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McLaren in victory: What a picture tells you
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McLaren in victory: What a picture tells you
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Jun 2010   |  4:33 pm GMT  |  158 comments

Take a look at this Darren Heath photograph of the McLaren team on Sunday night after their win in Montreal.

It was the third 1-2 finish of the season, the second with Hamilton heading home Button.

The first thing to note is Ron Dennis on the left of the picture, sitting on the floor, wearing a victory T shirt. He’s no longer in charge of the team and is only an occasional visitor to races, but he was in Montreal in his civilian clothes over the weekend. It was a very low profile appearance though and he had to be persuaded to take part in this picture.

The team has changed since Martin Whitmarsh took over in many ways, more open, more relaxed. Everyone was on edge when Ron was in charge. They are less so now.

But McLaren still knows how to develop a car and there is confidence about this picture which I find striking. The team has just taken its fourth win in eight races and is on top in both championships. Red Bull has squandered a car advantage in the early season and now they are doing 3am finishes at every race to try to keep up. There is something frantic about Red Bull, not yet desperate, but frantic nevertheless.

McLaren have the momentum and this picture sums it up.

Now look at John Button, Jenson’s father. His presence in the picture says a lot about how McLaren has changed. John is not really an old school McLaren type person. But in the new McLaren, where music pumps out of an ipod in the hospitality area and the team is reaching out to fans via social media perhaps more than any other team, he is very much at home and welcomed.

Look at Jenson, does he look miffed at being beaten by Hamilton again? Not a bit of it. When he came into the unilateral room after the race he was delighted with his performance. He couldn’t get close to Lewis in Montreal, as he admitted after qualifying, but he managed to finish two seconds behind him. He has brought a lot to the team; calmness, engineering sense, racing intelligence. Above all though he is scoring big points every race.

This is a team working in harmony, a team with momentum. Red Bull and Ferrari have their work cut out living with these guys.

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158 Comments
  1. PureRacing says:

    Thanks JA for your insight… since you mention everyone – with a while para on Jesnon – but Hamilton, you provided me with the challange (and pleasure) to fill in some words about the man who won the race. Cheers!!!!!

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      http://mclaren.com/team/technical-team – Ron’s bald head right in the centre of it all conducting the orchestra to perfection

  2. Banjo says:

    Brilliant analysis James. And great news for us McLaren fans. The McLaren website and interactions through social media, which you mentioned, really are good. They have great in race information available and you feel like you’re getting something back from being a fan of theirs.

    A key point of yours “he’s scoring big points at every race too”. Jenson and Lewis are both delivering. This is vital to any teams push for the constructors, and at the moment, is something both Mercedes and Ferrari are lacking.

    Off topic now, James, I have read (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8740057.stm) on the BBC website that Ferrari are set for a massive upgrade come Valencia which should “launch them to the front”. I’m not doubting this, but am sceptic. As i understand it, the 0.7 seconds should come from aerodynamic downforce – something that massively lacked in Turkey. With McLaren and Red Bull both having improved their downforce since then should this 0.7 seconds really put them to the front ? Or, just put them back in contention? I know at Montreal they were closer, but, that is a unique low downforce circuit.

    Assuming McLaren’s silverstone package is going to include the exhaust system the Red Bulls have, and when you take into account they were so close to them in qualifying at Turkey – i think McLaren will soon have the most downforce on the grid.

    What affect do you predict the new upgrade packages will have in the pecking order James?

    1. James Allen says:

      Who knows? I hope Ferrari get in the fight, that would make for some great races

  3. James W says:

    Doesnt appear to be any sign of Hamilton Snr though… Are Lewis and Anthony not on talking terms at the moment? Was he otherwise occupied?

    Manager or not, it would have been a nice touch to see Anthony Hamilton in this picture.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not been to a race this year

      1. James W says:

        I did notice that too. I know that the Hamilton’s appeared to have a little coming together at the start of the season, but it seems odd that they havent been seen together this year…

      2. Freespeech says:

        All’s not well there. Me think Lewis’s father has the hump and behind the scenes there’s quiet a rift between them which makes Lewis’s driving this year even more remarkable.

      3. BiggusJimmus says:

        He said he wanted to do other things, so I guess he is doing them.
        Great to see Button holding his own considering the derision that greeted his move to McL.

      4. Tony says:

        Wonderful news for McLaren & us fans. It’s great to see such a happy team. Well deserved

        However, I can’t help but feel a touch of sadness for Lewis. Twice now after the races he has reached out to his family on air thanking them. It seems, to me at least, to be very telling about the lack of communication between them. Hopefully we’ll see them st Silverstone.

        Anyway, congrats again McLaren.

  4. Howard Hughes says:

    Cool pic, cool post.

  5. Ryan W. says:

    Great piece. What struck me the most in Canada, was when Jenson ran up to Hamilton in the pits after and hugged him, then they did the same again on the podium. It’s really nice to see such harmony within a team, despite the drivers being fierce competitors at the top of the table.

    The Webber/Vettel situation in Turkey has caused some upset and disagreement within the Red Bull team. Such an atmosphere can be hugely de-motivating. Ferrari on the other-hand seem to be getting on well, but the fact Alonso is beating Massa again and again, has created some tension.

    The ball is truly rolling in McLaren’s court. If they can avoid any upset (the Turkish upset seems to have past easily), then they will become unstoppable this season.

    1. James Allen says:

      The way they related to each other in the unilateral room after the podium was the same. As some have said, would be interesting to see if the dynamic was the same if the order was reversed.

      1. Jeremy says:

        James,

        I can’t help but think Jenson feels the need to be that father figure to Lewis. Jenson has pushed on through a tough career thus far and finally made it and finally landed a seat for a top team. They know both signed for at least the next 3 years and I imagine they want to keep up the momentum of winning and securing the championships. They are smart enough to realize someone needs to win but if they can continue top 3 finishes, they are both contributing 100% to the team and they can be comfortable with their contribution and performances. By now, I expect Lewis has realized that he and Jenson are very evenly matched and he hasn’t been able to “blow him out of the water” as most of the media suspected.

      2. Kel says:

        Agreed, behind the smile of Button you see he is very uncomfortable about the way Hamilton is outperforming him.

        It is an act, be it in front of the cameras or behind closed doors. Which is by the way, the right way to do it obviously.

        Same with Hamilton, when Button won 2 races he still kept up his usual smile and compliments.

      3. Phil says:

        Reply to Kel:

        Personally, I don’t think Button is uncomfortable. I think right now he’s probably happy that he chose the right team to go to, and that he is showing that he was underrated by being competitive with Lewis. Note, I’m a Lewis fan and still for sure think that Lewis has the edge, but Jenson has definitely proven he isn’t the pushover that people thought he was.

      4. BeenDun says:

        Kel Lewis is not outperforming Lewis is any way. He has a little momentum at the moment. That’s it. How can you claim to know what’s behind the smile of a person you don’t even know?

      5. DC says:

        Interesting, but then Jenson is under less pressure. nobody gave him a hope against the young super charge of Lewis, yet he is more than hanging in there, he is doing very well…although I sense Lewis is starting to find his stride…

        But if the roles where reversed then Lewis would feel more pressure because we’ve always expected him to be in front. If Jenson runs him a close second we’ll all congratulate Jenson…if Lewis runs Jenson a close second we’d all be wondering what went wrong…

        although, when Jenson was winning at the start of the year, Lewis was pretty calm about it and was enjoying his racing. He has given us some amazing entertainment, more than anyone else on the grid I would argue.

        I hope they continue in this vain, i’m not interested in internal team politics, i’d much rather see them race and congratulate each other afterwards whomever finishes in front…must be the old English gent in me!

      6. Phil says:

        Lewis has shown some real psychological strength this season. He hasn’t, not even a bit, let Jenson’s initial points advantage, or little bad luck get to him.

        Any time he has problems he just seems to redouble his efforts. To be honest, I think that this is one of the areas where he’s stronger than Jenson – just sheer bloody minded competitiveness.

      7. malcolm.strachan says:

        True; it could be down to Button having more experience being the slower of the two teammates, and accepting that he’s not always going to be the fastest of the two drivers. Button also has the experience of being disregarded by many, only to prove them wrong by winning a championship and then competing strongly with Hamilton.

        On the other hand, Hamilton has been on par with Alonso and ahead of Kovalainen during the whole of his career; he has never had a season where he was resoundingly beaten. I believe this likely makes each loss to Button that much harder on him, much like how Button’s early losses to Fisichella must have been heart-breaking for him.

      8. Phil says:

        Think you’re underestimating Lewis’s mental strength, which I believe is one of his biggest competitive advantages. If he is ever beaten he doesn’t spend his time anxiously naval gazing but instead focuses his energies on redoubling his efforts, and analyzing ways of improving. This is exactly what he did in his first year with Alonso; after Alonso had beaten Lewis a couple of times midseason on the row, Lewis went back to the factory and worked out where he was losing time to Alonso. He’s one determined kid.

      9. Freespeech says:

        Team-mates can get on even when they’re both winners, Senna never had a problem with Berger did he?
        Problems occur when team-mates are too close to each other as we see at Redbull, I think Jenson knows he’s not as fast as Hamilton lust like Massa knows he’s not as fast as Alonso.
        Jenson will win races when Hamilton has a problem but all things being equal I don’t believe he will, Vettels problem is Webber’s raised his game to the same level as Vettel and there’s bound to be more sparks there during the season.

      10. Trent says:

        There actually was a bit of friction between Senna and Berger in early 1990. I remember Berger wouldn’t stand with Senna for a photo at the Monaco GP dinner.

        Obviously, they got past that – but I think it was partly due to Berger’s realisation that, day in day out, he was not a match for Senna.

        When two guys think they are the best – there is almost always going to be trouble brewing!

      11. C Pitter says:

        Yet another antagonistic comment. Hamilton was full of hugs and praise after both Button’s wins or have you forgotten?

        Oh how I would love a British F1 journalist with just a modicum of praise and affection for Hamilton.

      12. Andrew says:

        Are you serious?? Lewis is one of the most highly praised and promoted drivers of all time by the British journos, to the point where to many of us in other parts of the world it has become very tiresome!

      13. Gregz0r says:

        Agreed. A sensational British one-two, and some of the major British journos on Twitter would rather talk up a win a few hours earlier by some non-descript Germans at Le Mans. Hindhaugh was still beating the ‘there’s no overtaking in F1′ drum… He’s not not with the times, and he wasn’t the only culprit.

    2. Steven says:

      I think Lewis knows that Jenson still hasnt beaten him on a regular race, both times Jenson won he did so because of changing conditions and taking a gamble, but on outright pace on a dry race he has Jenson beat. I really hope there’s no team orders, favoring Lewis, I hope McLaren are letting them run their race.

      1. James says:

        I think Jenson has considerable maturity, and possibly understands Lewis better than Lewis understands himself. He knows Hamilton is very quick, he also will know he can stay with him, and beat him. If Lewis has been petulant, Jenson’s met it with calm (I’m thinking of Turkey.)

        Button knows his strengths and weaknesses. This is important, most drivers are egoists and are not aware of their limitations. He makes be think of JYS in his attitude; very measured and precise, and with genuine affection for others, even competitors whom he may not be keen on. He could wind up Lewis if he wanted to, perhaps to an advantage but I don’t think that is his style.

  6. chetz says:

    could well be the picture when the season ends!

  7. Richard says:

    Bruce would be proud.

  8. Sean says:

    James,

    I am a fan from Singapore. Great blog you have here which I found by chance before the season started and I love it to bits.

    Great performance by Hamilton and Button and I have to say that you can see the maturity from Hamilton’s drive on Sunday which I am really pleased to see.

    A couple of questions for you James:

    Though Mclaren have improved and lead both tables now, we all know Red Bull is still ahead of Mclaren in terms of qualifying pace. And with news that Ferrari is bringing in huge updates to Valencia which is said to give an advantage of 0.7s (which incidentaly is roughly the gap between Red Bull and Ferrari), do you think the Mclaren’s version of exhaust blown rear wing that they are bringing to Silverstone is enough to stay ahead of Ferrari and overtake Red Bull especially with the momentum they have right now?

    Alonso has said that with this exhaust blown rear wing, it opens up other avenues for development and with Mclaren’s strength in developing the car during the season, does this give Mclaren a great chance to pull away at the top of both tables especially when the other teams have yet to come to grips with the F-duct while the other teams including Mclaren seem are starting to understand what is making Red Bull so fast?

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question and I think everyone wants an answer to that! It will move around I think, between teams

  9. JR says:

    It’s a pity Lewis’s dad is not there as well to share the glory that he gave everything for for so many years (or have I missed him amongst all the faces?). What’s the story, James?

    I guess at his young age having your dad always around is a bit of a millstone round your neck. Maybe in time he’ll become more relaxed and learn a lesson from Jenson.

    1. Simon R says:

      It’s very intersting and having known Anthony in a business context outside F1 (he ran a company providing IT services to hedge funds amongst others) he’s very much an all or nothing kind of guy. If you’re with him, very generous and helpful, but as soon as a relationship is perceived to have broken down, very much a cold shoulder. I’m sure he’s enjoying having his life back after a crazy few years and who can fault him. But 100% behind Lewis I have no doubt. He’s poured his life into this success and he deserves to enjoy it as he sees fit. Good luck to them, and great to see Lewis on his own. We all have to do it sometime.

  10. Allan says:

    Great Post!

    Although I am a real Hamilton fan, I like Jenson too. I am impressed with how he has got on at McLaren and he has surpassed my expectations. I must admit I was one of those who thought his move to McLaren was verging on being foolhardy and I expected to see him look like an also-ran next to Lewis. Although I still think Lewis has the advantage on absolute pace, Jenson has maximized everything available to him and has become a very valuable team driver. To think that most (me included) had figured he would be better off at Merceded. Wow… how wrong I was.

    1. malcolm.strachan says:

      I am in the same boat as you. I thought it was a big mistake by Button, but he sure has proved himself!

    2. Banjo says:

      I too was worried Button might have made a big mistake moving to McLaren. I’m relieved – and pleased to say it is turning out to be “the dream team” it was marketed as before the season began.

  11. Zobra Wambleska says:

    I think this “new” McLaren has settled Lewis as well. He doesn’t seem quite so frantic and he certainly has matured, and is driving better than ever with a confidence he doesn’t have to reinforce with words. Button coming into this team has been a major plus for everyone.

  12. Adrian says:

    You know, I was never a McLaren fan back in the late 90′s despite liking DC. Now, they’re my favourite team AND they have my 2 favourite drivers (JB is my single favourite only because he’s been in the sport longer) driving for them and like the new attitude to racing them seem to have.

    Here’s hoping they manage this year what they just missed out on in 2007 and 2008…the double!!

  13. roman m says:

    Hmmm, when Rubens finished 2 seconds behind Schumacher, everyone said he was his lap dog. But since Button is a fav. everything is just fine.

    1. mike says:

      Unfortunately Rubens was not allowed to “race” his “team mate” so he might as well have been an hour behind.

    2. Tombstone says:

      Poor analysis of the respective situations. Barichello had to finish behind Schumacher, even on the occasions when he was quicker. It’s clear that Button and Hamilton are free to race. THAT is what gives McLaren more class than ferrari could even dream about.

    3. Coops says:

      The difference is Jenson was 2 secs behind Lewis at the end of the race wheras Rubens was normally around 2 secs a lap slower than Schumi :-)

    4. malcolm.strachan says:

      Well, the key difference is that Rubens was repeatedly told to pull over and let Michael by.

      I also happen to think that Rubens is far more talented than most believe; he was almost always on pace with Michael, and the same went for him against Button. If he was in other pairings, I could definitely see him out-driving most other drivers on the grid in the same car.

    5. Philip T says:

      Difference is team orders… see Austria 2002 for details!

      Not only was Barrichello not allowed to get the run on Schumacher as Jenson did on Lewis in Turkey (if only leading briefly), but Rubens and Eddie Irvine before him were forced to hand over winning positions on Schumacher’s say so. Your comment has nothing to do with Rubens undoubted talent but rather with the way two teams of different eras were run.

    6. For Sure says:

      Well you guys obviously have some issues with your memory and a bit of common sense.
      It doesn’t matter what the team orders like there were a LOT of times where Rubens lapped half a second to a full second slower than his teammate which made him finish a few positions behind him.
      I am sure the team didn’t “ask” him to drive that slow finishes a few places behind.
      (X number of times Rubens was slower than MS > 10 * X number of times Rubens pulled over)
      simple enough?

      Oh and for the record the only reason why Jenson was so close is because Lewis was crusing. At one point towards the end of the race, Lewis did responded Jenson’s lap times by
      going like a second faster, he made his point and he cruised.

  14. Mike Spurway says:

    Not to put to much of damper on it, but its nice to see the support Jenson gives Lewis when he wins. – Pity Lewis didnt do the same for Jenson in Australia (No show at team pic) and the only one not to wear an orange winners shirt to celebrate in China. For such an exciting driver lets hope he is more of a team player when Jenson wins next time.

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      Is there anything Lewis can do right without being referenced to Button – first, he has matured because of Button and now there is team harmony because of Button? This rivalization of Lewis and Button is getting rather tiring. If Lewis is driving better and maturer there is also the reason that he is now in his fourth year in F1 ie experience? Button won two races ahead of Lewis earlier in the season – if Lewis was no team player we could have seen toys flying out of prams – but what have we seen instead? It was Button who has come out as the favoured driver at McLaren – what a paradox.

      For me, i say let them race – stop looking for rivalism where non makes sense.

      1. C Pitter says:

        I agree – very poor comment by Mike Spurway. But then what do you expect when the BBC commentators and even James Alloen are baiting this very supposition. After winning in Australia when the BBC were having their revolting Button love-in, one of them asked Button if Lewis had congratulated him, to be told that he was the first to do so. There are pictures of Lewis hugging Button after that race, but why let facts get in the way of ridiculous Hamilton-criticism.

        I don’t blame Hamilton for making a quick exit though after the Australia – his team had stuffed up a likely 2nd place by calling him in for an unnecessary pit stop. Hamilton has had to work harder than Button for his points this season due to mistake after mistake after miscommunication after slow pit stop by the McLaren team.

    2. Phil says:

      Sorry, but I thinks that’s emotional garbage based on dislike of Lewis rather than anything he has done.

      As far as not wearing the orange shirt, it is my understanding that Lewis had only just got back from being interviewed by the stewards for the Vettel/Hamilton pit lane incident (remember the one??. So, he wasn’t ‘refusing’ to wear the orange top in some weird attempt to piss off Jenson.

      Frankly, I think your whole comment is a pathetic dig at Hamilton and is completely absent of any facts. You do realize that Lewis warmly congratulated Jenson on both occasions???

      There’s plenty of pictures to back this up if you wanted to look rather than just make unsubstantiated allegations that show more about your dislike of Hamilton than anything about Lewis himself.

    3. JH says:

      Re: Mike Spurway

      Mike, AFAIK Lewis was not in the Rocket Red in China because he had just returned from the Steward (about his incident in the pit lane with Vettel)..

  15. Nash says:

    It’s great to see how a good job Martin is doing. Let’s remember that this guy one year ago was ready to quit in the wake of all the trouble last year (slow car, liegate etc)

    Good to see Lewis being much focused now. He reminds me of the Lewis we saw against Fred in 2007.

    Jenson has established himself extremely well and is bringing in the big points if not wins, when Lewis does not get it together. Heikki just couldn’t do that last year.

    Great to see Ron back at races. The guy established the best racing outfit of the last 30 years, in professionality and management only eclipsed by Jean Todt’s Ferrari outfit

  16. John M says:

    Props to McLaren. They have put in the work to improve their car and now they’re reaping the rewards. The team and drivers seem to be on the same page. Who knows for sure what’s going on internally, but Lewis and Jenson appear to get along very well and not have any issues.

    If Red Bull do not win this years championships (driver and constructor) they will have to look back at a blown opportunity. Unlike Brawn last year, Red Bull has not been able to capitalize on its early season technical advantage. Reliability issues and immature driving have cost the team. With McLaren coming on strong and Ferarri still close, Red Bull may already have wasted their chance.

    1. Jeremy says:

      Deja vu for RBR. 2009 and 2010 if they give up the championship due to mistakes/reliabilty woes.

      sucks to be them.

  17. seisteve says:

    James, Exactly what I see in every interview. Lets not forget how much Jenson has changed over the last 2 years, everyone comments on his maturity as a person but not so much about the ‘mentoring’ that he is bringing to Hamilton.

    The challenge of beating Hamilton maybe too much for Jenson, but as a team McLaren would be nuts to split these guys anytime over the next 10 years.

    As always, great article.

  18. Tony Crowther says:

    And then look at Lewis’s dad Anthony… Oh that’s right you cant, he doesn’t come to races any more, times have indeed changed!!

  19. Rocket Red says:

    “…he had to be persuaded to take part in this picture”

    http://images.gpupdate.net/large/156466.jpg

    That picture tells a story too.

    1. jobseeker says:

      yeah your right good spot. Can u see the look on John Buttons face, plus the fact its in Whhitmarsh’ direction.

      1. Iceman says:

        @Jobseeker: Whitmarsh is standing in the last row if u see carefully, he is yet to take the position in front (Check above Lewis’ cap). John Button’s eyes are glued on the trophy ;) So your observation is incorrect buddy!

    2. Freespeech says:

      Brilliant, well spotted, the bond between them is clearly tangible and Jenson’s looking happy as well, fantastic team spirit I bet Mosley is squirming knowing Dennis is there with his winning team :!:

  20. richie599 says:

    I absolutely agree, it’s been an absolute revelation watching the transformation of McLaren this past 12 months. Despite being Britsh, I could never get behind the team in the past, always favouring a Ferrari or a Brawn or a Red Bull in recent years.

    I really like Ron Dennis but let’s be honest, it’s a much more open environment now. Their team social networking is perfect, the marketing side seems less overt, Martin Whitmarsh is ever the optimist and the open radio comms and telemetry on their wesbite is brilliant.

    Even Lewis appears to be relaxed and comfortable in the team for a change rather than desperate to win at any cost. But to me, it is Jenson’s incredibly confident and easy going attitude that has made the team gel together like this.

    One question though….when the time comes to nail the WDC who is actually going to win out?? Lewis almost crumbled twice, winning his by just one cornerne, whereas Jenson’s season unravelled from half-distance…

    To finish up, I’m enjoying the season immensely – I can’t wait to find out how this one turns out… :)

  21. tristan says:

    yeah, and 2 races ago we were all looking at photos of red bull principals jumping into monaco swimming pools, smiles all round…

  22. Matt says:

    I guess it’s an indication of his confidence and the fact he’s comfortable with his environment – but I was very surprised that Button was so vocal in stating he couldn’t touch Lewis’s qualifying lap.

    I realise he didn’t mean generally and that he intended to compliment Lewis for a job well done but saying you couldn’t have touched your team mates time seems a step too far.

    1. Phil says:

      I agree with you – it shows confidence. When a driver attempts to make excuses, that is what shows lack of confidence and defensive posture.

      I was impressed with two things in that interview – he (a) admitted that Lewis had put in an amazing qualifying performance and (b) indicated that he was going to increase his efforts on qualifying.

      What comes out of this is that he’s not getting down about it (which would be the case if he was trying to be defensive about it), but is dealing with it positively (i.e. “I’m going to work harder at that”). Impressive.

  23. Alam Z says:

    Great reading into the Picture james… I would agree the Whitmarch era has increased the harmoney.

    Jenson button in particular has grown and shown to be a racer in calibre and sportsman in attitude.

    Hamilton is also enjoying this as they are keeping each other very honest.

    Great team.

    *did anyone notice how awkward Ron was in Martin Brundle’s grid interview? Its amazing he has built this team at all. He has weird personality.

  24. Rich C says:

    and who are those two guys wearing hats, eh?

    1. KNF says:

      Guys who are, who were and will be World Champions…

  25. Simon H says:

    Cant put it better than that. Mclaren are the ones to beat this year now. They have the development inertia behind them. With 2 drivers that are on top of their game. I have to say that Button is the one that is impressing me most. He had a lot to lose by moving teams and has shown that he is more than worthy to be part of the team. Hamilton is just uber fast and i think is the most complete driver on the grid. Alonso included. I’m including the Mclaren team off the track as well. Both Hamilton and Button come across as a couple of decent blokes.

    I wonder if the spending cutbacks are hurting Ferrari more than the other top teams. I mean its not just just development skill now, its also married to spending constraints. Maybe this low budget (!!) ethic is against the grain for them. This could be the reason for keeping Massa.

  26. Denis says:

    Can’t believe I missed this… I was standing in front of the McLaren garage (behind the fence) for about 45 minutes after the race, watching the mechanics pack the gear, but didn’t expect any of the drivers or team principles to come out, so I left…

    Anyway, it was a great race, great atmosphere all around, and a great job McLaren!

  27. Frankie says:

    McLaren have got two drivers that can work together and overall I don’t think they could do any better. Although I feel Hamilton is a very special driver in comparison to anyone on the grid, Button brings something different to the team that Hamilton may not, allowing McLaren to cover all the bases. Hamilton was the star of Montreal, but Button was very sharp to take his chance when it came to him.

  28. CPR says:

    Kudos for Martin for bringing a more open and relaxed approach. It’s now almost like Christian Horner is the closed off and paranoid one…

    James, I agree with your analysis of Jenson and Lewis. It’s often more fun to do a “Jenson vs Lewis” analysis but right now I want to praise both of them. It’s quite a sight to see and if it can continue as the driver’s championship enters the end game, then it will be even more impressive.

    A bit by accident, McLaren may have hit upon a “dream team”. Here’s an interesting “what if” though – take away everything that happened in 2009 (as if it never happened), and would both drivers be the same now? I don’t think so – in different ways, 2009 seemed to have helped both to mature into more complete drivers.

    It will be fascinating to see how long it can last – I can’t help notice the example of Alonso: while it’s impressive how well he has managed to stay in the driver’s championship so far, he seems to have lost his old edge slightly.

    1. Banjo says:

      I completely agree about 2009 transforming both drivers. It gave Jenson the confidence and belief he needed in his own driver, where as with Hamilton – it reminded him why he got into racing in the first place. At the start of 2009 Hamilton hit rock bottom, and every time he was interviewed i felt for him. As the season progressed though i feel it was the first time we ever really saw his true personality. Silverstone, where he was chuffed to bits with coming 16th saying he had a great race. Since then, i feel he has become so much more comfortable with himself the media and as a result his racing.

      Had it not been for 2009, i feel neither driver would be as well rounded as they are today.

  29. Stephen says:

    It’s an interesting point you make James. Red Bull has a multiude of amazing parts: Car, Vettel, Webber, Newey – but McLaren have an Amazing team – and I think it will be hard to underestimate the influence Jenson has had.

    We have continually heard the words “calming” or “relaxed presence” and this effect can be seen in Hamilton.

    Compare Lewis to Australia last year, and to that point, compare Jenson to this time last year!

  30. Dave Roberts says:

    James,

    I think you are right to say that there appears a confidence in the Maclaren camp. I love their new website feature of following the cars and radio transmissions during the race and a new level of openness.

    I think Jenson has certainly brought a new dimension to the team which is benefiting even Lewis.

    In relation to Red Bull do you think there might be a worry that they will never have a better chance than this year to win a championship and they have squandered it? It would explain the apparent unease and frantic work.

    In the background there might be a bit of pressure because the team is considering a title sponsor and this might be the last chance to win under the RBR title.

    Dave R.

  31. Midnight Toper says:

    Jenson is proving what a great team player he is and harmony in the team is certainly better than politics and empire building. Had he made the move stick in Turkey I’m not convinced that all would be what it seems today.

    If Jenson were to win in Valencia it would be fascinating to see how much the team dynamic will change come Silverstone.

  32. Flintster says:

    I disagree with Ferrari having their work cut out….Next race again we will be challenging got the win.

    Enjoy it while it last McLaren…..

  33. neil m says:

    Hmmm, sounds ominous. The fact that Jenson and Lewis are able to delight in the others performance is down to Jenson I think. Lewis has grown from that and it enabled them both to shrug off the Turkey ‘miscommunication’ which could otherwise become an issue.

    However
    It is not yet mid season, there are tracks to suit RB and McL ahead and chance for 2 or 3 performance steps from each team before the year is out. McLaren will be tested again.

    Unless Ferrari show some big improvement they will have to settle for third, their driver pairing isn’t as strong, and neither is their car.

    Mercedes seem to have lost touch with the lead group, their driver pairing is turning into a nightmare. Their lead driver wasn’t on TV at all this weekend, or is that down to editors missing a story? And Schumacher was bad this weekend. Compare his banging and missing chicanes to guys at the front who recognised when they had lost a position and took a clean opportunity to pass, carbon intact.

    1. Harvey Yates says:

      I’m with you, Neil. It’s too early in the season to celebrate anything other than the fact that McL have got their act together after RD. Well done, Whitmarsh.

      And what a move by Mercedes. They bought the championship driver’s team, allowed him to go and then failed to develop the car. Could it get any worse?

      And just to prove it could, they also bought Schumacher.

      I have no doubt that the team will improve as time goes on but it is as if they learnt nothing from their extended period with McLaren. Very strange. One wonders what the board meetings are like at MercHQ.

      I like Dennis. I spoke with him at the Goodwood FoS, I think the first, when he was sitting in the first McLaren GP car. He was extremely pleasant, spoke warmly and his enthusiasm was so obvious that you couldn’t help but warm to him. Not a bit like his TV presence. I wonder what face he showed Merc.

      I’m a big McLaren fan and I assumed things would become difficult without RD at the helm. How wrong can you be? In my defence, Whitmarsh seems too pleasant a chap to be a team manager. He’s almost normal. Name another one.

      But even smitten as I am with them I’ve got to admit to being a bit nervous. There’s plenty of time to go yet.

      But I don’t believe Ferrari will improve by 0.7 seconds a lap by the end of the season, let alone Valencia. And RBR seems to have lost its way. Whilst the other teams have improved, Renault have surprised me, I don’t see them challenging the big three.

      A fascinating season.

  34. Milton says:

    This is, in the moment, pretty much the F1 dream team: excellent mechanics, engineers, and two of the best drivers.

  35. Kyle H says:

    I just wish the British fans at large would hold synonymy with this image and be united in support of BOTH of the exceptional drivers at Mclaren right now.

    Instead, for the most part we have two distinct groups with some obscure sense of bitter rivalry between them, taking every opportunity to big up their single favoured driver whilst simultaneously seeking to discredit the other in any way possible.

    1. Tombstone says:

      I, for one, am first and foremost a McLaren fan. That they have such a talented and all-British driver pairing is of course a bonus, but my loyalties have always – for 36 years – been with the team. Long may it continue though, I think the team as it stands could rewrite the record books.

    2. Liam says:

      This annoys me as well. Although I have to say I don’t often see Button fans putting Hamilton down, it’s always the other way round.

      I put it down to lack of F1 knowledge… People conveniently forget just how quick Button has been throughout his career – If the setup isn’t right, he’s generally slow but when the car’s good he’s a match for Lewis or any other driver on the grid and always has been!

      These two make the perfect team… If Lewis isn’t there for whatever reason Jenson has what it takes to do the job… If he keeps coming second to Lewis that means he is quite capable of winnning if Lewis isn’t and that’s awesome for the team.

      I do think that if one of them takes the WDC this year it will be Lewis as he’s just that bit faster but for anyone to dismiss Jenson is stupid.

  36. FemiA says:

    Nice piece James and as a Mclaren fan, I say amen to that.

  37. Lopek says:

    I love the way McLaren dress up in Ferrari red after every victory, a great tribute to the ultimate winning team! :)

    In all seriousness I am massively impressed by McLaren this season, they are now my favourites for the title, and will not be surprised if Hamilton and Button end up 1-2 standings come the end.

    As James said, they look completely in control and last season demonstrated their amazing ability to develop a car over a season.

    Red Bull on the other hand have completely blown the start of this season, and squandered the quickest car in a way I can not recall seeing before. Reliability, strategy, accidents, PR… you name it, they have screwed it up.

    I think that Red Bull’s only chance is if McLaren go down a development blind alley and waste a few races getting back on track – and I’ll be shocked if it happens.

    Martin Whitmarsh deserves huge credit for changing the public face of McLaren. I could never imagine being a McLaren fan in the Ron Dennis past and frankly could not understand people who did support them. Now, while I remain a dedicated Ferrari man, I am constantly impressed with McLaren’s dealing with the media
    and fans alike.

    1. Phil says:

      Can you imagine the atmosphere at Red Bull at the end of the season, if they yet again fail to win a championship basically because they seem completely incapable of building a *reliable* car??

      You can’t go squandering an advantage like they’ve had beginning of the season and expect to win in F1.

      Not only that, but we’re a good way through the season and they *still* haven’t gotten on top of their reliability problems!! That’s probably the most ominous thing of all.

      And by the looks of things, now both Ferrari and Mclaren will soon be introducing their version of the main speed advantage of the Red Bull (the ‘blown diffuser’).

      Here’s a prediction – by the end of the year, the constructors championship will be won by Mclaren, and Ferrari will (provided Felipe can get his act together) have also passed Red Bull.

      WDC my bet is Lewis to win, though I think it’ll be close between him and Alonso, and Jenson will be close as well. But, right now, I’d bet 1) Lewis, 2) Alonso, 3) Jenson.

      Whole reasoning for the above is that if Red Bull still can’t produce a reliable car at point when Ferrari and Mclaren are bearing down on them (performance wise) they don’t have a hope in hell of winning either championship.

  38. vivek shetty says:

    That is so true James. Martin has brought about so much change and to any fan who follows McLaren closely, it is so clearly noticeable. They no longer the tight upper lipped team as they were under Ron.

    1. Femi Akinz says:

      The trade-off though is slack execution of things like pit stops which would not happen so often on Rons watch.

      However, kudos to Martin

  39. monktonnik says:

    Interesting piece James. What do you mean when you say that Button has brought engineering sense to the team?

    I thought that Button struggled with a car that wasn’t to his liking, and on the evidence of last year (and some of the races this year) he struggles to get the car dialled in and set up more than many other drivers.

    1. James Allen says:

      ..from the cockpit

      1. CH1UNDA says:

        I hope this does not mean that its now Button’s turn to have brought 0.7 seconds to the car because we know who was struggling with a dog of a McLaren all 2009 while the reigning champ was breezing to the title. There is no way you can attribute the performance of the 2010 McLaren to Jenson Button even in the most twisted perverted Jenson-blinkered bias and i am sure that is not what you are doing James.

    2. malcolm.strachan says:

      Engineering a car and setting up a car are two different things. Knowing what engineering changes need to be made to the car falls in a different domain than “I need two clicks of bump on the rear dampers”.

      Beyond that, the engineer-driver relationship is huge. If the driver and engineer can’t communicate effectively, then it is very difficult to understand what needs to be changed and by how much. What you read may have been from the opinion of a prior engineer that didn’t work well with Button, but in the last two or three years at Honda, Brawn and Mercedes, he’s shown how well he can work if given the right team to work with.

      1. CH1UNDA says:

        2010 McLaren engineering gains due to Jenson Button – very minimal if not nil.

  40. Henry says:

    Very nice picture, thats one very happy team! one way to wipe away any issues from turkey (driver battles, nothing else) and really cement the engineers hard work on the car, winning a supremely exciting race with style.

  41. Warwick says:

    Jenson’s maturity has been shown over and over this year – it seems that he has been a major boost to the driver team at McLaren, ceeating some stability and balance. Plus, I think he can safely say he made the right choice this past winter to move teams. He knew more than anybody how he could match up with Hamilton in equal cars, and it showed amazing self-awareness and confidence to the put it to the test. He must be very happy.

  42. Chris says:

    Very good article James.
    I am very impressed with the performances of McLaren and Jenson/Lewis on and off the track this season so far, like you say very confident and determined in all aspects.
    I must admit to never really being a Lewis fan but this season he has stepped up incredibly in his maturity and behaviour. It seems him and Jenson really have gelled as team mates and them both with the new style team – I now have the up most respect for him.

    With a platform as solid as this it can only reinforce driver performances on the track and strategic decisions on the pit wall. I feel this could be McLaren back to their best.

  43. Michael says:

    Absolutely spot on! Jenson, even if he doesn’t win a WDC this, he will certainly bring a Constructors if this keeps up. He is making Lewis a better racer as well, by pushing him. Lewis never really looked after a car, but now he is. With today’s rules of limited numbers of engines, gearbox changes, slick tire options, you have to do more than just be fast and he’s learning from the smoothest there is.

    1. Tombstone says:

      I’m not sure many McLaren car failures can be laid at Hamilton’s door. Raikkonen, on the other hand…

      1. Michael says:

        You have a short memory, mate. Last year Lewis threw away a 3rd place trying to chase down Jenson for 2nd. No way he was gonna catch him and he should have settled for the 3rd place points. You won’t see Lewis doing that anymore. Lewis even stated this year after watching Jenson’s two victories, he needs to look after the equipment better.

      2. Tombstone says:

        Well, ‘mate’, point out where I said “none”. You can’t, I said “not sure many…”.

        Find the English language tricky?

        My comment stands, unlike your riposte.

      3. Michael says:

        Well, since you brought that up, perhaps you should re-read my original post and what part of “looking after the car” equates to “car failures.” Why respond at all. A mechanical failure in racing is always the result of either the manufacturing process, assembly, or out of spec material or part. If you’re to respond to my post there with something completely unrelated, maybe it is you that finds the English language tricky, as you say….subpar reading comprehension.

        If not, then your knowledge of F1 is poor at best, since any average bloke that follows F1 IMMEDIATELY knows “looking after a car” is to try to preserve tires so they last longer for a stint, picking your spots on track to battle the opposition, and if you’re locked in a place with no chance to advance and improve position, to pace yourself and preserve one of your 8 engines for the year….none of which is related to mechanical failure.

  44. Spencer says:

    viva Mclaren…… I’m loving this season

  45. yumbaa says:

    Rumour has it from within Mclarenm circles that Ron Dennis came to this Grand Prix after some complaints to him by some Lewis associates about some questionable events which have gone against him favouring Button. It’s believed that Ron was there to pacify the situation especially that Hamilton Sr is no longer there to watch his back. Interesting!

    1. C Pitter says:

      I thought that too. Lewis needs someone with power in his corner as it seems Whitmarsh favours Button and there have been some odd decisions and communications and poor pitstops hindering Lewis.

    2. CH1UNDA says:

      It should be dissappointing of Whitmarsh, but not surprising, if this is true. However, that is the feeling you got seeing Ron in the garage especially so soon after the controversial Turkey and taking into consideration that he has not been coming to races that often.

      One wonders – would McLaren be more of a WDC/WCC contender with Jenson without Lewis or the other way round? Of course we know so long as both race like they did in Montreal McLaren is better off, but if it came down to choosing between the two (and its gonna come down to that in the future eventually) McLaren needs to know who they would like to see staying at the team.

  46. mark edwards says:

    Key point for me is tha Jenson joins in the Lewis victory, when Jenso won in oz and china lewis could not bring himself to wear the victory shirt.

    Fair play Jenson you are a big man, Lewis might love to hate Jenson but he can’t becuase he’s so clever at being a team player. Jenson is finishing second when Lewis wins, Lewis better make sure he does the same when jenson wins!

    1. Marcello says:

      What makes you think Button will again win a race this season? As far as I can see Lewis has got Button under control, the only way Button is going to Beat Lewis again this season will be through foul play, watch.

      1. JB says:

        …or if he drives a better race than Lewis, or if it rains. Watch.

      2. tamzed ashraf says:

        Oh the look on your faces when Button does win again.

        Winning is winning , dosent matter how you do it . Strategy , right tyre choices , looking after the car … all matters in the end.

      3. Mark edwards says:

        The key phrase in your reply to my post is “as far as I can see”. Clearly not far at all!!!

    2. Phil says:

      Christ! This is the second stupid comment I’ve seen on this. Why exactly do you think Lewis would ‘refuse’ to wear the orange shirt? And on what basis do you make the assertion?

      Here’s a repost where I addressed this:

      “As far as not wearing the orange shirt, it is my understanding that Lewis had only just got back from being interviewed by the stewards for the Vettel/Hamilton pit lane incident (remember the one??. So, he wasn’t ‘refusing’ to wear the orange top in some weird attempt to piss off Jenson.”

      1. mark edwards says:

        http://www.autosport.com/gallery/photo.php/id/13247929

        Australian GP 2010

        Lets play where’s Lewis!

      2. Phil says:

        And do you know why he’s not there? I don’t. And, I don’t think you do.

        The difference is you’re the one jumping to conclusions. Says more about you than about Lewis.

    3. djones says:

      James,why do people make out Lewis does not join in Jenson’s victory.I seem to remember he had to go to the stewards after the Vettel incident in the pitlane.Great article though James.Keep up the fantastic work.

  47. Michael says:

    I have no information on so this is pure speculation on my part… I think Hamilton Snr was the reason why Lewis and Nicole parted ways (probably wanted lewis to focus on racing) and now that Hamilton Snr is no longer part of Lewis’ management team and no longer at the races… you suddenly see Nicole back in the picture.

  48. tkay says:

    @ Michael…its true that JB is pushin Lewis and bringin out the best in him, but why does he have to get most of the credit for lewis’ current form?…..the 2010 regulations ARE making lewis look after the car and tyres…NOT JB!!!

    1. Michael says:

      You too have a short memory. Check some articles early in the year….Lewis himself stated he needed to be more like JB. I rest my case.

      1. CH1UNDA says:

        The likeliest truth is that it is a mix of both plus the fact that now in his 4th year in F1 and having spent the whole of 2009 in a bad car, Lewis is now more experienced and mature by 4 years – if you dont think 4 years is much, look at the difference between a 1 month baby and a four year old, or an 18 year old and a 22 year old or a 37 year old and a 41 year old etc

  49. henry says:

    You really mean Jenson Button brought “calmness, engineering sense, racing intelligence and above all though he is scoring big points every race” to which team? mclaren? do you really know the racing team you are talking about? one of the most successful racing team in the world! No…he brought them F-duct, vodafone, made Lewis hamilton (he can’t match in anything) win 2008 WDC. Are you really talking about Jenson button who can’t match his younger team-mate in qualifying, upto 4-6 tenth slower than his team-mate, can’t overtake, only won because of tyre gamble? i just can’t stop laughting.

    1. Michael says:

      Saw JB keep Vettel (the supposed fastest man on grid with the fastest car) at bay for a huge stint on his way to 2nd. Saw Jenson pass Alonso…a 2x WDC as well. You’re just a hater. JB will be in the title hunt all year…get used to it Lewis fans. Get. Used. To. It.

      1. CH1UNDA says:

        its not JBs competetiveness being questioned here – it is the the statement that he brought engineering sense. really? McLaren had the best engineering comeback reputation prior to JB so he cant be responsible for that. The 2010 car is based on the experiences of the 2009 car, which was being driven by Lewis at the time JB was driving a Brawn. So he can’t be responsible for that either. What engineering sense one wonders? He definitely didn’t bring the F-duct either: otherewise then what would you attribute to Lowe and his group? And we know the blown diffuser coming up is being copied from Red Bull … well …

    2. C Pitter says:

      I know. Lewis is driving brilliantly this year and yet Button somehow gets the credit for it. Beyond unbelievable!

      1. CH1UNDA says:

        totally crazy :)) if not laughable

    3. darren says:

      you are on glue, Jenson is doing a fine job, indeed can we say better the Alonso when he was a Mc

  50. Freespeech says:

    Great photo and great to see Dennis in it, real shame Lewis’s father can’t support his son like Jenson’s, there’s a big story there I think.
    The way McLaren have pulled together showing us yet again how they develop the car better than others and without a doubt Jenson has added to the team and in my opinion improved as a driver, especially as a racer which is what most F1 fans want to see.
    The problem for McLaren as I see it is it won’t be long before Ferrari put all there resource behind Alonso and that could make all the difference to whom becomes F1 champion in 2010, how will the FIA and Todt handle that one James?

  51. C Pitter says:

    More exclusive ludicrous praise for Button with zero for a extraordinarily great drive from Hamilton. Never mind, most of us know what we saw and that was intelligence, skill and speed from Hamilton and well may it continue.

  52. Nando says:

    Are there any good, hopefully objective, books about the relationship between Mosely and Dennis?

  53. Calixto says:

    It tells me they are a few steps away from dominance, but not a single step ahead of over confidence and arrogance. It also tells me they are as happy the F1 allows you to be.

    Fingers crossed we’ll get more pictures like this.

  54. Carlos says:

    I think the “new” McLaren would’ve been a better fit for Alonso. It’s too bad.

  55. Mark SYD says:

    James – Was it just me of did Lewis & Jenson look a bit bemused at the dissapearance of their interview desk after the race and were joking around with regards to their “interview jackets”?

    Good to see the drivers on stools again, just like in 1993 =)

  56. Darren says:

    Have been thinking about the situation with Button at McLaren.
    Alonso V Hamilton at McLaren = Alonso blown away by a rookie …fact
    kovalainen V Hamilton at McLaren=kovalainen destroyed by Hamilton
    Button V Hamilton at McLaren= Button pushing Hamilton every race lap

    Very impressed with Button, I believe Lewis is a better racer for having Button in the team.

    1. Matthew says:

      I think Button has had more effect on Hamilton than just his driving. Button has a very calm demeanor (even when angry), highly juxtaposed by Hamilton questioning the team during the race in Australia (as one example). I think Lewis is taking some cues as I am sure he sees how the team has been very response to Button since his arrival.

    2. AlexD says:

      Yes, very objective…Alonso blown away and Button is pushing:-)

  57. Oliver N says:

    A nice angle for your story, and a point well worth making.

    McLaren has always (at least from Ron Dennis onwards) been a byword for efficiency not only in Motorsport but as the very model of an ultra successful small business, all done in a very British way, success was noted not with wild celebrations, but with a quiet nod as a job well done. Setbacks were never met with hysteria, but viewed as an opportunity to learn and grow stronger, and rarely was the same mistake ever repeated.

    To quote Kipling “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same;…..Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!’

    It’s interesting to note that with Whitmarsh at the wheel they seem to have lost none of the efficiency while actually looking like they are enjoying what they are doing, great for them, great for the sponsors.

    I see them growing in strength for the rest of the season while the competition begin to panic.

    Kipling again.

    IF you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs…

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      “Kipling again.

      IF you can keep your head when all about you
      Are losing theirs…” – was a favorite quote of my Principal in high school but sensibly one of the obvious things you can use to gain competitive advantage when it is dificult to differentiate a product

  58. alizain says:

    as a mclaren fan and a lewis fan, i really hope that lewis can show the same support and encouragement that button has. a true testament to lewis’ growth would be if he showed the same love for button if he was outclassed by button all weekend. i really hope these two continue this way for many years because mclaren is now truly in perfect position to dominate for the rest of the season.

  59. BMG says:

    A very good article, Mclaren was the best team this weekend, they were the best team a fortnight ago by default.

    I think Redbull have some people in the back ground causing problems for them, but they were very quiet last weekend so lets hope they are under control now. To be fair to Redbull they were more competative than I expected and the team seems pretty happy with their result. I wonder if the controversy from Turkey had caused some disruptions to their prepareation?

    Im not to sure about Ferrari They have strait line speed and arguably the best driver in the championship in Alonso.I think you need to look at Massa’s recent results to get a real handle on the car performance.

    Mercedes/ Brawn, well I’m not sure if they will make much of a fist of things this year. Schumarcher looked frustrated and clearly had no answer to the lack of pace.

    Renault, I think they will continue to improve they seem to have 2 very good drivers that they can build the team around,if Redbull don’t get their act together that’s the team I will follow next year.

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      Renault – very impressive. Its a good thing that they have lifted their game after the scandals of 2009. I always felt they didnt need Flavio that much. Happens they didnt need him at all!

  60. Peter says:

    Great article. There’s something about this McLaren team which is so incredibly strong with two world class drivers and is highlighting the shortcomings of Ferrari and Red Bull. Button and Hamilton could be a devastating era.

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      Let’s not get carried away. So far McLaren have started off on the wrong foot two seasons in a row though worse in 2009 than 2010 so they are not that dorminant. Their engineering is good but not miles ahead. Lowe is yet to establish himself as a genius on this front. Without engineering brilliance, one can’t claim to be dorminant in Formula 1 regadless of the quality of its drivers.

      Besides the team is not really that gelled – the strategy calls have been questionable on occasion (Singapore) as have been pitstop performances. If the Red Bull were as bullet proof as its competitors McLaren would be a ways back. Who says they can’t fix their reliability gremlins before the year end? Ferrari could also come back on the development front. So far it has been more noise on their part than action but only a fool can assume the Italian side will not catch up soon. If they do, they also have a very determined pair of drivers – Alonso particularly is vey hardy.

      McLaren are in a good place right now but far from being dorminant.

  61. Brian says:

    Didn’t Lewis have to go to the stewards in China along with Vettel that’s why he didn’t have time to get the vicory shirt on.

  62. Dorian says:

    @ Darren, you need you head read mate. Hamilton did not blow Alonso away in ’07! They got the same number of wins and same number of points. All 2007 proved was how much of a talent Hamilton is as did 2008, 2009 and 2010. It always re-inforced how talented Alonso is. In no way did it prove that either driver was better than the other!!

    But I do agree with your last comment, Button has been impressive, as has Hamilton.

    1. kbdavies says:

      “Button has been impressive, as has Hamilton.”

      The comment gives the impression both drivers have been “equally” impressing. i.e, none more impressive than the other (this is how i read he comment). If correct, then the opinion is clearly wrong.

      It seems people, esp British fans are loathe to say Lewis has driven much better than Jenson this year. Whilst Jenson has been good, Lewis has been MUCH better. Why cant they acknowledge this? Consistently having between 2/10ths – 4/10ths over your team mate does not constitute “evenly matched” – A phrase that seems to be over used when describing the Lewis/Jenson situation so far.

      I mean, if we can argue whether Lewis “blew” Alonso away in his rookie year, then we can conclude that he has comprehensively “destroyed” Button, based on the statistics so far. This year, Lewis has out performed Jenson on every single statistic you care to measure, except race wins – on which they are tied. And if we both drivers DNF’s into account(Lewis – 1, Jenson – 1), both through no fault of theirs, then Lewis would be leading the championship with a much bigger gap.

      Why we we just call a spade a spade. Jenson has been good this year, and performed against expectations – but he is NOT evenly matched against Lewis.

  63. George Strysky says:

    Has everyone forgotten the season so far for Hamilton? His sense of entitlement, frantic drives, arguing with the team over the team radio, and the questionable way he assumed pole (running his fuel down too low) here in Montreal? A good drive is a good drive but he has a lot to prove yet. And he will need the team that he has alienated in the past to do it. I hope he has learned something from Jensen about the importance of motivating the team. And his girlfriend can teach him something about being a champion – she worked hard all season on Dancing with the Stars. She made no excuses, remained respectful and composed at all times. In the end she won and did it with respect and dignity and as part of a team. I found the comparison between Lewis’ season and hers revealing. I have yet to see these traits in Lewis. Can she teach him something? Yes I am serious.

  64. Steve Smith says:

    Another great observation sparking a fascinating discussion – it’s why I’m glued to this website! What a turn-around between Red Bull and McLaren. Two seasons ago this would have been the scene at RBR. RBR was perceived as a harmonic, fresh and fun-loving team whilst McLaren had a very straight-laced corporate image behind Ron Dennis.

    My question is why does Massa appear to be so far behind Alonso at the moment? Although he had a rough ride at Montreal, he still seems to be struggling to mix it with the top five (and perhaps even Kubica).

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      He is getting from Alonso what he was dishing to Kimi – its called Karma

  65. BA says:

    Something that maybe alonso would regret

  66. TIKO PAVONI says:

    Hi James, I’m a Cuban/Italian F1 fan , and a major Hamilton/ Mclaren fan from Miami Beach, Florida….u so rock with your website, non equal at all. I happen to be a filmmaker, read ur website umpteen times a day….keep it up! Grazie Mille 4 all ur insight….Tiko Pavoni

  67. Giles says:

    As a big Jenson fan, I’m very pleased to hear your analysis James. But, I’m also a big Lewis fan and do expect him to come out on top. With the early races going jenson’s way I was concerned Lewis might become Alonso-ish and defensive, especially with Jenson being so cool and the Buttons being popular. I suspect things may change if one of them gets a clear upper hand. I’m very pleased Jenson is able to give lewis the credit when he does the better job. I’m not sure it would work the other way around. If Jenson decides to give it the full beans in quali and gets on Lewis’s pace, I think it could be very close in the race. My prediction is Lewis will remain the quicker and Jenson’s chance will be through consistency and his tyre friendly style. Either way i just hope Vettel doesn’t win it!

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      Actually Lewis gave JB credit for his strategy calls for the two wins earlier in the season – appears alot of people were ‘deaf’ to LH and chose not to hear or read his words. So as to whether it would work the other way round – of course yes, it already has and is probably the reason why JB is bending over backwards to return the favour.

      Your analysis of their strengths is however very correct. Lewis is fast but still viewed as inconsistent. JB on the hand is slower but more reliable. To be truthful, intuition would have it that if you are fast you would be more risky than if you are measured so the question is which of these two strenths will take the season – speed or caution? I know i would like to see speed because after all this is racing – but that is just my preference.

  68. Tim says:

    It’s one race don’t get carried away just yet!

  69. CNSZU says:

    There is too much hugging and kissing at the McLaren garage. What happened with the clinical Darth Vader image? Too bad things have changed.

  70. Harvey Yates says:

    McLaren were a new team in all essentials with the start of MP4. From ’84 they have been there or thereabouts for the vast majority of seasons. During the ten-season domination by Ferrari, McLaren were normally challenging for wins and sometimes were the only team doing so.

    In that period the WCC has been to McLaren on 7 occasions and to Ferrari 8. Things go the other way more than a little when you consider that Ferrari, in the same period, has given us 6 WDCs whilst for McLaren it’s 10.

    It’s not been a straight battle between the two of course and Williams in that period has also had 7 WCCs but just 5 WDCs. There’s Toleman in there, in its many guises, nationalities and colours, but they’re not part of my argument. (Figures my own and may be a bit confused by various punishments that I didn’t agree with.)

    RD started with a spanner in his hand. He built the team from the start of MP4 and it’s entirely a product of his management as near as damn it.

    In the period ’84 to ’98 Ferrari, despite being the richest team in the pitlane, spectacularly failed to deliver the goods. However they suddenly decided to spend money wisely and following a major revamp of the team, which meant investing in people rather than things, they pushed Sheckter into their archives. I wonder which cost the most, Brawn or the paddle gearbox.

    To get to my point: McLaren were one of the much derided garagisters or kitcar builders, despised because they were not manufacturers yet with shrewd management, single-mindedness (The business of winning used to be their moto) RD has made McLaren the most successful team in F1 since ’84, if we go by WDCs, and by some margin. More than half as many champions again as the next team.

    I accept it wasn’t only RD who pushed GP racing towards professionalism. The Williams/Head partnership had as much to do with it and before them Brabham. But RD is one of the major formative agents of F1. One of its giants in fact. Together with Williams/Head he took the battle to the manufacturers and beat them, and rather soundly.

    For all the hype, something which RD has failed to generate, with Enzo, Ferrari F1 was never so successful as when it passed from his hands. Harsh, I know given the chap’s dedication to the sport but I felt it needed saying. I accept and agree wholeheartedly that without him F1 might well have perished or at least played second fiddle to WSC. But his team was destroyed by Williams and McLaren.

    RD, for whatever reason he moved on, left McLaren F1 in top form. Whitmarsh has, despite my fears, kept it there. He’s improved the atmosphere of the team it seems and good for him. But I would suggest that is not the reason for the team’s current excellent showing.

    The initials are a spooky coincidence. It is research and development that’s given the success not the touchy feely approach of MW, welcoming though it is.

    In ’88 McLaren won every race but one, and even their loss at Monza was down to an inexperienced Williams driver. Senna was entitled to more consideration. This from a kitcar builder, a bloke who knew which end of a spanner to hit a nut with.

    I’m a committed McLaren fan and know that my opinions carry a certain bias. I was at the British GP in ’84, for all three days, and that’s when I abandoned Brabham for the MP4. But even so I feel that the facts and statistics are irrefutable. Ron Dennis was the person who built McLaren and enabled it to be, on WDC stats at least, the most successful GP team from ’84. Whitmarsh’s team is still RD’s creation.

    They didn’t get their 1-2s this season by kissing one-another, good though that is. It took dedication, hard work and application over a number of years. 26 I reckon.

    After all that, it is nice to see a team enjoying themselves and the fruits of their hard work. Well done Martin and well done McLaren. But please, sort out your pitstops.

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      Interesting and maybe not so right that F1 teams are in the engineering business but have to be judged by journalists – thus while the journalists will be giving credit to PR the real reasons for success of robust organisation and engineering may not be appropriately appreciated

  71. admin says:

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  72. Chris says:

    Red Bull’s problem? Easy!! Drinking too much of their own product!! You know what happens if you drink too much coffee, you end up running round and round like a headless chicken getting nowhere. And what’s the main ingredient of Red Bull, yes, caffeine.
    Problem solved, just confiscate the tins and suddenly they will start winning again.

  73. RON says:

    Button will fail miserably in the end… his abmient skill level is that of a Fisecalla.

    He brings nothing to the team of note.

    Button is a free rider all the way. This is why he is so happy to think that he is only 2 secs behind Hamilton, when in reality Hamilton is just driving slowly to the finish line.

    I expect a total mental failure before the end of the season.

    1. John Pugh says:

      Jenson has 106 points to Lewis’s 109 – and you say Jenson brings nothing to the team of note! I would be genuinely interested to know who you beleive could have done better than that?

  74. Alex Yarnell says:

    Whilst broadly on the subject of Anthony Hamilton, I just wondered if anyone knows what’s happening with his F1 testing academy?

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