Hamilton hopes for 1-2 with Button in Abu Dhabi
Hamilton hopes for 1-2 with Button in Abu Dhabi
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Oct 2009   |  11:24 am GMT  |  72 comments

Lewis Hamilton handed his champions’ crown to Jenson Button last weekend and in Abu Dhabi will race with the number one on his car for the last time. He is determined to win it back again, as soon as next year, but in the short term he thinks that he and Button could finish 1-2 in the final race – and I think that is a distinct possibility.

Photo: Darren Heath

Photo: Darren Heath

“He will make a great champion, ” said Hamilton on his website. “I’m proud of what he’s done – both him and his team – and I think he’ll come to Abu Dhabi with that weight off his shoulders and ready to make a real race of it. It would be fantastic for Britain if we could get a great double result at the last race of the season.”

Looking at the Abu Dhabi circuit, it will encourage the KERS cars, with its 1.2 kilometre straight, the longest in F1. It has some fast corners, but it looks like a point and squirt circuit and one on which braking is going to be important. The feeling I get from talking to engineers is that this track will suit Brawn and McLaren the most. On that basis, Hamilton has to be among the favourites, especially if you look at how well his car went in Singapore.

And I also think that Button will drive with great freedom and aggression in the final race, because the psychological burden he has been carrying around this last few months has been lifted. Jenson fell into that mental state sportsmen get into sometimes where they are afraid to lose and so they tense up and make losing seem even more likely.

He fought against it in Brazil and drove the race he wanted to and it paid off for him. Now free of tension, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his best performance of the year.

He will want to sign off in style, to leave a positive impression over the winter, rather than leaving people to recall his struggles in the second half of the season.

Behind the scenes the wrangles continue over next year’s contract, which might weigh on his mind a bit over the weekend, but I still think he will be very strong in Abu Dhabi.

As for Hamilton, he looks back positively on 2009. It started badly for him with a slow car and then there was the issue over lying to the stewards in Melbourne. He admitted in the spring that he had fallen out of love with the sport, but he’s turned it around impressively and the impression have got from him in the last few months is that as a man and as a driver he has taken a big step forward this season, through adversity, which will make him a stronger competitor in 2010. It seems that he feels this to be the case too,

“It’s been a fantastic year for me,” he said. “It’s been very tough and demanding at times, but I think I’m actually a very different person now than I was a year ago – and some of that comes directly and indirectly from being world champion. I think this year has helped me to understand and appreciate more the challenge and thrill of Formula One. I’d like to think I’m a more rounded individual as a result of my season, and I definitely think I’m a better driver.”

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Hi All

Is everyone forgeting the straight line speed of Force India? I’m sure they are going to feature in this race. Their super quick in a straight line.

I’m looking forward to 2010 but this year has been fantastic, plenty of variety at different tracks, I hope 2010 doesnt revert back to the two horse races we’ve had in the past.

As per the previous comments I hope Heidfled finds a good driver next season. He’s a great racer.

I’d like to see Button at McLaren and Kimi and Heidfeld at Brawn, excellent pairing for both teams.


So far this year Heidfeld has scored 15 Points (2 fewer than his teammate)

He is only ahead of the Force India and the Toro Rosso drivers

Doesn’t seem like a fantastic driver to me

Paige Michael-Shetley


Just wanted to get your take on a thought I had the other day with a grand prix coming up on the Arabian Peninsula.

It would really seem to me that Hamilton would be very popular in non-western countries, obviously being the first really high-profile Formula One driver of color and not to mention F1’s first champion of color. Given how difficult most non-western countries have it, he has the potential to be a very inspiring figure in such parts of the world with whom young fans can identify, especially given the difficult times he’s faced during very vocal displays of racism directed his way.

How much do see this phenomenon playing out in reality right now? Do you think some of the commercial power players in F1- i.e. Bernie- recognize this potential and are keen to utilize it?


For sure – as the saying goes.


Ross Brawn is a shrewd operator. Is Jenson really worth £8m per season given his performances in the second half of the season? I think not. Maybe Kimi would drive for less with the promise of a championship winning car? I guess if Brawn wanted Jenson the contract would have been signed by now…..


With nothing to lose for Brawn and Red Bull, I can see both of them at the top for this race. Hamilton will be fighting with Raikkonen to secure third and fifth in the constructors and driver’s championship respectively.

I have great respect for Raikkonen, but do think that Hamilton will be able to pull through as he has much more motivation. It’s clear to me that Raikkonen was being pushed out from the start of the year.

This is going to be a great race to watch! The winner will have a place in history as the first winner at this circuit. I’m going with Vettel, Hamilton, and Button on the podium with Kubica, Webber, Raikkonen, Barrichello, and Rosberg in the points.


Button-hamilton 1-2 in Abu Dhabi yes possible, was he talking about this year or next year with a Mc Laren 1-2….


Nick drove alongside some big guns and was at least as good as them so could handle Lewis (Alesi, Villeneuve, Massa, Raikkonen, Kubica, Webber). He is more experienced than Heikki so probably less likely to be affected by the Lewis effect.

Although he last drove for McLaren in 1999 as test driver he already knows the organisation and probably quite a few people so could adjust to the team quickly.

As for Heikki I am convinced that out of Lewis’ shadow he would perform better. He should be much better in a few years.


Hi James,

I would really love to know what you think about Heidfeld moving to McLaren. I try to look at it in a neutral way(but seriously, Heidfeld deserves a good drive …) and think that would be the best move team-wise!

First point would obvious be 2007. Ok, Kimi is quiet, but I already see the tension in the team.

Then, very simple: Heidfeld is German. Something Mercedes really want. Also i don´t think he wants that much money like Kimi.

And well, as far as the driving goes, Nick is no Hamilton, but we all know his big strength: Reliability.

I seriously think Heidfeld would have had a very good shot at the WDC with Brawn this year.


He usually matches and sometimes beats Kubica, so he deserves a shot. In a god car he could score a lot of points and help towards winning a constructors championship. Would depend whether being alongside Hamilton would do to his head what it has done to Kovalainen’s



Moving on from your comment, there seems to be a groundswell of opinion (mainly among Kubica fans) that Heidfeld will “match and beat” Hamilton too. Is Nick really that good?


I think very few times in the history of F1 we have seen drivers in the same team to battle it out at the same level, such as Senna-Prost at McLaren.

In the mind of any driver, is worst enemy is the person on the other side of the garage.

He has the same chassis, same engine and same tyres.

Moroever with today technology, the team can see where one driver is better than the other, data from engine managment and so on, and therefore the scrutiny that any driver is under is much greater than before.

in todays F1 the weakest part of the car-driver partnership is definately the driver.

This year Kovalainen lack performance has been magnify by 2 very important factor.

The car at the beginning of the season was not performing and he knocked his confidence, same for Lewis.

However Lewis decided to fight his corner and try to turn the season around, Heikki did not

Second important factor of the season was when Heikki was at the front of the grid with much more fuel than the cars around him and failed to win the race or to go on the podium.

Heikki is not a bad driver but it is not a top class one, he needs to feel confident and confortable in the cockpit and with Lewis in the team he did not feel that at all, Lewis demonstrated once again that he is a top class driver.

Heidfeld has the quality to have a good year ay McLaren and don’t forget he is German, he will not give up too easy.

Will he be at par with Lewis?

Probably not in all races, so far he hasn’t showed raw pace like Lewis but I think he could match him in circuit like Monza and Brasil where you need to find a good pace and keep it during the gran prix.


We will see what Button results will be next season when all the teams will get a fair chance regarding regulations…


HI James

any truth in the rumors that Jensen had a major financial bet on himself taking the championship. would love to know how much and at what odd. Are we going to see any book makers weeping ;-0


I think Martin Brundle made a point in commentary (when he could get a word in edgeways) that the drivers jump in a car and after 2 or 3 laps know if it is a rocket-ship or not. I would imagine that after that Barcelona test, Jenson jumped straight out of that car and ran down the bookies to get good odds.

I also read a comment where somebody read James’ comments on the car early season and took a punt and now stands to collect 500 quid! So next year around testing time, I will be watching the James Allen Tipster Services website very carefully!


Good idea!


I backed him towards the end of that first test week at 14-1… was kicking myself that I didn’t a) back earlier and b) back heavier. Must have been some really big winners out there


Well if I had been a betting man I would have put a lot on Button to win on that first test day in Barcelona in March. Wouldn’t be surprised..


To slightly veere off the subject—In 2011 when they are all encouraged to use KERS, will the teams’ fuel allocation for the race be reduced? If not I can’t see the point of KERS.

Seems to me if a car has 80bhp extra when the button is pushed, over a car not using KERS, it’s an unfair advantage, so the cars without KERS should be able to tune, or increase the size of their engines to equal the output.

For 2011 I don’t see the point of KERS when all competitors have it, unless fuel available is reduced, although I supose it will speed up development of KERS for future road vehicles so they will use less fuel.

Go Ari.


Paige Michael-Shetley

Abu Dhabi will be very interesting, and McLaren and Brawn will certainly have the edge. Having grid under braking looks like it will be everything there, and those two cars are the best for that.

Which of them will be better? There are certain factors going in each’s favor.

McLaren have KERS, which will be a big advantage in the race and qualifying on the long flat-out portions.

But Brawn will have the heat in their back pocket, allowing their tire management advantage to come through.

Just looking at lap times in Valencia, I think Brawn’s tire management advantage ultimately gave them the race, and the options really wore off for Hamilton late in the first two stints and didn’t allow him to set the kinds of laps he needed in order to hold off Barrichello. Brawn probably had McLaren beat on race pace, anyways, but the tire management factor is what really cost the ability of Hamilton to will his way to the win on the strategy they had.

But Abu Dhabi has longer flat-out portions than Valencia, which will make KERS a bigger advantage for them there.

It will be very fascinating and should be quite close between McLaren and Brawn for the win.


Hi James,

Interesting stuff.

With HK getting interest from Renault & Kimi looking possible at Toyota. If Jenson can’t reach a settlement with Brawn could McLaren be on the cards?

Which team do you think he’d have a better future with? I have to say though that having Lewis as his team mate would be tougher than Rosberg I feel. Then again, with tyre management a key issue next year, I wouldn’t want to bet against Jenson Vrs. any of his rivals!


I think he should stay where he is.


So Hamilton would rather Button come 2nd than Kovalainen!


He’s a realist. Unfortunately, poor Heikki rarely troubles the podium.


Hi James,

I read somewhere that apparently Button has used the same chasis in all sessions of every Grand Prix this season, is this true? Quite an achievment if it is…


Yes it’s amazing, I recall Ross talking about it a few times, they were very tight for cash and so they ran the risk at every race! Luckily they didn’t have a major shunt. Amazing really.


Even more so if you consider the late changes that were made to accommodate the Mercedes engine


Another nice connection between BrawnGP and the Tyrrell team then. Tyrrell 003 was and probably remains the most successful chassis in F1 history. Read


Jenson’s Brawn chassis must rank pretty high in the list of most successful chassis too.


Just out of interest does any one know who used the most chassis this year? I’d guess Adrian Sutil or one of the Torro Rosso drivers!


same for Rubens as quoted from Andrew Benson on BBC site.


>>Just as incredibly the team, tight on budget, made only three chassis all year – one for Button, one for Rubens Barrichello, and a spare – when a big-money outfit such as McLaren will typically make seven or eight.>>>


Part of why I follow F1 and drivers goes down to my wanting to understand the secret behind their successful lives. Just look at them, people like Lewis or Jenson seem to have everything one may think is of value; namely they are mostly happy, have thrilling jobs, beautiful, smart girlfriends and bags of money. Is just like if they were born to have adventure… and it makes me wonder is that sort of thing available to everyone or just to a chosen few?

This blog, with it’s every now and again insightful, helpful reviews of drivers mindset make me ever closer to the unlocking of the mystery of the factor X I have just mentioned.

Much appreciate James.


How do you rate Brawn’s chances next year, assuming Ferrari and McLaren are back on form? What do you hear from the people at Brawn regarding less-than-ideal salaries?


Well they could have been on the dole, so to be world champions with the prospect of being taken over by Mercedes looks pretty good, I reckon. For most of them (not Jock Clear) it’s the first time they have won a championship. I rate Brawn’s chances over the next 5 years very highly


James, how can Button’s position with Ross be anything but insecure, if he still remains without a drive despite declaring yesterday that he does not mind how little they decide to pay him. Why is Ross not keen to keep Jens?

Button said he’s not like those drivers “who are asking for lots of money..” Could he be refering to one in particular, I wonder?

While we’re on the subject there’s this other ace besides Hamilton who also >”turned it around impressively”< this year. He started further back than LH and was ahead before Brazil. ..


They are negotiating. It can get quite tough.


The BBC reported that he may join McLaren. Is this wishfull thinking on behalf of the British press or a possibility?


Mercedes have denied this.


Any chance of a McLaren British superteam of Button and Hamilton? And who would prevail?

Exchange and Mart

Nice article James. Great Result and brilliant for British Motorsport in general. I appreciate the fact that Jenson funded his own flights to and from the races and was only given a private jet (ironically Rubens’) after Brazil in order to come back to England and celebrate with the team.http://bit.ly/1WmpXt I hope they get the contract extension signed pronto…


Be a great British podium if they both come 1-2. Followed by…Kimi. Looks like he has turned down Toyota,cough, good. At Brawn he wouldn’t have the sponsor or media commitments like at Mclaren, so my money is on Brawn.


When, at this point in time, we look at how 2010 is shaping up for Lewis one has to consider what Kimi is going to do.

Is it true that Lewis is lobbying hard to not have Kimi as a team mate?


I’m very tempted to put a tenner on a Button-Hamilton 1-2 in Abu Dhabi, but then I doubt I’d get very good odds so maybe not!!

I know it will never happen, but I would love to see Button and Hamilton both at McLaren. It seems like they really get on well with each other and are both genuine sportmen who would push each other to even greater success.

Anyway, am I the only one looking forward to a Brit driving “Red 5” next year (assuming, as seems likely, that McLaren beat Ferrari to 3rd in WCC)…


Boston – I doubt there is a PR svengali behind such utterances by Lewis.

When he’s in McLaren-Mercedes-Vodafone-Santander PR-speak mode I am sure every word is scripted, but when discussing things such as this it’s Lewis the young guy talking.

He’s done a lot this season to endear himself to many more people – since Ron D left he’s become a lot less robotic and is as natural and charming as Jenson always has been. Coincidence …? 😉

A 1-2 by Lewis and Jenson (in whichever order, frankly!) would be great and have a nice symmetry about it, for sure. Two of the best ambassadors for sport you could wish for, and both Brits. Wonderful!

Thing is, where will Jenson be next year ….? Whatever, let’s just savour this last race of the season, for now!

Great work, James. Excellent web site/reportage.


Hamilton is the bestest everest


I’m afraid you may have to climb down from that assertion…


James, I think it’s like you talked about Alonso, Hamilton’s mellowed this year but with both him and Fernando the pressure has been off by and large. What will it be like when it’s on for the championship again?

Hamilton in 2008 especially seemed to hide amongst his loyal in-house people in a kind of “us vs them” way because he believed that people hate him because “he’s the best”. I think that created more pressure on him than necessary.

We’ll see how it shapes out next year.

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