I don’t think anyone in the paddock would disagree that Schuey plays it rougher than most. Button made a similar complaint about Kobayashi in Brazil and Kobayashi proceeded to wipe out Trulli doing the same thing a few laps later. All the drivers have a view about what is and is not permitted, some have different ones, and there’s nothing wrong with the view being expressed.

    With a bit better traction in the last corner, Button would have been able to get alongside Schumacher before the braking zone (it was clear what a good top speed advantage the Maclaren had, but it was also clear that Schumacher was getting better exits from the last corner, partly because he was in front, I guess). As things stood any move was going to be very marginal. Button did have the opportunity of a complete ‘do or die’ manouevre – i.e. plonking it up the inside very very late, but as the moniker suggests there are two possible outcomes to that.

    If he did get past, it looked like there was little chance of getting past any of the 1-4 placed drivers – Alonso’s straightline speed would have been too much, so a 50/50 move would have been either a gain of 2 points (6th to 5th) as against the loss of 8 points (6th to DNF) (or 10 points as it turned out). The maths kind of speaks for itself.

    It would be nice to build this into the narrative ‘Hamilton can overtake, Button can’t’ but so far this season Hamilton’s been out of position at tracks and in conditions where overtaking was not so constrained, whereas when Button’s been out of position it’s been at notorious processional tracks (Bahrain, Spain).

    It’s also tosh to extrapolate anything from their respective race lap times when these were dictated by what was in front of their respective cars. Qually showed that there was precious little in their ultimate pace with Button ahead in Q2 and only a smidgeon off in Q3 (which he attributed to a mistake).

  58. Michael says:

    Button’s ‘attack’on Schumacher was very funny. Anyone who watched that move could see it was a totally fair overtake. Button’s statement that “If I hadn’t backed off we would have crashed” goes for just about every overtake ever. Unless you’re on a very long straight one driver will always have to back down.

    The fact is that Button didn’t have the balls yesterday to hold position coming out of the pits and he didn’t have the balls to overtake Schumacher when he had the chance.

    Does anyone really think Schumacher would have held the position if Montoya was in the McLaren? Or Hamilton? Of course not. They’d have made the move, been aggressive and taken Schumacher within 5 laps.

    If Button was fast enough to get beside Schumacher at the end of the straight then he was fast enough to overtake. Put the car in the right place and make Schumacher decide, crash or let him past.

    Schumacher was more aggressive yesterday so it was Button who had to decide and he decided not to crash.

    1. Richard says:

      >>Does anyone really think Schumacher would have held the position if Montoya was in the McLaren? Or Hamilton? Of course not. They’d have made the move, been aggressive and taken Schumacher within 5 laps.

      Me, for one. Yes, Hamilton (or Montoya) would have gotten frustrated, and “made the move”, and duly lost their front wing. I’m sure Hamilton wouldn’t have had the maturity to sit behind Schumi for 49 laps without doing something stupid. Overtaking is difficult at Barcelona.

      1. Amir says:

        “maturity?” I’d much rather see a racer be a racer and give even a sliver of a chance a good go and crash out trying than be like “mature” boring button stuck behind for 50 laps anyday

  59. Thebe says:

    I think one of the easiest things to do in life,is to critisise and that’s what all the anti Schumacher fans are doing at the moment.Everyone has been so quick to say how he’s lost it,how he was overtaken by a rookie.Schumacher managed to keep Button at bay in a much faster car for almost the entire race,he could have made a mistake and lost the car and then face all the critics.Need I remind that this is man who gave up a comfortable life with his family to race in F1,that can be a very daunting task if you have not raced in 3 years,something that most people wouldn’t dare to do.He is a fighter ,always criticed by many ,but has always managed to comeback fighting .That piece of driving by MS was excellent to say the least given the fact that he has been out of the grand prix racing for 3 years.Hats off to him.Button failed to overtake thats that,he knows he was beaten.

    1. Taimur says:

      I totally agree with you. The fact is that Button doesn’t consider his own teammate pulling off a similar move on Vettel. When Schumacher passed him I thought it was a brilliant move, one which shows that Schumacher is regaining his touch!

    2. HUGO says:

      Couldn´t agree more!

  60. malcom says:

    Jonrob, Hamilton’s fastest lap occurred on lap 59, and the puncture on lap 65…..hardly a few seconds as you state.

  61. jimmy Mcdonald says:

    That comment by Button sums it up for me. When was the last time you heard Button take responsibility for his own failings? It is always the car, the wind, the clutch, the other driver, never Button. This guy really takes the biscuit. A journeyman always a journeyman…nothing new here.

    1. tamzed ashraf says:

      Urmmm .. journeymen dont win WDC’s

    2. miso says:

      The last time I heard him take responsibility for an error was after qualifying on Saturday. Is that recent enough for you?

  62. Paul says:

    Is it not that case that of the top 9 drivers (all the way down to Massa) not one of them passed any one all day under full speed racing conditions? As Vettel said in the post race interview, once he was behind Hamilton it was IMPOSSIBLE to pass him.

    Doesn’t this tell us something of the way that the highly efficient engineering of an F1 car has reached the point where it has neutered the sporting spectacle. Only when it is wet or changeable do we get a race that actually feels like a race.

    What about Hamilton in Malaysia? The driver who is without doubt the best overtaker on the grid right now cut his way through the field until he found the back of Sutil’s Force India and there he stayed. Shouldn’t Hamilton have passed Sutil? Of course he should, it’s just that as Vettel said, it’s IMPOSSIBLE.

    I want rain for every race. Because it’s only when its wet that we get a “race” and not a high speed engineering war of attrition.

    The refuelling era (long may it remain a thing of the past) merely disguised the fundamental tedium of the lack of on-track action by replacing it with “passing in the pits”. Banning refuelling is a good first step because it means there is now more than 1 way to win a race.

    I think a good pole would be, Which Driver in the top 4 teams will pass another driver from the top 4 teams in a dry race in a genuine racing situation (ie not pitstop induced) and when?

    Will we see it happen at all this year? So far, we haven’t. So Button is in very good company.

    1. Komieko says:

      I think we missed the opportunity see a completed move as Hamilton was punted off track by Webber as he was about to get past Alonso in Australia.

  63. Steve Rogers says:

    I suspect the reason why Button wasn’t more “aggressive” was something to do with the fact that he couldn’t close up tight enough and keep enough stability in the front end to make a move. After he discovered this, I don’t think he had any option but to sit back and wait to see if Schumacher lost it. I don’t know about Schumacher’s exit from the pits – it was for Button to see and his choice to criticise it and I wasn’t in his seat. If he’d known that the TV commentators hadn’t picked it up he might have done better not to say anything, but that doesn’t prove he was incorrect in what he said.

  64. Daniel says:

    Hi James,

    Re Button’s lack of pace compared to Hamilton’s, surely Jenson had serious issues in the car with his broken dash display…Martin Brundle mentions in his BBC colum how critical it is for a driver to be able to see the rev limiter lights. Brundle seemed to think that it would have been costing him several tenths per lap by not being able to change gear at the optimum moment. Do you think this goes some way to explain Button’s relative lack of pace compared to Hamilton?

    Superb journalism as per usual James, please keep up the good work!

    1. James Allen says:

      Well Martin knows better than I how much that would affect a driver. But if you look at how little lap time Alonso dropped in Malaysia despite gear selection issues you see how adaptable these guys are

      1. Daniel says:

        Fair point!

      2. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        Alot of drivers would be able to adapt to the situation purely by listening to the tone of the engine revs, however some would struggle with this.

        Having studied music for years, I know that some people are born tone deaf (i.e they have trouble identifing changes in pitch easily) whereas others are born with what is known as “perfect pitch” (i.e they can hear a tone once & be able to not only identify it again, but also identify any other tone at will).

        For a driver, this kind of ability translates into being able to change at exactly the same revs every gearshift without having a shift light etc.

        Maybe poor Jens is one of the unlucky ones?

        Also to all those saying Jenson was “held up” for the reaminder of the race behind Schumacher, garbage, after their fight for a few laps he was falling behind & could not close the gap. He was over 3.0 seconds behind in the last few laps & lapping slower, the only reason he was closer at the finish is that the Schu backed off over the line on the last lap, whereas Jenson kept right into it because Felipe was on his tail.

      3. Paul Douglas says:

        You have to factor in that with all the time he spent tucked up behind Schumi, ducking and weaving to try and create an overtake, his tyres were in a worse state than Schumi’s. The attacker’s tyres degrade faster, fact of racing.

  65. Pierre says:

    I think Button has been influenced by Schumacher’s last races poor performances and the media buzz, and made the mistake of thinking the german was never going to perform and fight for the rest of the season.

  66. Phil W says:

    I thought Schumi drove a great race. Even on TV, that car looks SLOW and a complete dog to drive.

    It was a good display of defensive driving from him.

    I do feel Button should have been more aggressive in the first few laps. With the pace he had and potential points gain it was worth the risk of losing a front wing.

  67. irish conor says:

    james did lewis not pass michael at the barcalona tests when they were both properly going for it.surely that ends the argument

    1. Prof Bolshaviks says:

      When Jenson said, “someone of his experience should…”
      he needed to consider what michael’s experience told him about Button.
      As he came flying down to turn one, Schumacher’s experience let him know, “Jenson will back out of this.” and after a scary half second micheal was able to confirm his supposition.
      The number of touches micheal had to have to put the fear into other drivers was numerous. But people forget, so they need reminding.

    2. Aussie F1 Fan says:

      Yes he did, but even Lewis admitted that they were on significantly different fuel loads when that occured, Schumacher with a full car & Hamilton with a lighter one.

  68. Dl says:

    Funny what difference a few weeks make: everyone was bashing schumi for making heavy weather of overtaking alguesari and now it’s the track, the dirty air, button.

  69. Trent says:

    This battle generated a lot of posts so that, in my mind, signifies that all can not be so bad in F1 at the moment. A long lasting battle like this is great, even if an overtake doesn’t eventuate. Enjoy the superb defense of one of the hardest guys F1 has seen!

    I am despondant, though, to see ever more ‘forgiving’ F1 circuits. First big, flat kerbs. Then ‘grass-crete’ outside the kerbs. Now they are adding synthentic grass as well, to make the circuit boundaries more user friendly. How about no kerb, and if they driver puts a wheel off he pays the price? Watching drivers overshoot a corner and just take a short cut is pathetic. Bring on Monaco!

  70. DaveR says:

    The main problem (Button not overtaking Schumacher) was the Catalunya track.
    A fantasic straight spoiled by a pathetic lead-in.
    Get rid of the sharp corners at turns 14 & 15 and Barcelona could become the greatest and most exciting track in the series by allowing real slip-streaming down the sraight with an overtaking challenge at turn 1.

  71. monktonnik says:

    As an MSC and JB fan, it was an interesting battle to watch. I can’t seem to find the pit exit and place swap on youtube, but I don’t remember it being that unfair.

    I think that my only criticism of Button’s approach is that he didn’t try the inside line once coming into the 1st corner. Although, to be fair, I think MSC had it covered anyway. If JB felt that Michael was driving too aggressively then you could see why he wouldn’t want to just “sling one up the inside and see what happens”.

  72. Trix says:

    Well well well

    It’s amazing to see how fickle some British fans are. Less than two years down the line and suddenly Lewis is the devils incarnate, the driver who can’t take care of his tyres, the dangerous driver blah blah blah. Its really amazing.

    I think its high time Lewis is given credit. Personally, I prefer Lewis to Button for a number of reasons. I’m not British but I hear that somewhere in LONDON (of all places), when Lewis speared off into the barriers, there was a cheer. Imagine that. In London? I find that really repulsive. When Jenson was in a bad car and Lewis was on his way to becoming a world champ, Lewis was the next best thing. Suddenly, when Jenson gets into the best car in the field, some of the Bristish fans show themselves for who they really are.

    Even if I didn’t like Hamilton before now, I am definitely endeared to him with all this hate coming from the Spanish fans and now even some British fans. It’s not far fetched to imagine that if Hamilton is out front in Silverstone with Jenson in second or third, a loud cheer will erupt from the crowd if Hamilton has a problem with his car. He has had good times and bad times but is maturing as a driver and as a person. With no family to support him (until recently) at the races and his determination to mature as a person by keeping it that way, he has shown that he is taking deliberate steps to mature and I think that that overall, he will come out a better person.

    He tries as much as possible to talk up the British fans and it seems like all some of the fans want to do is tear him down. I think its time that Britain began to support their two drivers and quit this nonsense. It always makes non Britons question whether Britain is acutally past the racism era.

    Hamilton is an exceptional driver and (personally), I think is the best driver out there (though maybe not the most complete) but its just a matter of time.

  73. BiggusJimmus says:

    Lots of feeling in these posts! It’s an emotive issue, for sure.

  74. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Come on Jenson…what do you expect when you come up behind another driver…the parting of the red sea?

    Learn how to overtake…Lewis Hamilton has mastered it so why can’t you. Sunday was not a test session..it was a race.

  75. yos says:

    Jenson can’t overtake besides he complains? c’mon! Which one is more embarassing? the later offcourse.

  76. Paul Douglas says:

    I have to say I was slightly unimpressed by Brundle’s assertion that Jens needed to “steam up the inside”. I’m not certain what race he was watching, but Michael had the inside well and truly covered. Button was not close enough to execute a banzai move at the last second to dive for the inside line. He did try a more aggressive early move to the inside to sell Schumi a dummy before ducking back around, but the German, after covering the inside drifted ever so slightly to the centre of the track to cover Button’s duck around, forcing JB to tuck in behind. It was the closest Schumi could get to two blocks in the braking zone.

    It’s not in Button’s nature to throw in a do-or-die move. Jenson thinks of the long game. It’s why he’s the driver you hire to put together a season. Button’s moves are calmly thought-out maneuvers executed with precision. He likes to guarantee success before the move even starts. He takes bigger risks later in the season – once he has a cushion. It’s safer that way.

    I also wasn’t sure it was fair to say JB was only trying in one corner. For two reasons. First, Turn 1 is the most legitimate opportunity there is at Catalunyawn. Second, because Jenson made moves at several other turns as well.

    The fact is, overtaking in general in F1 is hard at the moment, especially on an all-dry track. Nobody else in the Top 9 made a racing-speed pass for position. Factor in that Button was guessing the upshifts and nursing the clutch and I think he can be forgiven for having not been able to get close enough down the straight to quite manage the move he wanted.

  77. Alen says:

    GREAT STUFF SCHUMI!

    I wonder why no one talks about Schumi’s move on Button!!

    Allen, what’s your verdict on that?

    To me it was brilliant… and I really can’t find any excuse for whining Button. I really thought that he would say a few positive word for the legend… but no, he does the opposite which speaks volumes about Jenson’s character… what a joke!

    1. James Allen says:

      I thought it was okay, this is racing after all

  78. Robert Powers says:

    A proper pass is done with authority and safety;it must be engineered.Constant stabs at passes that are clearly not on will embolden a Schumacher to stay in his position.

    If Button would have made a proper attempt he would have had position on Schumacher and succeeded.Instead his progress came to a halt,all down to improper technique.

  79. Robert says:

    Jenson was definitely frustrated. Who can blame him? After the Chinese race, he apparently “whispered” to Hamilton at the drivers post race interview to say the truth about his “battle” with Michael on the track. How long did it take Hamilton to past Michael, not 50+ laps. If I made a comment like that and two races later I am in Jenson’s shoes, I would run away from the press!
    But maybe we should not forget that the “old dog” can’t drive a car anymore and that he was lucky to compete against less talented drivers at the time when he broke all the records, and it is only his aggressive behavior that prevented the current world champion, in a much faster car, to past him.
    I am obviously a Michael Schumacher fan, and therefore I find most of the comments amusing. The one day MS is not good enough and the other day he is a bad sportsman. Maybe I would have seen it in another light if I will always look for excuses and something else to blame if my star driver did not perform the way I liked him to perform and cannot except the results.

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