F1 Winter Break
Second Button win forces a re-evaluation of his quality
McLaren Honda
Second Button win forces a re-evaluation of his quality
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Apr 2010   |  5:31 pm GMT  |  235 comments

Jenson Button’s victory in the Chinese Grand Prix today, which puts him in the lead in the championship, is one of those results which can change perceptions in Formula 1.

Let’s take a balanced look at this situation. Last year he took a big early lead in the championship in a car with a big technical advantage and then had a patchy second half to the season, holding on for dear life to win the title. Nevertheless I put him as ‘Driver of the Year’ because his peaks were very high and on some of his bad weekends he made some great saves, fighting his way back to score important points.

This season he has pleasantly surprised many in F1, who admired his smoothness and were impressed with some of his performances last season, but still weren’t sure about him.

Meanwhile today’s result will trouble those people who dismiss him as a moderate driver, who lucked into his world championship with an all conquering Brawn car last year.

His win in Melbourne, which like today’s win was based on a crucial tyre choice at a pivotal moment, was dismissed by many as lucky because he was forced to pit because his intermediate tyres were worn out. That early call gave him the platform for the win but from then on he still had to drive most of the race on a single set of tyres.

Today he disproved the theory that luck has anything to do with it; he, Rosberg, Kovalainen and the Renault drivers stayed on slicks in light rain in the early laps, while most of the runners pitted for intermediates. When those started burning out after a few laps, they were all forced to pit again for slicks, opening up a yawning gap between the leading group and the rest. That gap was only closed by a second safety car to clear debris.

There was still plenty of driving for Button to do, once that tyre decision had been made, including passing Rosberg and then keeping the pace up on worn intermediates at the end. He made one mistake, near the end of the race, locking up his wheels and going off the track, after which he also struggled to get the tyres up to temperature, which allowed Hamilton to close up.

“For me, it is my best victory – every one you win becomes your best victory but this was was pretty tough conditions,” he said. “It is not luck we came out on top today. We chose correctly in the conditions. The start was the right call definitely but it was slippery and we knew how quickly the soft tyres would be working.”

Button went to McLaren for three reasons; for a fast car, to test himself against Hamilton, but most important of all, to prove that he didn’t just win the title last year because he had the best car. This last point was one of the key reasons he gave to Brawn when he told them he was leaving and it is one even his harshest critics must concede he is proving so far this season.

Button made a lot of bad decisions in his early career, particularly when choosing which team to drive for and it’s great to see that, late in his career, he has found himself realizing his potential and showing people what he can do, which has not always been easy to see.

Of course we have to take into account that he also has off days, when the car isn’t right for him, he can drift out of the picture. But since he’s had a competitive car, those days are noticeably less frequent.

His confidence is sky high after winning the championship and these wins will only add to that.

“You won’t see many better drives than that,” said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, who has seen a few in his time. “I can tell you – he was very, very impressive today.”

Featured Video
Sign up for Jenson’s Triathlon today!
Featured News in mclaren
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

i was one of the non believers in button's chances against hamilton. I think he is a much better driver than i thought.

Any other outthere?


Count me in that camp too. I have always thought highly of JB but have never placed him in the top tier of drivers by ability till now. Looks like I will have to eat some humble pie here. I have begun to realize that top divers have their own strengths. Hamilton has his aggression, Alonso his ability to outperform his car and Vettel his amazing one lap pace. Jenson's focus and steadiness are a bona fide edge in its own right - very similar to Michael Schumacher in his salad days. I am just glad that two of the best drivers on the grid are Brits and I look forward to hearing God Save the Queen on Sunday afternoons for a long time to come.


me also... i was lead to believe it as many ex F1 drivers, personnel as well as most if not all fans predicted that button made the wrong decision but he seems to be better than most rated him and atleast i am impressed by his racecraft... but the season is long but a great start by Button nonetheless


Yep I was well in that camp, I thought he would get killed and end up running around in the midfield all year. I thought this was confirmed after Bahrain, but he has been hugely impressive in the rest of the season so far. You really have to hand it to him for making such a 'ballsy' call. Great stuff,


i'm definately one to rate him lower than he has shown so far. He has outqualified Lewis 3-1 also, if I'm not wrong.. Very impressive.


I have always thought quite highly of Button, and the second half of last year made me rate him even higher, but despite that I still thought that he was not quite as impressive a talent as Hamilton. Today I was loving the race, and loving that way Button drove, and the decisions he made - fantastic performance.

But again, Hamilton made the wrong choices on tyres a few times, but still managed to claw his way through an entire field, despite having some very fast cars to pass out there, I'm thinking Vettel and Schumi, maybe sutil, maybe Kubica; yes he was helped a little by the safety cars (not as much as alonso was) but even so, very few could have pulled off such a drive. Whether button could have I dont know, but it is an entirely academic question since he seems to make very good decisions!

McLaren have two brilliant drivers for this season, that is for sure.


I thought this was a very fair and balanced comment. I have a slightly different take on Button. Thus far, we know HAM has passed BUT on track at least 2 times. It is unknown whether BUT will be able to return the favor. I think that BUT realize that HAM is one tough cookie to beat when they are on similar strategies so by necessity he is forced to do things contrary to Lewis. So far it has worked for him but how many chaotic races are we going to have this season? Also, note that HAM didn’t necessarily do things that were completely out of the ordinary. In every race so far, he was on strategies similar to MSC or Mark Webber so it is not a matter of Button dominating Hamilton only; he has done things contrary to most of the others and it paid off.

Having said that, I think Button has clearly shown class that I personally did not anticipate at the start of the season so he deserves great credit. The 2 drivers are clearly talented in different ways.

In terms of a pathway for Hamilton, I think he must not allow himself to become ruffled. With time, he should be able to regain the lead over Button especially if we get more normal conditions in upcoming races. BUT will be hoping at this point that this early lead will deflate HAM psychologically so the most important test for him is to stay disciplined.

Great season so far. Nice job team Mclaren for taking lead in constructor’s race.


Congrats to him he did come up with the best strategy n drove intelligently. But I wouldn't go "that" far. Because we have seen rubens and fisi sort of drivers who can manage to win one or two normal races. And both of his wins came from chaotic races where it was more about who don't mess up rather than who could drive fastest.


Sam does have a point though. Jenson may be master of wet weather tire calls, but most GPs in a season are dry and i'm not sure he has the raw speed to match Lewis or the other front runners in the dry. After all, he didn't exactly shine in Bahrain. We'll just have to wait and see.


idiocy. Jensen is up 2-0 in wins and 3-1 in quali. Quali is ALL about who can drive fastest.


It's a bit too simplistic don't you think? It was all about who get the tyre heated at the time when track conditions reach it's peak and not getting caught in traffic. Lewis was having a few bad qualifying. Who in the right mind would bet against lewis over the course of the season


exactly.. JB is no slouch..


let's not compare button with fisi. To start with, he is a world champion.


Why not? They were teammates and Button got trounced by Fisichella.


Sam, wake up. Seriously. Snap out of it mate.


May be you are the one who needs to wake up mate.

He won two chaotic races. It was all down to strategy rather than ability. Lewis was lapping faster.

And the point was there were second class drivers who could win 'normal' races and out-class guys like Alonso or Schumi, let alone chaotic races. Rubens,Fisi, Damon, to name a few.


JB is now on 9 wins, which is fairly respectable. Particularly when you consider his years spent in the doldrums with BAR/Honda.

Damon Hill won 22 races out of only 115 starts, which is a pretty impressive record and a comparison that I am sure Button would approve of. He was also robbed of a world drivers championship in 1994 at Adelaide.

Rubens's stats were blighted by team orders.

Fisichella on the other hand managed a paltry 3 wins out of 229 starts. Not great when you consider what Alonso achieved in the other Renault seat.


@quetric Thank you for not missing my point.

@Henry I didn't say it was a second class drive even though it wasn't anything that special.

It's not like he finished one min a head of everyone with inferior machinery.

My point was that he made the right call again as opposed to others. And that hardly means he is a match for Alonso,Vettle and Lewis over the course of the season. With respect, I feel that it was rather an emotional statement from JA.

In addition, what I was saying was that even second class drivers can win a race or two in one season. It's too early to say that he is up there with top guys.

Don't get me wrong he is not too far from proving us wrong but you have to look at the entire season before jumping to any conclusion.


To get to the front of the pack, and defend that position despite safety cars and dodgy tyres, is very impressive. If you think how many tyre changes alonso had, he was bloody lucky with the second safety car he was nearly 70 seconds behind when it came out. Twice now Button himself has bade brilliant tactical calls, and defended his position in marginal conditions. He was very very good at finding grip with the slicks twice during the race, when most other drivers thought it was too marginal, he managed to stay on the tracl and extend his lead, it was a fantastic drive. Hamilton and alonso showed they have just amazing, amazing talent, but by no means was button a second class driver in this race.


Well written. I wrote him off before the season began and I now must admit it was daft and wrong. Being paired with Hamilton has forced him to reach new depths and he has had a terrific season so far.


I thought he was making a mistake in breaking away from Ross Brawn's leadership but still expected him to make a strong run of it. That he's now in the lead with four races is vindication for my expectations. I've liked him from when he was struggling with Honda and I think he probably deserves to be the face of F1 right now, since he's photogenic (my wife loves looking at him), very even-tempered and good in interviews, and now has a championship and a strong follow-on season underway.


First time poster: long time fan of the site.

Well done to Jenson, today: he drove well. The fact of the matter, again, however, is that this win, like that in Australia, owed more to tactics than to driving skill. I am not saying that Jenson lacks driving skill: he’s one of the best out there. Incidentally, this is something that I have always maintained, since his transformation at BAR onwards. Today, ‘tactics’ were crucial, however, as Hamilton and co.’s decision to pit on to inters, and then, quickly, back to slicks, cost them about 50 seconds. That cost them any chance of the victory. Once again, Jenson didn’t have to do much on the track, except maintain reasonable pace and conserve his tyres. Lewis, to the great benefit of the TV audience, was much busier. He put in many, and often superlative, overtaking manoeuvres. And many of these had nothing to do with his F-duct: I’m thinking of those superlative passes around the outside into that corner complex.

Now, I think that I’m being very generous to Jenson in complimenting him on his ‘tactics’. I do believe that it was, in fact, luck. A driver can only tell you what the track and car are like on the lap on which they are driving. They are not Merlin: they cannot know or assuredly predict the future track conditions or weather: even for the next lap, let alone a whole stint. The best placed people to do this are the teams themselves: McLaren, for example, has a team of technical boffins studying telemetry and weather forecasts and calculating all the things of which a driver cannot be thinking when he’s driving. So, although Lewis has been unfortunate that said boffins have got their calculations wrong, several times, he has the correct approach. It’s the correct approach because it’s largely conservative. If they get the strategy wrong, Lewis only looses a handful of positions. Jenson’s strategy is hero or zero: the win or last. This is not a strategy that a top team can afford to adopt. Sooner, rather than later, Jenson will be caught out. Imagine what would have happened if Jenson had got it wrong at Australia, as it looked like he had, initially: he would have been sent to the back of the pack – and them some.

Much has been made of Lewis v Jenson. Jenson may have had better results so far on paper and in terms of the championship. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Lewis has driven better and is the better driver. We have seen it, time and time again, that Lewis is a mighty racer and a great overtaker. Whereas Jenson made little to no progress against the Ferraris at Malaysia, Lewis (on the slower, hard tyre) had already passed them and a chain of cars and was well out of shot. Yet, Jenson didn’t finish far behind and nor did the similarly culpable Massa. F1 doesn’t really reward overtaking: you can sit back, look after your tyres, and make almost as many positions up by waiting for the pit stops and having moderately fresher rubber. As for wet-weather driving, Jenson is quick here, too. But only one man has won a race in the wet by over a minute since Senna: Lewis, of course. Lewis lapped his team-mate in that race, once; and his main championship challenger more than once. So Jenson has some way to go before he should be regarded in Lewis’s league in the wet; also, Jenson had more of a wet-weather setup than Lewis at China, I think.

So, Lewis is the better driver. But no champion would likely thrash another in todays F1. Senna is, arguably, the greatest F1 driver ever. But he didn’t thrash Prost. He was often beaten by Prost; although, more often than not, Senna prevailed. So Lewis was never going to have a cake-walk against Jenson. He didn’t thrash Alonso, either. As the season progresses, Lewis will pull further away from Jenson.

Let’s, please, just have a dry race: I really don’t care if it’s boring. I want to know where all the teams are in terms of performance. (I also want to forestall Jenson’s sixth sense!)


great post Alistair, entirely agree 100%. JB win in Australia was 100% luck, China Id say 50% luck at best. After all we are talking about predicting what the weather is going to do here, had it continued to rain/rain harder he wouldve gone straight to the back. As you said hero or zero stuff. A lot of people are using these results to beat up on Lewis but come on, he listened to the guys in the pit in Australia, you know - the ones with the telemetry, up to date weather info and details of other drivers lap times (including those on different tyres). So was he entirely wrong to go against them like everyone is claiming?

I do believe there is some skill in making the right call and Jenson has superior skill than LH in this department from having so much more experience under his belt. But from watching the races you can clearly see LH is more often faster and can pass cars that JB cant. Paddy Lowe also dismissed this notion that JB is much easier on the tyres in the post race interview (and besides JB's race winning pit stop in Aus was down to his tyres being sh*gged while everyone elses were fine)

As some people are saying, you need more than speed in F1 you need to make the right calls. Yes true but sure speed is ultimately more important? As its not going to rain EVERY time and no matter how good you are at making the right calls your not going to get them all right as you cannot predict the weather - JB will get caught out here eventually.

Its worth noting in the only non-rain affected race so far (Bahrain) we saw Hamilton easily out qualify and out race Button so lets give it a few races before we decide Button the out and out winner of the team mate war


What a well written and considered post, one that I fully agree with.

All this nonsense about one driver being kinder to their tyres than another is just rubbish and as Paddy Lowe of McLaren stated on the BBC, McLaren have seen no evidence of this between their two drivers!!!. He stated that tyres have a certain life and it all depends on where the drivers are in the race and track postition in how they use that life.

Hamilton overtook soooo may cars I lost count, had 2 more pit stops to Button and only finished a second behind Button, if the roles had been reversed I'd suggest it'd have been highly likely Hamilton would have won and Button would only just have made the points as he's unable to make those astonishing moves Hamilton does with ease, often in places where overtaking is considered impossible.

Button is an excellent driver then so are all those in F1, after all F1 is the pinnacle of motor sport so even the worst F1 driver is sill going to be pretty good but those tiny few, in my view currently Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel stand apart from the others with, again my view, Hamilton being at the top of the tree, no other driver can make the same moves, sure the others may be as fast but are more likely to get stuck earlier, I mean is there another diver that would have taken Rosberg on the outside at that speed in the last race? I don't think so.

Over a season my money would be on Hamilton, the only downside I can see if Hamilton lets his head drop but I think his fighting spirit will prevail I just hope he doesn't loose any of his unique flare and if he did all F1 would be the looser.


I note from these posts that all Hamilton fans seem to be conveniently forgetting one thing....SAFETY CAR.....which is why he cruised up to the back of JB.


Can you name a WDC of the past who did not need some luck during a championship winning year? Come November, this so called 'Luck' may prove to be the difference between winning and losing a WDC, raw speed will not be enough in 2010. I agree that Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel are quicker drivers, and all of them would have looked at this weekend as being pivotal in terms of getting a good start to the championship. I just wonder whether they would have swapped their speed for Jenson's luck.


I could not agree with your post more and suggest this is in fact somewhat better than that posted by James Allen who is very close to Jenson Button and as such will always likely sway his views.

Watching the race on TV it was absolutely clear who the star of the race was and with the awesome over-takings by Lewis Hamilton it would have been a far less enjoyable race to watch.

Time after time Lewis Hamilton seems to find ways and places to overtake that the other current F1 drivers (Alonso included) cannot and regardless as to how perfect his car is he always delivers whereas Jenson Button simply does not.

Tyre choice in weather conditions we've seen so far are, as you state, just as much about luck as judgement so let's keep this real and see Jenson's performances so fat this season in the correct light, good, most certainly, inspired and the best etc, I don't think so.


Lewis is undoubtedly a faster driver in the car at the moment. Jenson should close up as he gets more used to the car but it is often the case when Lewis is behind he seems to be steaming up to his gearbox pretty quickly.

However, that is where Lewis is very weak - he is too prone to getting in to situations where he has to steam through the field, take risks and end up with too much of a mountain to climb. He's also been lucky on a few occasions that sense has prevailed amongst the stewards - some of the moves he has been pulling recently would have had him banned in the not to distant past where they had a habit of going OTT.

So who is better? It's another Burns / McRae scenario for my money. One driver who plays the odds, keeps out of trouble and reaps the rewards. Another who grabs the attention of the fans, obviously has far more raw talent but just can't tame it and suffers poorer results than he could achieve as a result.


I would be very tempted to agree that Lewis has more outright pace, but then you have to take into consideration the fact the Jenson has out qualified him 3-1.


its def looking very senna v prost. makes for great viewing

lewis has a habit of being a little to ragged and he's stuffed up qualifying a couple of times to put himself in the position to fight through the field. but hes more outright pace and racecraft, while button has less tendancy to make cruicial mistakes and makes better strategy calls. who the better driver is we could debate that till the cows come home but they are def two of the best drivers out there!


Luck has nothing to do with it. If it did then by your rationale, every tyre stop and decision is luck as the track is a constantly evolving entity throughout the race. You can't be 100% sure what it will be like next lap.

Lewis and Alonso finished on equal points in 2007.


Equal points but Hamilton would have been world champion if McLaren hadn't mucked up their strategy in China or had a false neutral in Brazil. Hamilton beat Alonso in his debut season in the same equipment and that's the bottom line because countback said so. 😉


yes but its not evolving so quickly or dramatically as is does when it suddenly showers or light showers become harder. Yes Button used his superior experience at calling the conditions but you have to say a huge slice of luck was involved. If it has rained slightly harder after he stayed out he'd have been snookered.

Lewis & Alonso finished equal points in 07 but lets remember Lewis was in his rookie season, if it happened to be alonso's rookie season instead i imagine he would taken quite a pasting


I think you're being to harsh to Jenson and too generous to Hamilton.

I agree that Australia was a "going backwards, got nothing to lose" choice, and Jenson got lucky for making a tyre change call that worked well. That win I'd put under the "lucky" group. BTW, those counts for the championship as well 🙂

However, the Shanghai win was due to using his noggin. Jenson was not going backwards in the field and in need of a desperate gamble, so he used his knowledge of tyre management and correctly decided that changing in those conditions would likely ruin the wet tyres quickly. Smart call. I would put this win under "well deserved".

Does he have Hamilton's ability to make up for bad strategy calls by storming through a field, not really (Alonso is probably the only one right now)... but as he said in the interview, F1 it's not all about raw speed. I think this was a dig at RBR, but also to his harshest critics and not his teammate.

As for Hamilton... tyre change was his call and he made it last minute after others did. I think this shows his lack of confidence in making such decisions. Once he learns to trust himself more and not depend on others (pit wall, other teams' decisions), he will be a dominant driver with many championship wins (assuming he has a car in the top 3 in terms of speed and reliability).

It was a good race to watch, so much going on... uhmm, instead of mandatory pit stops, should F1 have one mandatory safety car? 😀


how about sprinklers on the race track, I think Bernie has joked about it but after that race i would back testing it at least!


Ridiculous as it sounds it would make for some awesome races!


"all or nothing" tactics, I completely agree...


Agree with your comments. Jenson IS a good driver; if he is as brilliant as JA will have us believe, there won't be any need for all of this promotion and exhortation. Yes, he's an above average driver but Lewis belongs to the top echelon and thus needs no promotion, or support of the media or anyone else's. His skills are there for ALL to see.


It takes more than a huge set and extreme car control to be in the top echelon. It needs brains and I havent seen much of that from lewis yet.


I don't doubt that Lewis is a faster driver than Jenson, in fact, Lewis is probably the fastest driver out there at the moment - however there is much more to being a great F1 driver than outright speed. Jenson is a wiser racer and frankly this is currently making him the better driver of the two.

Perhaps in a few years time Lewis will emulate some of the F1 legends, but until he gains the wisdom of some of his rivals he is constantly going to be using his outright speed to make up for his mistakes.


I don't think its entirely fair to attribute these tire decisions to luck. The teams aren't just sitting around flipping a coin to decide who to bring in first and when. The team evaluated their options and decided that because of driving style Jenson would be able to stay out on dry tired longer than Lewis. It wasn't a gamble wanting to keep them out there longer, he simply wasn't losing as much time due to the conditions than other drivers. As a result his switch to inters was delayed because of the good times he was putting up on the dries. Since his driving style allowed him to stay out there on dry tires longer, and since the rain then stopped during that additional time he was able to stay out on dry tires, he gained a substantial advantage. Had they needed to change Jenson onto intermediate tires he still would have put himself in a better position by having just put down some additional faster laps on the dry tires. That's not luck, because it all happened because of things under his control.




There is more than one country in the world Anthony, and more than one correct spelling of 'tyre'.


Thanks for your comment


Yeah,he's the best driver in the history of the Universe.

I'll say it again for luck:

He's the best driver in the history of the Universe.

I would like it though, if you could hyperbolate(?) if Hamilton prevails. I won't hold my breath.


Wow. I think we read different articles here. What I read seems to say that JA thinks that Button is proving himself to be a better driver than many expected given that he seemingly had a performance advantage last year, and that he was going to face an established star on his own turf with Lewis and Mclaren, so few, JA included, thought we'd be in a situation where he'd be in the lead of the championship ahead of Lewis through a couple masterful drives. Nothing in there about being the best ever, or being much better than Lewis, just saying that he's proving himself to be better than expected by most pundits. Based solely on your tone, however, it seems that unless it's an article that places Hamilton on a pedestal, it's not worth reading.

Mark D. Johnson

I agree, Dan, The thesis of the article is that Jenson is better than people give him credit for. It doesn't imply that he's better that Lewis, or Alonso, or Shumi for that matter. He has raised his own level by competing against himself.


The likelihood of seeing an article on this site putting Hamilton on a pedestal is zero - hence my comment about holding my breath for any praise for him at all.


As a fan of Lweis Hamilton I do not want him placed on a Pedestal. However, I do want him to start winning races. Button is producing better results with the same equipment, and that's the point.

JA is just being objective...get over it!


I'm sure that there'd have been a whole swathe of articles putting Lewis on a pedestal had this site been in existence when he first came into F1. However, that's not the way it's worked out.

Last year, he didn't have the equipment to shine to his full potential, and this year he has - so far - been out-performed by his team-mate who many thought would be embarrassed by his high-profile move.

Whatever incidents have had an impact on the outcome of the races JB has still out-qualified LH 3-1 this season, which is not what many expected and is therefore a justifiable basis for an article.

I'm sure that when Lewis has an outstanding drive and wins a race this season, which he undoubtedly will, then you will find praise for him here.


That is exactly my point. Thanks for that


Experience seems to be as much of a factor this season as being the quickest driver or having the fastest car. Its really refreshing to see a driver use his own initative and not follow someone elses lead in tyre choices. Its what wins races, as has happened to Jenson and this should be praised as it rightly is.

Happy for Jenson to be proving his doubters wrong. Well done lad.


Button's drive to his WDC title last year really was a massive maturation process for him. He drives like someone who has been there, done that. Smooth drives, keeping mistakes to a minimum, letting things come to him. Compare that to Lewis who is all over the place, drag racing Vettel in the pits, getting a warning last week in Malaysia. Lewis is forcing things and it shows in his results. I'm sure the Hamilton fans will chime in with their venom and sour grapes but at the moment Button has got the measure of his teammate.


Lewis being all over the place? Did you watch a different race? I am a Jenson fan, and I am actually enjoying both McLaren drivers doing a decent job.

Give Lewis a break, and dont forget JB has been in F1 significantly longer than Lewis....

The thought of two british drivers going to a drivers title is just great. We didnt really get it last year as the McLaren was too slow at the start.

If I was Redbull, I'd be starting to look over my shoulder when we get to Barcelona.


Why would RBR look over their shoulder? All their problems are in front of them in both championships.


😀 good point


I was talking in terms of raw pace of the car:-)


Well, too early to tell. The point is when you are ahead you stand to lose more by piting....as we saw with Hamilton in Australia. He took the sensible gamble and stayed out. Lewis was further down...correct call to pit at that time but turned out incorrect. The second call for tyres was made by the team for intermediates.

There are 15 races to go and iam yet to be convinced. He is no Kova, but too early to be

dishing praises due to rain luck.


It was the correct call at the time and after the race to pit Lewis, Bridgestone said that his tyres would not have lasted.

They also said Button's would have only lasted another couple of laps.


Maybe you are right about reserving your judgement, but you have to admit he is going in the right direction, and It's rather rude to compare him to kovis performances


So it just pure luck that Button has out qualified Hamilton 3 out 4, so far, as well?


Let's not forget that Button dropped the car in the gravel in Malaysia during quali and took no further part....


.... Whereas Hamilton had spun his car on his fastest lap.....


Delighted to see Button doing it again this year.

I think to claim he had a "patchy" second half of the season last year is just not accurate. It's true all his wins came when he had a large car advantage and then his qualifying performance went off very badly - but he made up for his bad grid slots by driving like a lion. I think he actually *raced* better in the second half of the season - admittedly mainly because he had to - but better all the same.


I think it's accurate in the sense that he qualified poorly for pretty much the whole of the second half of the year. Quite true I think that he still raced very well when he had the opportunity, including passing his team-mate on more than one occasion.


I meant as well as Rosberg (not vettel)


I still think there'll be more weekends than not where Hamilton will be untouchable for Button. But these two wins have definitely shown Jenson's strengths. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes, he is very clean and dependable.

It's the classic tortoise vs hare race. while the hare is full of flash and flair it doesn't always get to its destination, whereas the tortoise does.


@Lyoto Machida

lol, you make me laugh but very true analogy


Hi James, slightly off topic here but I was wondering if you have any information on why Massa is struggling to match Alonso for pace at the moment? He seemed very subdued today.


He's not really matched him since they started testing. Draw your own conclusions

Stunned of Walton

He's surprised us all. And good for him!

Oh, and the difference between a driver who's 'got it' and one that hasn't was illustrated perfectly by Alonso's over take of Massa just before the pitline. It just illustrates the differences between the two. Massa's a good driver and a nice guy. Alonso is a winner with a killer instinct.


I completely agree.

That's exactly why I love alonso.

And there was nothing wrong with that pass on Massa, it was a brillant move.

Shame about the start, he could have won this race easily.


Is it legal to pass a car on the side road to the pits? I don't know if there's a rule against it, but it seemed more than a little unsporting to me, and Massa could have very easily ended up on "Hamilton's Beach" as a result.


Apart from getting his tyre choice wrong when button didn't


I believe too many people are impressed by fastest laps rather than fastest over a race distance, also don't forget that despite losing an advantage of 40 - 50 secs due to safety car, Jenson did this on 3 sets of tyres, not 5 sets of tyres, Paddy Lowe - take note.


“You won’t see many better drives than that,” said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh.

Yeah, I saw two. Hamilton and Alonso's drives. Button got a lucky win...again. There's a reason he finishes 7th when there's not intermittent rain to turn the race result into a guessing game.


Good point


Interestingly Hamilton was 55s behind Jenson and Alonso was 76s before Alguersuari deposited peices of his front wing onto the track. In my opinion that contradicts the theory that Jenson was lucky and rather suggests that Lewis and Alonso needed quite a bit of luck to be anywhere near in contention. Obviously both took the bull by the horns and drove amazingly to finish where they did but there wasn't much luck involved in Jenson beating them.


Great point tom, but some of these guys wouldn't let facts get in the way of a good argument 😉


He may have been fortunate to have made the right choice with the tires, but that's what it was... a choice. I don't see that as luck, I see it as an intelligent gamble that paid off. If you want to talk about luck, how about a mysterious NASCAR-style "debris caution" safety car that basically erased any disadvantage that Hamilton had from his extra pit stops?

Yes, Alonso and Hamilton drove spectacular races, but when it mattered- when Hamilton was 3 seconds behind Button after passing Rosberg and on tires in basically the same condition, Button started to pull away with a string of laps several tenths of a second faster than Lewis. Once he pushed too hard and went off, he backed off and allowed Lewis to catch up without risking his lead. That's as close to a straight fight as we've seen between them this year, and Jenson came out on top. Keep in mind as well that he outqualified Lewis in the dry...

I think that with the confidence he's carrying from this weekend, he'll have a good shot at a win even in dry conditions in Spain which most still assume suits Hamilton as the "quicker" of the two. You can't underestimate the power of the kind of confidence only a win can give you.


Lucky? How? Button made the right call on tyres, closed down Rosberg and passed him. He then held his lead in tricky conditions, despite a questionable safety car deployment for a small piece of debris, and lead home Hamilton.

The "guessing game" as you call it is a fairly important part of being an F1 driver. It marked out, for example, Ayrton Senna as special as he had the skill to stay out on slicks in the rain longer than others and gain track position if the rain stopped. See the 1993 European GP for an example.

There was as least as much "luck" involved in Alonso and Hamilton's recovery drives. No one forced Alonso to jump the start. No one forced Hamilton to tough it out with Vettel in the pitlane, risking a penalty when he could simply have tucked in behind the Red Bull. No one forced either of them to pit too early for intermediates. Had the safety car not been deployed the second time (bit of luck that) neither of them would have been anywhere near Button by the end.

Ever heard the phrase "you make your own luck"? Button did today.


good point... great show though... greeeaaaat show!


This. Whitmarsh really is up Button's **** as is most of the British media!


Good article, many are reassessing Jenson now. He is certainly alot closer to Lewis than many expected but he should probably be judged more on malaysia and bahrain which were more conventional races, besides we may not see any more rain affected races this season, its just been circumstances that there has been 2 in the first 4 races.

if any of you have a spare moment please see what you think of my new website http://nickhipkinonf1.blogspot.com/ id like to hear what you all think of it, good and bad!


2 things - when you click through to the site all you see is a giant photo, I'd rather not have to scroll down to see the story. Also the lack of spacing between paragraphs makes it hard to read, so as a result I didn't read much.

Hope thats useful 🙂


I always thought he would do better than Hamilton: maybe Hamilton is slightly quicker overall, but Jenson's on-track judgement is better, he seems to nail marginal overtaking opportunities with a lot less fuss, and makes fewer mistakes. And with tyre wear being so important this season, he has an advantage over Hamilton: his natural style is to be easier on the tyres.

The Kitchen Cynic

If he defends his title he'll be the first to do so with a new team since Fangio...


I was also one to feel that Button was an average driver for F1. Looking at the 2 races where he did the right thing, makes me wonder. But can really 2 races change an impression that has slowly been built in the past several years? For me it is just not enough.

However I hope he can continue on this form and prove he is not another Hill or Villeneuve (good with great cars, average to poor with good to average cars). Even making a lot of people doubt is already a positive step.


I think that's being unfair on Hill, granted he did fade in his last year at Jordan but to almost win in Hungary in 97 in an Arrows was nothing short of astonishing.


I am really glad to see Jenson starting to get some recognition. I am a JB fan and in all honesty I was not sure how he would do at McLaren.

What I was sure of is that I think he is underrated and is showing that he is a class driver.

Everybody was expecting him to be blown away by Lewis, and in reality he is holding his own.

In many ways it was a ballsy decision to go to McLaren, but he knew what he was joining was one of the very best teams in F1. He has obviously become popular at the team.

For me it is not just about Jenson V Lewis (as I support them both). I am just really enjoying having two good british drivers at McLaren and both doing a good job.

Great drive by Lewis today again, and it is good to see him softening the edges a little when he speaks to the press.


how will the flight delays affect the Barcelona upgrades? I'm assuming most will fly to whereever they can then go overland?


Depends on how long the delays last. Foreign Office is advising only that there are no flights tomorrow. Freight is due to leave China at the end of the week.


I have always followed Button and have had many a friendly arguement about his place in F1. More so since Jenson made the move to Mclaren. Jenson made an impact on his debut season like many of today's 'young' stars. But has mainly been forgotten about or written off as another who didn't reach his potential.

Lewis had another amazing race to give Macks a well deserved 1-2.

A friend of mine.. A lewis fan... Text me after the race and admitted to being suprised to see Button doing so well as he never looked 'as out and out fast as lewis' - just different styles I replied. It's about being quickest to the chequered flag. Jenson done that. And if it weren't for having a safety car it would have been by quite a margin too.

Great drive. Current champion. Current WDC leader. Keep proving people wrong.


Always been a JB fan - fantastic drive today.

One point I would make. The pressure any driver on course for a World Championship is under must be immense - irrespective of the car or how good the team. That pressure was probably even greater for JB who spent the best part of his career in the middle of the pack with an unreliable or slow car watching his career slide past. His WC was the defining moment of his career

Now that pressure is gone and there is the different pressure - race pressure. Hamilton in someways lucked out getting the WC so early in his career as that monkey was off his back almost straight away - he races as a pure racer. Now JB is in the same place psychologically its going to be a real interesting season - a level playing field in all respects - also including Alonso and MSC. Just a shame Kimi is still there as this would have been a perfect season with him.

Webber and Vettel are now next up in that "got the car, got the talent-should get the WC" pressure JB was under. They don't seem to be coping as well as JB did either.


"Webber and Vettel are now next up in that “got the car, got the talent-should get the WC” pressure JB was under. They don’t seem to be coping as well as JB did either."

Perhaps Webber, but I think that's a little unfair on Vettel. I think he's coping very well. His machinery, on the other hand.......


Fair point Jeff. Still the pressure grows and the mistakes start to creep in...


I'll happily hold my hands up to being one of the people who gave him no chance against Hamilton, in Hamilton's own team. I thought he would get completely blown out of the water and would not win a race this season, even if the car was on the pace.

He has been really impressive this season, he really seems to have come of age - he's driving brilliantly, looking completely relaxed and reading the races/conditions brilliantly.

It's Hamilton who's looking the driver uncomfortable with the team, getting rattled and making mistakes.

I still don't think Button has the outright pace of Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel (and Kimi), but he is a far more complete driver than the others (with the possible exception of Alonso).

It's going to be interesting to see how the dynamic between Jenson and Lewis develops over the year - Lewis is all smiles right now, but it is looking increasingly false to me.


"I still don’t think Button has the outright pace of Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel (and Kimi), but he is a far more complete driver than the others (with the possible exception of Alonso)."

Now, that is a statement too far.


Give Lewis a break. He is being very gracious, but he does want to win himself, not roll over and let his teammate win. I'm sure Button's smiles would look very false if the situation was reversed, if he was smiling at all.

Robert Higginbotham

Congratulations to Button on his win. I have never been a big fan of his, and have considered his past victories to be to some extent fortuitous. But today there were no doubts about his performance.

There was just one issue, however. I remember him having a big sulk after he went off the track when Schumi bunched the field up at Monza one year (2000?). It seems that his opinion of the appropriateness of such tactics is somewhat flexible.


You are assuming of course that it was a deliberate tactic.

Remember it was a tricky spot on the track where the cars all bunched up, in fact thats the spot where JB aqua planed off 5 laps from the end.

So I'd be more inclined to give him the benefit of doubt and say he was being a bit overly cautious.


I too am impressed by Button at the moment, but...

The statement "those who put Buttons win in Melbourne down to luck surely now have to concede that it was skill not luck etc etc..." just doesnt ring true. How can you possibly guess what the rain will do? If, after Jenson stayed out on slicks, it rained just a tiny bit more he would of had to pit and would have been put back down the grid. How was it NOT luck? Hamilton has had some bad luck this year where as Button has had a fair amount of good luck.

Hamilton's race performances have made him the class of the field.

But, in the fairness, where I think Button has impressed is qualifying, where he has been able to get the tyre temp to peak at the right time. Something Hamilton has usually been good at.

Another point, for a neutral viewer, I think people are entertained by a fightback more than a tyre choice win. Oh and another! Isnt it funny how much like Senna and Prost the jense hammy battle is turning out to be? One driver, controversial, aggressive, hot headed, a touch arrogant, yellow helmet, the other, Intelligent, well liked, smooth, a tad dull, blue helmet?? Turning out to be a classic season.


but he is a far more complete driver than the others (with the possible exception of Alonso).

Even rookies don't jump the start mate!


Jenson is someone who has very sensitive feel for track conditions. It's not a surprise he's made good tactical decisions.

Hamilton is still the quicker of the two. Before his tires were shot, his pace throughout the race was much quicker. I don't think we should make a comparison of the two on qualifying, as strange things have happened to Lewis in quali this year. He was miles quicker than Button in Q1 and Q2 this weekend and had a mysterious problem with the car in Q3, otherwise all indicators show he would have been miles quicker then, too. Malaysia qualifying was a crapshoot, and in Oz he ran into traffic.

Also, when Button's tires went away at the end, Hamilton started catching him massively. So with poor tires in poor track conditions, Hamilton was quicker.

I feel pretty confident in saying that Hamilton is the quicker of the two. But I think Button is showing that he's a lot better than people have given him credit for.


yeah, I wouldn't read so much into the 3-1 to Button in quali. I recall early on quite a few people complely misreading Kovy's chances against Hamilton based on his quali performances. For the kind of driver Hamilton is he a surprisingly erratic qualifier. I would still back him to beat Button most times. It looks odd that the only session Button was faster was Q3. Nerves/pressure getting the better of Lewis?

For me what was really impressive from Button, as Dan mentioned in an earlier post, was in a straight fight at the end Button was able to pull away from Hamilton. After Hamilton had passed Rosberg it looked as though he would simply catch Button. Clearly Lewis on intermeds at that track didn't suit his driving style. He was complaining to the pit lane about his bald tyres while Button was pulling away. The only difference was Lewis had pitted for his intermeds a lap before Jenson.

Brillant race. And I'm sure it must dig at Lewis to hear Whitmarsh talking like that about Button. It was a near flawless drive from Button but no question the overtake on Vettel was the move of the day for me.


Great article James!

Indeed, Jenson is driving better than ever this year: very composed, very confident and has completely thrashed Lewis 🙂

I am also pleasantly surprised by his performance, which i had not expected -- maybe only John Button did!


One thing that I noted is the body language of Button and Hamilton on the podium. They seemed really freindly, it's the first time I've really seen Lewis with a broad smile on his face because his team mate has won. Some good camaraderie there at the minute - unlike Ferari where Alonso mugged Massa going into the pitlane. As a patriotic Brit I hope the McLaren love is still there at the end of the season!


I agree it was good to see. They both have a certain charisma and that combined with them both being English im sure makes the relationship more at ease.

At least I think so, Button has been through the F1 grinder for long now, Hamilton must know this and respect that, considering Hamilton's high profile they do have a lot in common.

No doubt Hamilton will not be happy being 2nd to Button, however Hamilton is the future and I hope Button helps him mature into an even greater driver.


The over whelming reason Button went to McLaren was because Haug chasing Schumacher all over the place to get him to drive for them, whilst the championship was still going on.

Button was not lucky today, he made his own luck and deserved the plaudits. But unless the majority of races are favoured with rain, I can see Hamilton slipping by at some stage. Whitmarsh must be delighted, I don't think he could pick a better pair of drivers.


Great site this JA, it has been on speed dial for a year now.

When I was a lad, I used to play a Formula 1 board game. You could progress quickly and take risks, but you only had so much brake and tyre potential to exploit, and when you ran out, you'd suffer, having to pit. It rewarded good judgement as well as pace. For the first time in a long while, the real F1 is like that...the re-fuelling ban being the instrument of the change.

Button is clearly combining pace with good judgement, as he did last year, He comfortably defeated Rubens last year, who is no slouch.

It is great to see two British drivers with contrasting styles up at the front: one cavalier and gung-ho, the other an intelligent judge and assessor of risk.

In some races Lewis will come out on top with his dashing cut and thrust, in others Jenson will play the long strategy game and triumph. It is making the season fascinating to watch.

Add in the obnious talents of Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Massa, Rosberg etc and we are already seeing a season that is living up to the pre-season hype.


At the moment he is beating Hamilton, its a fact. Better drivers: Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, maybe Rosberg. But he is a great guy and a very good driver.


Rosberg a better driver than Jenson ?

I'll have some of what you're smoking mate.

Nico has done well, but IMO you have the Top 2 in Lewis and Alonso, then 2 more in Jenson and Vettel (both will make it a Top 4 by the end of the season imo).

And then the rest, with Kubica at the head of that pack pushing to be in the next group.


It`s like Massa beating Kimi sometimes, I will never think for a minute that Massa is better driver, not even close, but F1 is not just about driving fast.


I think Massa lack racecraft in overtaking. But hes certainly fast.


Brilliantly played win from Jenson, for his second victory of the season. It's interesting that on race day at least, Hamilton has looked the fastest of the McLaren drivers at all four races, yet Jenson has taken the two victories.

As much as I applaud Jenson on his tyre choices he has taken in the races to make a difference, (and it almost worked out in Malaysia, but he came out the pits just behind Lewis) is that he seems to have this approach of "I can't beat Lewis on pace, so I need to do something different on strategy to beat him," and over a 19 race calendar, well I don't think that can last, and Lewis will probably learn quickly from his mistakes to end the season as top McLaren driver. But no doubt it must be killing Hamilton to have Jenson come into his team and win half the opening races.


Rumor: Button for Ferrari 2011 instead of Kubica.


Unless they offer megabucks (perhaps but if he delivers another WDC then so will McLaren) and McLaren start running poor cars (doubtful), that is unlikely.


I thought Button would struggle against Hamilton, espicially as was walking into Hamilton's team, and how Hamilton has managed to get an edge against all of his F1 Team mates. Although I do understand that its has only been two drivers! But good luck to Button I am glad he is proving himself, and getting the credit for that!


Hamilton is showing exactly how Alonso in 2007 should have reacted when getting beaten by his teammate. By even celebrating with the team!

Instead, Alonso got angry with McLaren, then betrayed McLaren whilst denying everything, then being sacked! Now in 2010 he admits that this experience made him 'grow up'.

How refreshing to see Hamilton show his aggression on the track, where it belongs.


I’m amazed at how many people didn’t believe Button was a champion in the waiting, there have been many superb drives that showed he has more skill than other world champions, didn’t anyone see how he faired against ’97 champ Jacque Villeneuve? Sadly half of his sublime performances have gone unnoticed as he’s driven inferior cars for most of career, but Frank Williams always said he’s world championship material and having worked with Jenson, he would know best.


I think Martin Whitmarsh should be applauded for getting Jenson into a Mclaren this year. He now has two drivers who are both very good at what they do and no sense of animosity between them (at this point in the season) and both have won the WC and so that extra pressure of life's ambition is eased somewhat as they can both now race knowing that they are already World Champions rather than for that exclusive hard earned status.

I do though also see parallels of Senna and Prost again though but in their personalities but in their driving styles. Lewis with the bit between his teeth is amazing to watch of that I have no doubt and will always be exciting to watch (perhaps grids should be reversed with points for qualifying after all) and always seems to get the maximum out of the car. Yet Jenson mostly seems so smooth as if driving within himself and his car, I get the feeling that when strategy is discussed and JB is told that he will be pitting on lap X, that he drives the car so actually the tyres will be fine up to X+5 so there is always that bit of leeway. We saw last year that when need be JB is one of the best overtakers out there so can be agressive but also decisive at the same time.

At the end of the day I get the sense that Lewis tries to achieve in one lap what Jenson will settle for over the whole race - with the objective to be at the front.

We won't know who is the better driver until the end of the season, and I strongly believe that there will not be a vast amount in it.


I'm quite sure that when we look back in 15 or 20 years, LH will have had the better career, won the most WDCs, etc. (This is obvious given the first 9 or so years of Jenson's career...)

As a fan of both (moreso Jenson... perhaps just due to his charm and more self-effacing personality off the track) I'd probably give Lewis the edge on racecraft... but it would be a slight edge, and in terms of tactics and race strategy it appears that Jenson has the edge right now. It's still early in the season, but given the current arc I don't believe that the naysayers (Lewis will dominate Button, what an awful move for Jenson...) have a leg to stand on.


Let me join the list of growing convertees! Button is doing a really good job, great drives and smart. Raw Pace? I think Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso probably have a bit more all else being equal. However I think we are seeing that Buttons racecraft is on par with the Alonso/Schumacher level (a razor cut above Hamilton/Vettel).


I too was questioning the wisdom of Button joining McLaren and going up against Hamilton, so far proving me wrong.

Great call from Jenson on tyres as he did in Australia, great drive.

Red Bull don't seem to have the pace in the wet than they have in dry, anyone else noticed this?


Red Bulls wet pace is still very fast, but i assume it cannot match mclarens for longevity due to tyres.

Fastest laps indicate that they have the potential. They didn't win the majority of 09 wet races from nothing.



I just want to point something out. Is it possible that in Martin Whitmarsh's bid to "favour" Button, there is some sabotage against Hamilton? How is it that he was so much quicker (5 tenths in Q1 and Q2) and then suddenly in Q3 he had no pace? Is it possible that his tyre pressures are being adjusted? MW feels that Hamilton has had it easy for a while and maybe feels that he needs to be taken down a peg or two. As some earlier posts mention, if staying out on slicks had been the worse option, everyone would be talking about what a poor choice made so, for Jense to say luck doesn't come into it is pride. If Hamilton says something like that, he is immediately crucified by (guess who?) the BRITISH PRESS!!! I think that McLaren, in their bid to provide "equality" to Jenson, have compromised Lewis a great deal. It would have come back to bite them in the bu** except that Lewis is a fighter and will not give up. He may not suspect that anything is amiss but his lack of experience may count against him unlike Alonso who immediately felt that he was being sabotaged. Also, the lack of a string personality like his father, Anthony, to make sure things are going right in the garage counts against him. Overall, he will become a better person for it but I think that Martin Whitmarsh is clearly biased towards Jenson.

Alanis Morisette

To be fair, it's natural, as we've been led to believe, he appears to have made the call to hire Jenson, he'd want to 'prove' he was right. It may even be completely subconcious!

And, one things for sure, Ron would favour Lewis, just like he favoured Senna over Prost, and Kimi/Mika over DC. In my opinion, rightly so - agression and talent are what separates the true greats who will be remembered forever in the sport from the canny and cunning. Both have a place for sure, and maybe the latter is the better strategy overall in terms of results.

I don't understand how anyone can debate this point - who would you rather watch? Lewis, Senna, Kimi and Mansell, or drivers like Button, Prost and Piquet Sr?


Really, in selecting a No. 1 driver for a team, in my opinion you should select the driver that has the better statistical record of the two long before the season starts so you can build the car and team around the No. 1 driver's strengths and always making sure that he gets the better strategy most of the time, if not all the time. In McLaren's case, the No. 1 driver should be Lewis.


I'm not sure I agree. Mclaren is all about winning. Who cares whether in some peoples eyes on driver is better and more exciting than another.

If you are implying Prosts wins and championships were less valuable than ayrton that's not very objective.

Yes, win with excitement and panache when possible. But win first....

Alanis Morisette

I wasn't implying that Senna's championships were more worthy than Prost's at all (well, except maybe 1993 when he vetoed Senna at Williams too!).

As I said, both styles are valid. What I'm saying is the drivers that live long in the memory for most people are the ones that are stylish and really demonstrate they are giving everything on the track. Yes that may seem shallow - don't get me wrong a clever win is equally admirable, but it doesn't excite in the same way.

Which is why I said what I said about Ron Dennis. From everything I've read - yes he's obsessed with winning, but you can see from the relationships he had with his drivers he too believes a heart in the mouth, seat of the pants drive is always a bit more special.


Is it not just that jb is a likeable bloke. You're hardly likely to day yeah it was ok but I'd rather lewis won are you?

Any statements that the reason lewis is bot doing as well is because of sabotage are just rubbish. Both drivers had good pace yesterday and lewis admitted on the BBC forum that he made the wrong call to pit.


Sadly I am getting the feeling Martin slightly favours Button as well, I do hope I'm wrong though.

The fact is it is impossible to treat two different people the same, being human we'll always like one more than another.


@TRix, C Pitford, Ryan Eckerd, Dale.

These same 'conspiracy theories' were reeled out last year by Kovalainen fans to explain why he was beaten by Hamilton by so much.

Think about this for a minute. The quite considerable amount of money the teams receive at the end of the season is divided amongst the teams based on how many points they have won. If the constructors championship is close, having one or two points more can earn the team up to an extra $4 million. Why on earth would any team deliberately sabotage their drivers results with that sort of money at risk?

As for Lewis's tyres being 'tampered with' before Q3, why would they do that when they need to get both cars as near the front as possible to stand the best chance of getting the most points? If they had tampered with the tyres it mustn't have been much as Hamilton in Q3 was only a tenth of a second behind his fastest Q2 time - the difference being more obviously down to Hamilton making a tiny mistake in his Q3 run than any conspiracy theory.


Ha ha ha!

I must admit i am really really enjoying this post! The Hammy-fans are turning into conspiracy theorists after all, because he is outdriven by Button!

I really love it 🙂 And guess what: now they say that Alonso was indeed sabotaged at McLaren ... wonderful!!


Agree with you too, it is not possible (unless in changeable conditions) to be faster than your teammate by a long way in Q1 and Q2 then suddenly have no pace Q3. It is a form of team orders and is not fair or equal. Being fair and equal is all about giving your drivers a package that suits them without anyone being disadvantaged. It is quite clear that the tyre pressures for Lewis in Q2 Australia and Q3 China have been tampered with, and the FIA need to take action against McLaren because this is clear cut team orders.


What utter nonsense. Why mclaren would do something like that is cloud cuckoo land.

I suppose you have factual backup for slanderous accusations like this?

4 races in and jenson is ahead. I support both British drivers and wish them both well but it makes my blood boil when statements accusing a good team like mclaren of deliberately favouring another is rubbish.


Yes I do have evidence of this going on. Australia: Q1: HAM 0.149 behind BUT

Q2: HAM 0.653 behind BUT

China: Q1: HAM 0.481 in front of BUT

Q2: HAM 0.515 in front of BUT

Q3: HAM 0.055 behind BUT

It is quite clear that McLaren have sabotaged Hamilton's qualifying in two races this year to try and give Button an advantage. It is clear team orders and is not fair or equal.


I agree with you - there is definitely something fishy going on at McLaren. I too suspected they had done something subtle to Hamilton's tyres in Q3. Hamilton doesn't even have anyone to hold his umbrella anymore, and the media goons standing behind Button stare at him with googly eyes, while they glower at Hamilton. Whitmarsh also always subtlety over praises Button and gives a kind of forced second hand praise to Hamilton. And Phil Prew - isn't he supposed to be the head of both engineers but is always in Button's side. Why did Lewis have to change engineers? Massa kept Smedley when Alonso came to the team. I think it is definitely suspect and disgusting, and the fact that Hamilton is still doing so well despite getting no help from his engineers and being effectively pushed out the team is testament to how good he is. If Button was treated like that at Brawn if he had a new teammate, there would be uproar. And yes, you can sneer at mine and Trix's theory, but I am convinced it's true.


Both Hamilton and Button have new engineers. Last years engineers were prompted. Button's is Jakob Andreasen, Hamiltion's is Andy Latham. Phil Prew is the head engineer. They were both given new engineers for parity and to promote harmony.

To be honest though, you're talking rubbish. Why on earth would McLaren sabotage any of their drivers? Especially with all the lessons that they learnt from the Hamilton Vs Alonso season.


I'm sorry but I can't see why they would do that. There is too much conspiracy theory sometimes


@ Alistair

you've said it all mate. no point regurgitating it. Button has had a load of luck in the 2 races he's won. Dont get me wrong, he is a good driver and at some point 10 years ago, he was my favourite driver but for me he certainly is not in the class of Hamilton or Alonso. Listen, it was a win win situation for Button in any case. If he was slower than Lewis, people would say that was to be expected since it was Lewis's team blah blah blah, but if he was faster than Lewis, then he is a king. Be that as it may, I still maintain that its a long season with 15 races left. We need a dry normal race to see where Button stands again Lewis. Not another wet chaotic race where the choice of tyre made the difference.


Jenson made the right call today; but that should not detract from the fact that his other previous calls were clearly guesstimates - with one all ending well, and the other not.

So lets call a spade a spade, and not get carried away. I guess he is refining his strategic nous. Nothing wrong with that.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I am not a fan of Jenson Button. Maybe because he has never truly been the quickest or maybe because his driving style is not the most spectacular and acrobatic.

However, I think that he has improved a lot as a driver and even if he doesn't win the WDC this year he has had a few very good performances in 2010 that will improve the value of his 2009 WDC crown.

Despite Hamilton being the quicker of the two, Button has kept his head and dealt with the pressure very well. Well done.

I still think that 2010 will be for the big boys though....Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel. Don't write off Felipe Massa yet. He has never shone in the wet, but should pull off some good performances on the high speed tracks this year. And we have Istanbul coming up of course....


Vettel has car advantage this year like button had last year but doesn't seem to have been able to take this advantage. Button, it seems will always be criticised but the results are beginning to show that he can perform despite huge pressure and expectation. Lets see what happens over the next few races.


I think the Brawn GP 2009 season was a fairytale and I hope Button retaining his world championship will be another this year.

I have been one of the many who posted on this forum that I feared for Button going up against Hamilton but I am so glad that he is proving his doubters wrong.

I expect Ross Brawn rues the day he decided to court Schumacher rather than secure Button for this season. The Button/Rosberg pairing would have been an intriguing combination given Rosberg's performance so far. Ironic really when you consider that the considered opinion was that these two would be out performed by their team mates.

Richard Hoyland

A great race from Button and I genuinely mean that as a Lewis Hamilton fan. Luck, or good fortune certainly did have a small part to play in his win today though. It COULD HAVE rained harder when he decided to stay out, it was a gamble which paid off handsomely for him and you could argue that he 'made his own luck'. No-one knows for certain what the weather will do. This time and in Australia it paid off, another time he may end up looking silly. It's a long season and it won't all go his way.


As I said in the previous thread, I'm still not sure Button can live with the best for pure speed.. I think the fact that F1 has become so much more about who can conserve whilst retaining a good pace rather than sprint race series between pitstops really plays into Button's hands, but I'm not sure that's the best model to assess driving excellence.


But that is the model all 24 drivers have to work with this season.


It's also very similar to model that created the Senna - Prost - Mansell era.


Only real difference is I don't recall them having to work with two types of tyre to keep the supplier happy?! Let em race on the optimum tyre for the circuit!


However, Paul, if we accept that line of thinking then we have to discount any of the great drives from Prost, Senna, Mansell, Rosberg (the walrus-moustached one), etc, from the history books - tyre and car management have ALWAYS been an integral part of Grand Prix racing. One could argue that this year's return to that formula is precisely the best model to assess driving excellence.


Absolutely right steve. Super fast over 10 laps does not win a race. I for one hope jenson keeps racking up these boring wins and points while the "great" drivers finish behind him.


TRIX, as an ex team owner I can assure you of one thing. You are way off base!Teams do not have the time or cn they afford the waist of energy on that kind of psych junk. Button races in a style that better fits the car design of the moment.....



I might just as well get quite a few things offf my chest. The English are Masters in shooting themselves on the foot. I've lived in several countries including Germany and if the roles were reversed between LH and Vettel pitlane incident, never in a million years would you have a german commentator in the position of Brundle say Hamilton should be purnished and would get a grid penalty. They wouldve argued that it was a racing incident and even said Hamilton pushed Vettel towards the pit crew. Thats why the German beat us all the time is football and other sports. We are fond of sabotaging ourselves. the English woundnt know it if a good thing like the immense talent like Hamilton with a killer instinct hit us in the face . thats why we keep coming up shot in most sports.


It's too early to tell: After the Australia '09 win, Jenson told a story about how Ross Brawn had asked what it felt like to finally win a GP? Jenson replied "What do you mean? I've already won one." And RB responded "No, I mean properly," by which he meant without any odd rain-induced mayhem. So RB didn't really count Jenson's first win because he'd "lucked" into it. I suspect the rest of the F1 community discounts wet wins like this (unless they're truly extraordinary, like Senna at Donington).

Now clearly JB has won at least three GPs in the circumstances, so it's probably more than just luck, but I think that to really shut everyone up, he needs to win, in a McLaren, in the dry, when Lewis Hamilton also has a clean race.

Having said all that, I've been a believer since the beginning, and always kept an eye out to see how he was doing through the dark Renault/Honda/BAR days. And he's certainly doing no worse than Alonso did up to this point in the season.


"I suspect the rest of the F1 community discounts wet wins like this (unless they’re truly extraordinary, like Senna at Donington)."

And Lewis at Silverstone 2008!!!


What a blasphemy!

Senna was driving a far inferior car when he did his Donington heroics, not the fastest car like Hamilton...

Alanis Morisette

Taking nothing away from Senna's brilliance that day, the rain does even things out quite a lot in terms of car performance differences, so driver skill contributes a lot more, so the comparison stands.

Although it still doesn't come close to 1993, I agree!


Allen's writing is started to show a decided bias in favor of Button. And it's affecting his logic.

Allen states "His win in Melbourne, which like today’s win was based on a crucial tyre choice at a pivotal moment, was dismissed by many as lucky because he was forced to pit because his intermediate tyres were worn out. That early call gave him the platform for the win but from then on he still had to drive most of the race on a single set of tyres.

Today he disproved the theory that luck has anything to do with it; he, Rosberg, Kovalainen and the Renault drivers stayed on slicks in light rain in the early laps, while most of the runners pitted for intermediates."

But Button haven't chosen wisely today doesn't disprove that luck contributed to his win in Australia. The 2 events are unconnected because clearly in Australia Button has no choice but to change tires, by his own admission.

Further along, Allen states that "He made one mistake, near the end of the race, locking up his wheels and going off the track, after which he also struggled to get the tyres up to temperature, which allowed Hamilton to close up."

But in reality Hamilton had started to catch Button well before Button spun.

To be sure, Button had a great race. But I think it also speaks volume about Hamilton's race that he made 4 pit stops compared to Button's 2, his last stop took longer that's Button's and yet he was able to finish a mere 1 second behind Button.

Moreover, we always hear that Button is a master, a professor at managing his tires, whereas Hamilton hasn't a clue. In the last pit stop sequence, Hamilton pitted on lap 37, Button a lap later on lap 38. When Button came back out he resumed his lead. Still, Button's tires were a lap fresher than Hamilton's, he didn't push as much as Hamilton did, and yet even his tires were worn by the end of the race.

So in that last sequence I'd say Hamilton managed his tires as well as Button, even though he drove a much more aggressive last segment than Button.


Lewis Hamilton fell back to 7+ seconds from Button, having reported that he had worn out his tyres, especially his Left Front. Presumambly because he was pushing hard to catch Button. Had he continued to close the gap on Button, he would have capitalised on Button going off at the Hairpin. Button was unable to get his tyres up to speed after the 'off' so if your theory is correct, why was Hamilton not close enough to get pass Button?


Bear in mind that Hamilton lost a considerable amount of time trying to get past Rosberg, which allowed Button to open up the gap. It wasn't that Button was consistently faster than Hamilton.

By the time Hamilton got past Rosberg he didn't have much tire left. Of course neither did Button. But my issue with the article was the assertion or rather the implication that is was Button's off that allowed Hamilton to catch up, rather than allowing some credit to Hamilton for actually getting himself up to Button.

And again, the implication is always that Button is very good on tires and Hamilton is not very good. But while both drivers ended with worn tires, Hamilton spent a considerable amount of time dueling with Rosberg to wear down his tires. Whereas, Button was well ahead and didn't have to fight anyone. But more importantly he had the luxury of looking for wet track to preserve his tires. That wasn't the case with Hamilton, certainly not while he was trying to pass Rosberg.


Good point about tyre wear. Everyone drones on about how good Button is on tyres but he hasn't had to rag them like Hamilton has. That's a credit to his judgement and how he's managed to stay out in front but my point is that these tyres are so solid that under flag-to-flag conditions it won't make a jot of difference that he's 5% more efficient....


Me thinks you have a point, it's clear to me that Button is liked more than Hamilton and maybe that clouds judgement, we always want out mates to do well don't we?

Alistair Blevins

"To be sure, Button had a great race. But I think it also speaks volume about Hamilton’s race that he made 4 pit stops compared to Button’s 2, his last stop took longer that’s Button’s and yet he was able to finish a mere 1 second behind Button."

You miss a crucial point here. Button had 2 pit stops in hand before the intervention of the safety car. If not for this event, Hamilton wouldn't have finished second.


Hamilton did not produce the safety car. Yes, it may have flattened Button's lead, but it was part of the race, in as much as inheriting a lead from a driver ahead who has a equipment failure or a miscue.

So arguments that focus on the safety car are like "what ifs..."

Alistair Blevins

This is not about 'what if', this is about analysing all the factors that contributed to the result.

The point being made in the paragraph was that Hamilton had 4 stops, Button only 2 - and that Hamilton finished only a second behind him. The part the safety car played was not mentioned, and this was integral to Hamilton's race in reducing the deficit to Button.


Well said and excellent points about the tyres.


'But in reality Hamilton had started to catch Button well before Button spun.'

Not sure I go along with that, Eff. Lewis had got the gap down to 2.627s on Lap 42 (when Jenson lost 1.1s in traffic), but by Lap 49 Jenson had put together a string of laps that meant he pulled the gap out to 9.987s. Next lap Lewis got it down to 9.150s, and the next lap was the one where Jenson lost a chunk of time (roughly 3.8s) bimbling off the road at Turn 14.

So he started catching him a lap before he went off the track, but prior to that in the last segment JB was very definitely the quicker of the two McLarens.


"To be sure, Button had a great race. But I think it also speaks volume about Hamilton’s race that he made 4 pit stops compared to Button’s 2, his last stop took longer that’s Button’s and yet he was able to finish a mere 1 second behind Button."

As you leave out the fact that Buttons 58 second lead over Hamilton was almost all taken away by a safety car.


JB had over a minute lead on Lewis before the safety car was brought out for the Torro Rosso debris. That lead was decimated by the four (?) laps they spent behind the SLS.


It's a great story, this. I too held out little hope for Button, and felt he was winning mostly because of the car last year.

But even though James says 'all conquering' Brawn, it was seemingly not so clear cut in the second half of the season, as the form of Mercedes so far this year has underlined.

Nothing like getting written off and then hitting back in style - Button really seemed emotional about the Melbourne win and this one, too. Good on him!!


It's still early stage in the season, so wait and see how it develops, everything can happpen as these first four races showed us. But...

1/ I'm among the ones who did not believed in Button before the start of the season. I was wrong. I'm impressed. Not because of a one-shot performance during the race, but because of a high global and consistant performance during the whole week-end. Button can become the first man to win two consecutives championships in two different cars since Fangio 55/56 and 56/57.

2/ Can't remember Schumacher ever struggling so much, whatever the reasons are. Next Mercedes updates scheduled for Barcelona will be a key factor for the rest of the season and maybe Schumacher's F1 future. James, would like to read your thoughts and insights about that. Some are reporting in Germany that Schumacher gives himself untill Canada's GP to improve... and then...

3/ What a difference between Alonso and Massa... impressive... not sure Ferrari will hurry to sign his 2011 new contract...


Schuey's problems are puzzling to say the least. Shows why he did so much testing back when you could. He liked to try everything. He's not getting the car set up right and is overusing the tyres. But a guy with his experience and feel should be able to get it sorted. Watching him on board in quali it was like another driver.

I can't wait to Monaco and I will watch him through Tabac and Swimming pool. He always had an explosive way of attacking those corners. I will see if he's still got it


So many here are saying that Lewis is the better driver but JB is ahead in the drivers championship and has won two races to Lewis' none?

It must be the qualifying results that prove that Lewis is the faster guy... Ah...

The 'fastest' guy, the better driver is the one that ends up in front of the others - there is no other measurement than the clock after 300km or the distance after 2hrs. Racing is a combination of skill, experience, instinct and a touch of luck.

It's very simple and there is no argument.


So you're saying that because Button is leading the championship he is a better driver than Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Rosberg.


Given he's been on the same track, with the same weather in a car built to the same rules as everyone else, it would appear that on 2 occasions he has been and overall more consistant - that's how you lead the WDC.

Whether someone thinks driver X is the best can often be subjective but the results speak for themselves.

I will also admit that the car is a hugely important factor as well but benchmarked against his team mate he's come out on top so far. Why is that?


Well it sounds like you have it all covered, so by your rationale if Lewis wins the next 2 races and goes top he will be the better driver. But if Jenson wins the race after that and goes top he will be the better driver again. And if Alonso wins the next 4 races after that and goes top he will be the best driver. What your basically saying is that external factors play no part in race results and if a driver wins a race he was the best driver regardless of how that win came about. It's like saying that a speed skater that wins Olympic gold thanks to all his competitors crashing out in front of him was the fastest racer, the best racer. Not only is this untrue, it's completely illogical.


@Alistair: The 50 seconds advantage was nullified by the later safety car, so the advantage was merely in the track ordering - leaving the cars who hadn't pitted all ahead of the cars that had pitted.

What it comes down to then isn't just that those cars who stayed on slicks were ahead - but also that they could make the tyres work in the conditions.

If Button couldn't actually drive on the Slick in marginal conditions, he wouldn't have made the most of his decision to stay out.

It *certainly* isn't luck. It's about making the right decision that fits with both the conditions *and* the abilities.

I'm mostly a Button fan, and I realise that watching a win because he got the "feel" right *isn't* exciting to the viewers. I'm really enjoying watching Lewis' fight his way back through the pack, but I do so in the knowledge that he's forced to do this by having made earlier mistakes (that's too strong - just slight mis-judgements perhaps). Just what will he do when he learns some of the calm decision-making from the other side of the garage? I really hope he does too...

As for Alonso. Yet another great performance that is really just a "save" for a first-lap screw-up. Brundle's quote was "You can't win a race in the first lap, but you certainly can lose one". Aside from the fact that Vettel won malaysia from his first lap (and we saw many good moves by Button last year), that statement really applies to Alonso's antics. I wonder if he just gets too het-up in the start?


@44 Pking007:

"We need a dry normal race to see where Button stands again Lewis. Not another wet chaotic race where the choice of tyre made the difference."

Interesting. I think the opposite - and I don't count this race as particularly chaotic, either. I think a race where the weather puts drivers right on the edge of their performance is the best test - one that tests them as being the best control of their whole machine (including the tyres) in trying circumstances.

I'm *loving* the fact that, on one hand, some drivers can make their choice of tyres work better without pitting, while other drivers can pit and still perform the overtaking needed.

If they could make the racing like this *without* the weather, then great - but (witness Bahrain), they can't. I'd rather have another 15 races of marginal, on-the-edge weather to sort this contest out.

Did you hear Paddy Lowe interviewed after the race? These conditions stretch the whole team thoroughly. The WDC after 19 round of this weather would *not* be luck. It would be an extreme testament to skill.


It can't be luck. The second safety car brought everyone together and Button stayed out in front. Surely his luck would have run out then with so many "great" drivers behind him. There's something to be said for managing your tires, me thinks - Button's talent for it was talked about before the season began. Still, it's early days yet.


Jenson seems to be the driver at the moment who has a lot of momentum and certain circumstances seem to favour him. I am a firm believer in Buttons talents (and obviously McLaren are as well) and he seems to be making the most of his experience, analysing the data that the team is giving his, his feedback through the car and making the best decisions. Hamilton at the moment seems to be relying more on the team than his own judgement. It would be interesting to see who has the edge in another 4 races time under "normal" circumstances.


Ok JB is ahead of LH, but who will bet his/her money that at the end seasonv JB will be ahead of LH?

I will not, my money will be on LH. Good jugdment on rainy days can take you so far, but not far enough to be at front at the of the season.

Anyone on JB?


Yes. I'll stick my neck out.

He has clearly pleasantly surprised those at McLaren that matter.

It will be very close though, whoever comes out on top. Both have the ability to be consistent points scorers, and McLarens development pace in season is right up there.


I've already took that bet before the season started - £20 at 16/1 for Jenson to win the title, i'll admit i was going with my heart more than my head.

It isn't looking too bad a bet at the moment, but the season is 19 races and it's stil early.


I've been very impressed with the way Button has been driving this year, but I still think that under normal circumstances Lewis will beat him without any trouble. Having said that Button seems more mature and has been taking good advantage of any chance he's had in terms of race strategy. Overall he has surprised more than one for sure. I'm also amazed by Hamilton's enormous talent that has been in great display this year and there is not much doubt that Hamilton and Alonso are above the rest of the drivers at the moment.


Hi James,

Off topic, I have an idea that in order to crear debri on the track high pressure compressors could be used. If they are placed strategically around the track to cover most of it, the safety car won't be required that often and no marshals need to sprint onto the track. With the high pressure hose the marshal will be off the track and yellow/double yellow would be used.

Between Lewis and Jenson, I think Lewis entertains on track and Jenson could win the championship, albeit unspectacular.

Thanks for the great site.


Coming back to your article James, I would agree that Button has temporarily silenced many a doubter.

His fluidly smooth driving style has proven to be effective many times in his career.

He's hardly the tortoise to Lewis's hare, but is extremely confident of his abilities and not afraid to make decisions on track; whereas it seems to be that Lewis always needs someone else to make his calls for him...

I'm a huge fan of Button and Hamilton and congratulate them both for sterling drives at China.

So referring back to your article I think I would largely agree James.

I don't call this luck in the case of China.


On a separate point, I'm quite shocked how much Schumi struggled in this race and in the races thus far in 2010.

No-one will disagree that Schumi has little to prove after winning 7 drivers titles, however, did Schumi really sign with Brawn/Mercedes thinking he'd be in an all-conquering car as he had once 'he' developed Ferrari the team and Ferrari the respective car to his liking?!

Like many others watching this race I was willing Schumi to show us his old pace, especially in conditions that previously suited him greatly.

I'm far from dismissing him, his return to F1 after his much-publicised 3 year break was exceptionally brave and even more so with the ultra-competitive grid we have in 2010.

How would we all be reacting now if Schumi had driven circles around all the established and new talent in China??

I personally can't wait to see him levelling the playing field with Rosberg; to beat one's team-mate is surely always the first goal of anyone in any F1 team.

Up until China I thought he was reducing his deficit to Rosberg, so I for one can only hope that his confidence returns, for that seems to be his major issue allied to a car that's not set-up to his liking, however much input he's had with it thus far.

Comments anyone, James?


MS has lost no of his racecraft as was witnessed with his dealing of those cheeky enough to overtake him yesterday. To me it seems he is less willing to push it to the limit as much as did when he was in his pomp.


I have always rated Button since his early days in F1 and knew there was the potential to be a champion at some stage of his GP career. Admittedly he did lose the plot for while mainly due to bad management but he's always had the underlying talent to mix it with the best. My only criticism is or was his lack of self belief when things went against him. Those days would appear to be behind him.


The facts are that had the decisions gone the other way with Lewis staying on his tyres and Jenson changing for wets with Lewis have two stops and Jenson 4 there is NO WAY Jenson could have overtaken half as many cars as Lewis did and, in my view, now way would he have finished second with all probability only picking up minor points.

Senna, the greatest driver I have seen (been an F1 follower since the late 60's), never blew away Prost or Mansell, this isn't how F1 is but who follows F1 really thinks either of those two were better than Senna?

Button is a jolly good driver when all is well but never the best and when things are not going so well is all but a mid field driver, the same cannot be said of Hamilton.

It's a real shame Montoya wasn't still in F1 in a competitive car as we'd the have two superb overtakers to look out for instead of one.

As an aside I must say Hamilton just looks a happier bloke now his father isn't around, shame his dad couldn't support him in the same way Button's father does him.



Just thought of something... What's with all this "Button is soooo good on his tyres"??? Has anyone noticed how Bridgestone Engineers constantly praise Alonso for managing his tyres excellently? His style may be smooth to watch and all but Alonso, inspite of his aggressive style, manages his tyres the best out there. And though the Ferrari may be softer on its tyres than the McLaren, there would have been similar praise for Massa if it was all about the car. I think this is something to think about.


Lewis is quicker in the car, Jenson quicker in the head. Id prefer to watch Lewis scrambling through the field every day but Jenson is now a genuinely class act who demands respect.

People as respected as Jackie Stewart said he was mad to go into Lewis' bear pit that is Mclaren but, so far anyway, as an all round driver hes proved to be Lewis' match and more.


I think we need to remind ourselves what JB has stated in pre season testing and more recently

In pre season testing he told the media that he did not feel at home while driving.

A driver needs to feel the car as confortable and cozy as his/her onw bed.

Two reasons need to be there

1) a confortable seta and seatin position

2) a good familiarisation with switches and different displays and functions on a steering wheel

Once the driver have achieved that, then he can concentrate on the driving and to feel the car with his Bum, as Ayton Senna used to say

Only a confortable and confident drive will be able to drive a car in damp/wet condition as good as JB has done in his 2 wins.

When the track is dry, unfortunately, nowadays, the difference between a win of a 5th place is due to track position and how good is the car.

McLaren in qualy trim is not, at the moment, as good as Reb Bull, Ferrari or Renault.

In race trim McLaren is behind Reb Bull and Ferrari and I think the gap is much wider than what we saw so far.

Like everyother sportman, JB has reached a confortable position, he has won what he wanted since being a child and now he can enjoy his driving much more.

If Jenson will maintain his confidence and McLaren will be able to close the gap performance wise in quali, we might see JB winning a second WDC despite a lot of the media and pubblic believe otherwise.



If you look at Button's pace over the whole weekend (including practice) it wasn't brilliant, yes he made a good tyre call but his win was once again dependent on weather conditions mixing the grid up. Everyone is getting very excited and saying that he is outperforming Lewis. Not wanting to be unduly harsh but his championship lead is down to 2 good decisions not world beating driving.

I think it will be interesting once Mclaren find their feet in qualifying and have a truly competitive package. I would say that Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton have clearly been the pick of the drivers but not shared the same fortune as Jenson.


What a load of tosh

He was fastest in 1st practice, 3rd in second practice and out qualified his teammate.

Jenson's good start to his McLaren career seems to have a lot of people rattled.


I think if you look at the data you will find that i'm right. Lewis was the faster driver for most of the weekend including P2,P3,Q1,Q2 and the race where he had the fastest lap and 4 of the the top 10 fastest laps. When Button wins a race from pole in dry conditions you can come back to me.


Fastest in practice doesnt get any points, fastest Q1 and Q2 doesnt get you anywhere.

I have a revolutionary idea. Lets support both British drivers. When Lewis wins, lets be happy, and when Jenson wins, lets be happy.

Why there have to be so many reasons why one is or is not better than the other bemuses me.

I am a big fan of Jenson, but I always cheer on Lewis as well. I dont see those as mutually exclusive.

If they are both at the sharp end come the back of the summer then I will peg my allegiance. But until then, why not support both.


Maybe Button happens to be a late bloomer. Better late than never. The negatives on Button has been extremely harsh. When he signed for McLaren 99.9% of fans indicated that he'll get chewed up by Lewis. I'm glad he's proving doubters wrong.

And he's a much nicer guy.


Let's wait until we get some more dry races before we jump to conclusions.

Button only won the two rain races because of a better pitstop strategy, not because he was better in the rain.

Hamilton was better in the two dry races.


Button has had 4 races in a Mclaren as opposed to Hamilton´s 4th season.

He´s doing ok in a car and team pretty much built around Lewis.


Don't forget Lewis was quick to let everyone know at the launch that he has had a huge say in the design of the 25.

Just wait until JB is FULLY upto speed and at ease in his surroundings.

I can't wait.


LOL at most of these comments - Seriously. Jenson is good and always has been. In the junior formula his record makes Hamilton's look tame... He outperformed his car massively in F3 and then came to F1 and immediately did well in an average car.

Was it 2004 when he had like the 4th fastest car yet was on the podium every other race?

Just because he had a few bad years in a bad car everyone thinks he's naff but these are armchair critics who largely don't know what they're talking about.

Is he as fast as Lewis? Yeah of course he is... Lewis is way more aggressive and Jenson is smooth - These two contrasting styles will benefit each driver at different times of the year. At the end? They'll be pretty much level - I'd put my life on it.


The Button versus Hamilton battle is intriguing. You have the wily old pro and the young bull. Although, I have to say that Hamilton has consistently reminded me of a bull in a china shop this year. Brilliant to watch, but not measured enough.

The new rule set doesn't suit him either, forcing him to drive measured races in order to conserve tyres. I've no doubt he's still quicker than Button in all conditions, just not consistent enough yet. In the "Normal" races so far he's nonchalantly put him away (Bahrain and Malaysia), so I do believe Button is looking better than he actually is, but credit where it's due, he's done well.


I am (ironic mode on) really surprised (ironic mode off) not to see anyone here say a word about the way JB overbraked yesterday almost causing a bad accident of MANY cars behind the SC.

I thought this was forbidden since Lewis did the same. Anyway, I must be too naive to believe in equal rules for everyone.

Lewis is a genius, 80% consistent, and JB can only beat him in those 20% of cases where there is either too much rain or strange calls for pits.

The class in this championship is in the hands of Alonso and Hamilton, a bit maybe in those of Vettel.


I agree, Button has been pretty impressive in these last 3 races. It will be interesting to see how he goes when everything is normal but kudos to him.

He may not be outright fastest but he is definitley someone who seizes his oppurtunities.

I doubted his wdc last season...but I think these last couple of races justify it.

The rest of the season will be great.

I still back Hamilton to comeout on top though!


Too many people have said that Button only got the World Championship last year because the Brawn stood out from the rest. It is one thing to have a fast car, but it takes a good driver to get the best out of it. It takes an even better driver to get results out of a car that is maybe not ast fast as others. I very much hope that Button can now go on to achieve back to back championships!


I read that Jackie Stewart, who had implied that Jenson had made a mistake joining "Hamilton's team" when it was announced, went to congratulate him after the win in Melbourne.

Stewart said something to the effect that it had been a drive that Jim Clark and himself (!) would have been proud of.

Interesting that he specifically likened the win to Clark's style, which Stewart himself has described as "so smooth, he was so clean, he drove with such finesse, he never bullied a racing car...".

Clearly he sees something in the approach that has now delivered Jenson two races, while all the aggressive, eye-catching stuff was going on behind him.


It doesn't change my perception of Button's driving ability one bit. He has only won in chaotic races, sometimes by sheer luck and sometimes by good judgement. So I will give him the latter, he has good judgement. But he is still a mediocre driver, no more, no less. The season is still too young and it will become obvious once again when we get some more normal races, that he is no match for Lewis at McLaren and certainly not in the league of Alonso, Lewis and Vettel.

And by the way, far and away the most impressive drive in Shanghai was Alonso's, who made 1 more pitstop than the podium winners and still only finished 12-13 seconds behind. Had he done only 4 stops he would have won ... from 17th !


HaHa, bitter much ?




"Had he done only 4 stops he would have won … from 17th !"

Really? Did you watch the race, or just look at the results on the internet?

After all the drivers had changed onto intermediates and before the safety car came out, Lewis Hamilton was 50 seconds behind Button, whilst Alonso was 70 seconds behind Button.

The safety car removed all of this advantage.

Michael Prestia

Both Button's wins this year come down to Pure and Simple LUCK!


I hope to see more of these lucky wins while you guys wait for the real wins for the guys you support.


I prefer the guy who overtakes half the field and finishes 1.5 seconds adrift of his team-mate DESPITE having made the wrong decision on tyres rather than Captain Sensible.


So, to sum up, 2 wins to 0 against his team mate, the lead in the drivers' championship and out qualifying his team-mate 3 to 1 is basically just a mediocre driver getting lucky???

I think I'll stick to reading the articles in future.


To sum up the feeling of Button sceptics (me included) I think we wont see Button as being one of the best until he wins outright in the dry against Hamilton and pulls off a few exciting moves. Then, maybe we'l be more likely to concede that he is a match for Hamilton. He needs to prove he can do it in any condition first.

Also, I think it is overlooked how much more experience Button has, Hamilton is still still learning. In a year or two's time he'll be able to add strategic intelligence to his arsenal, and then he'll be untouchable.


Also, it should be remembered that great sportsman are remembered for their style, attitude and ability to entertain as well as results.

At the start of the season everyone was saying the lack of overtaking was a catastrope. Hamilton is almost single handedly changing that. He's worth his weight in gold to F1.


Personally I've always rated Button high since his BAR Honda days when he teamed up with Sato and every one knows how smooth his driving style is :-).

The question now is, how high do I rate Button? My answer is no very much so, not at least in the same league as Schumacher, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel.

At the moment Button is trying to prove a point more than he's being himself, and it's a good thing for him it's all working well. I've red many people including James expressing their doubt over Button's skills and I'm surprised all these people are ready to wash away those doubts based on 2 races (These races were beautiful by the way well done Jens :-)). Don't get me wrong Button deserves all the praise he's getting but people need to see farther than that, that's where the answers are.

Personally I can see Button's weakness already, he doesn't take it well when Hamilton is faster or even overtaking him, the later forced him to make an early stop in Australia and Malesia. He needs to work on it, as Hamilton is getting used to being beaten and that's helping him to become a better driver psychologically. One can only image should Hamilton start leading Button in points,

Alonso said in normal races he'd be leading the championship still and I agree with him...


I apologise if anyone has made this point already, but it's 2.20am and I don't want to read 204 posts.
I did not rate Button, he was lucky last year etc etc. I also thought Lewis would destroy him.
I have had to re-evaluate my theory and I give Button huge credit for what he has achieved this year. He has really impressed me.
I will tell you the reasons why.

A driver called Mika, proved in 1998 and 1999 that he could only win with a Newey designed car.
From his debut, to his first gifted win, he done absolutely nothing. He was gifted his 2nd win and with a dominant car, still was nearly beaten by Schumi.
1999, he just about managed to beat Irvine!!
But what was disgraceful was his performance at the Nurburgring, where once he stopped for wets, just drove round all afternoon till he saw a 6th placed Minardi ahead of him. He was never a race driver and he never proved himself anywhere else.

Damon Hill, a brilliant test driver in 1992, and beat Prost convincingly in some races in 1993. Kept the chase up with Schumi in 1994, despite Senna's fatal accident and the farcical return of Mansell.
1995, let down by car, 1996, WDC.
Now for the interesting bit.

1997 took an Arrows from the back of the grid and nearly won in Hungary, and even his team-mate Diniz qualified high up after all the development.
1998, Jordan went from joke to winning in Spa after Hill's input. With the impetus, they were in contention for championship glory in 1999 with Frentzen.

One team drivers prove nothing, it takes guts to work elsewhere to prove you werent lucky.
I wonder if Hamilton will ever have those balls to move away from Mclaren??


should read:still was nearly beaten by Schumi, not still was beaten by Schumi,



To those who dismiss Button as being mediocre - You guys are funny. I'm not a particular Button fan, I love motorsport in general but do you guys actually look at lap times?????

The difference between the two over a race distance is small and it's their contrasting styles which makes the difference from race to race. You all get hung up on this race or that race - At the end of the season they will be fairly equal - I reckon within a race win (25pts) of eachother. Maybe Lewis will come out on top, maybe Jenson but it won't be a cakewalk for either of them.



those are facts, and they have no place on this forum in some peoples eyes.

Poor James gets hammered whenever he uses facts to back up things that some dont agree with 🙂

Those that expected Lewis to absolutely wipe the floor with Jenson, are having to find other reasons that it isnt happening (ranging from bias towards the nice guy jenson up to accusations of fiddling with Lewis's car - absolutely ridiculous that they would jeopardise their chances in the constructors or to try to drive Lewis out).

Its too early to say who will ultimately come out on top. What is certain, is that they will both have good and bad days, and the margin is not massive.

As a fan of both, I am just really happy to see both in a top team and pushing it forward.


Kudos to Button in acheiving what he has at Mclaren and if he continues and beats Hamilton by seasons end I will eat this plate of humble pie before me.

But Hamiltons consistancy and superb racecraft will expose him as a 2nd teir driver. He's been lucky in getting the two victories I actually find

myself laughing out loud at he's good fortune with the 'tyre calls' and the weather working in his favour....

But thats no way to build a championship year. I still think he lacks out an out pace and the ability to charge through a field like Lewis.

But it makes for a great season.


If it had rained heavier in Melbourne---and it was expected to---then Button would have been absolutely nowhere and the headlines would have been 'Button loses head in Oz when overtaken by Hamilton'.

It was a brave decision, sure, but Button's no shaman. 2 out of 2 times he's lucked in to victory this year. For me, Hamilton's drives have been far more impressive and more memorable.

M. S. Koentjoro

Much has been made about how Button is so dependent on a car that is setup exactly to his liking or else, but so far that has not been the case, he bagged 2 wins albeit not in a "proper" condition and beat Lewis Hamilton 3-1 in qualifying.

Well, if there is a team that can provide him with such setup almost all the time, I am certain he's already in it.

Oh, Hamilton will be his usual aggressive and exciting self, but the prophecies about him using Button to wipe the floor and everything, don't see it happening, wet or dry.


Button is riding a wave of luck... the WDC was 100% thanks to the double diffuser, and his two wins were a result of whacky races, due to fluctuating weather...

The only think consistent here is that Button needs extrodinary levels of luck to compete with the best...

Button is as important to the winning equation as the exchaust pipe on his car...


F1 is all about who crosses the finish line first. There are no points for style-it is definitely entertaining to watch Lewis overtaking numerous cars but if he doesn't cross the finish line first he doesn't win.

Why people, ie Lewis fans ,continually post such things as -"If the race was 1 lap longer Lewis would have won " or "lewis is being sabotaged by Maclaren " is totally beyond me.

I just can't believe Button gets all the flak he does. Last year it was all luck because he had the best car , this year it's all luck because of the rain. While Hamilton bails for the pits Button thinks "I can make slicks work here" and shows his great car control by doing just that.

Even if Jenson wins a race in the dry there will be some underlying reason that he won - it will be nothing to do with talent, the Button bashers will make sure of that.


I think we just have to look at a list of drivers who have won more than 9 Grands Prix to get an idea of the kind ot talent Button has. (One more win and he hits 10).

The drivers on 10 wins are Scheckter, Peterson and Hunt.

On 11 wins and you have Hamilton, Massa, Barichello, and Gilles Villenueve.

Should he get to 12 wins he would join the likes of Reutemann, Jones and Andretti.

On 13 wins we have Ascari and Coulthard.

14 gets you Brabham and Graham Hill.

Good company indeed. You don't 'luck in' to such a number of victories.


Oops, I forgot Berger on 10


Oops, it was Jacques, not Gilles....


Hamilton passed Rosberg by pitting one lap earlier onto his final set of inters. The extra speed of the new rubber allowed him to pass rosberg while he was in the pits changing his tyres on the same lap button changed onto his final set of inters

At this point Jenson and Hamilton were on the same tyres, which were in virtually the same condition. This is the point were both drivers could be best compared. At this point Jenson was able to increase the lead from under 4 seconds to nearly 10 seconds. If Lewis is so much faster than Jenson why was he not able to close the gap at this point?


Exactly. Why was Lewis slower at the end? Why was Jenson faster? Skill, pure and simple. remember the Italian GP a few years ago when Schumacher followed JB and remarked how surprised he was at JB's speed on the opening lap? I do - go on JB and win the WDC again.

Top Tags
SEARCH McLaren Honda
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!