Button and Hamilton forced into bet on who’ll come out on top
McLaren
Button and Hamilton forced into bet on who’ll come out on top
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Jul 2010   |  1:50 pm GMT  |  126 comments

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were today challenged by an 11 year old boy to arrange a bet between themselves as to who will come out on top in the world championship.

11 year old Carl tackles Lewis and Jenson


The challenge, from 11 year old Carl Hillis, came during a press conference organised by British GP sponsor Santander, which I was hosting. The event took place at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Carl has been a patient there most of his life. He is writing an article for the hospital magazine and wanted to know what the loser would have to do if he lost.

Jenson and Lewis agreed that they should have a wager on the outcome and asked Carl what he suggested. He said that the loser, “Should flush his head down the loo!” which cracked Button up. Somehow I think they will come up with something less onerous.

There was another funny moment when I asked the pair about their relationship, given that many people seem to think it will break down at some point. I asked if there were any signs yet that the current pairing of two world champions was heading the way of the ill fated partnership between Senna and Prost.

Hamilton said that it all looked so friendly between them because they are such good actors. “We’re going to Hollywood next,” shouted Button.

“He’s going to Hollywood, I’m going to Bollywood,” said Hamilton.

The pair spoke about the race this weekend, about the major upgrade McLaren is bringing in the form of a blown diffuser and about the sense of calm confidence in the team at the moment.

“I think if you saw the last race, a few cars had new parts and mostly this special blown diffuser that Red Bull rocked up with at the start of the season,” Button said. “They have been working on their update kits and they are a race ahead of us. They came out very strong but I still think we did a very good job in Valencia to get two cars on the podium.”

They also responded to Damon Hill’s assertion that Button is the tortoise and Hamilton the hare in this relationship.

“It’s very interesting to know how past world champions talk about the present drivers, ” said Hamilton through clenched teeth. “We’ll see if it’s true or not and if they know what they’re talking about.”

I’ve seen the pair of them behind closed doors and the relationship is good. There is no doubt that they both realise that to feud would be counterproductive. When the pressure is on at the end of the season, then thinsg might get a little more tense, but Button’s laid back character and ability to take it on the chin when a team mate is faster certainly helps smooth things along.

Damon Hill is the latest in a string of people to suggest that the love-in will end soon, but I’ve not seen a trigger for a break down in relations yet.

McLaren will face stiff opposition from Red Bull this weekend – this is a circuit which will really suit the Red Bull car and Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are both mighty around Silverstone. It should be a fantastic scrap for pole and the win.

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1

I think it is time for a reality check. Hamilton/button are not Senna/Prost. Hamilton may go on to emulate Senna’s achievements, but Button will never get close to Prost’s accomplishments.

2

A good video (from this event?) on the top of http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8797107.stm – really interesting to see the way the two were interacting.

(BBC – so I suspect may be UK only, sorry!)

I think they’re realising they’re both getting a lot out of it, and that they’ve seen where decisiveness gets them (both in Red Bull/Ferrari this year, and in Lewis’ case his season with Alonso).

I suspect both being the same nationality and having the same cultural background has a big influence too, different cultures do things differently and it’s easy to get frustrated by

those differences.

Long may it last.

3

Iceman, Jenson’s so-called laid back attitude surely exploded last year, when questioned about his willing to win, and his killer instinct.

Jenson’s response; ” Does Jenson want this title or not? It’s a pretty silly question isn’t it? Why the f**k am I here?……..some laid back attitude.

4

James, I was watching a clip today of jenson and lewis searching out and sitting in one of ayrtons mclarens.

Again what came across is how well they get on together.

I had forgotten how great the older f1 cars pre-raised noses and narrower cars.

Ayrtons car looked miles wider. How much wider than a modern day car? Jb said they would be much easier to drift.

5

I think that basically, Button is happy just being so close to Lewis on pace.

I’m a massive fan of both drivers and I don’t care what anyone says, Button is quick but Lewis is widely considered the fastest out and out racer on the grid.

Everyone thought that Jenson would get anhialated this year but he’s proving himself to be pretty much as quick as Lewis in the races and perfectly capable of winning if Lewis isn’t or makes a mistake.

I think that this ‘harmony’ within the team will stay because if these two keep fighting at the front and Jenson is always close to and occasionally beating Lewis he will get more respect as a driver than he ever has in his career. We have to remember, his career was almost over 18 months ago and if it had been nobody would have even considered his name in a discussion of great racing drivers.

His statements regarding joining McLaren summed it up for me… He pretty much said that Lewis is the best and I’m going to take up the challenge of beating him in his own team.

That tells me he always knew he could lose but just being close is seriously sticking two fingers up at his critics of the past.

I do need to say though, if Lewis was consistently being beaten he would eventually throw his toys out of the pram and this friendly banter between them would be no more. It’s only Jenson’s acceptance of the inevitable that keeps this friendship going.

6

Good to see they are pushing the team on. I genuinely think they get on well and I dont think they come across like Mark and Seb in those cheesy (all good friends again) pics.

I always though Jenson would be closer to Lewis than people expected.

It will be interesting if the new blown diffuser gives a lot more downforce as expected whether Jenson will be able to get more out of the better car (Lewis does seem to be able to drive around car issues more than Jenson).

James,

any guestimates from your friends in the team in Woking as to how much they’re expecting a lap in improvement? If its north of 0.250 they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

7

Typical of me to think it’s a little cheesy how well they seem to get along on camera, but it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the icy relationships that we usually hear about. I also enjoyed how Trulli and Alonso got along while teammates at Renault – I seem to remember Alonso not throwing a massive fit (publically) when Trulli was ahead of him in 2004.

8
Zobra Wambleska

No, he just quietly got him moved out of the team for the next year.

9

Wouldn’t it be great to have the life of an international car racing playboy!

10

The key reason why they have a good relationship is that Button’s pace.

Lewis have no problem with Jenson and they can remain friends forever because deep down inside he knows Jenson is no match for him just like a lot of experts.

I remember this statement “Form is temporary, class is permanent”.

On form Jenson may be close to Lewis but not close enough. Lewis sometimes makes it closer than it actually is. Sometimes he just cruises where he could have gone faster so that Button could finish 2 seconds behind him. And his fans think, look he is so close. Well, it’s not as simple as that.

And the only reason Lewis doesn’t have any intention to destroy Jenson and make him work for him is that it looks ugly in public domain and a lot more people will hate him.

Imagine, if it was Alonso or someone who could give Lewis a run for his money, there would have been fireworks as it had been before.

At the end of the day, there could only be one tiger in the mountain.

11

“And the only reason Lewis doesn’t have any intention to destroy Jenson and make him work for him is that it looks ugly in public domain and a lot more people will hate him”

Sorry, that’s got nothing to do with it. you’re right that if you’re in front you control the gap if you have the pace to do so…but when Lewis has done this it was purely to make sure he looked after the car to the end.

engines and gearboxes have to do many race miles and if you can save them while you have the chance then it makes sense to do so… then there is tyres and fuel as well of course. it’s as simple as that.

Lewis closed in on Seb in Valencia, but only because Seb was driving sensibly… it’s the nature of the new regs i’m afraid…

12

I see, that’s a very valid point.

May be that’s why we don’t see him or others doing things that Schumacher did in his error.

He pushed like mad to a point where he got 60 seconds lead etc..

13

Somehow i feel Hamilton is likely to have bad weekend coming at Silverstone. His misfortune tends to struck him when he’s expected to get good result.

14

I’m yet to see a true champion all smiles and relaxed when being beaten in any sport by the competition. whether athletics, golf, baskeball, football or F1. so i dont see the rationale of any of this fuss being made especially in the British media about Button’s apparent relaxed state. He better starts getting angry about his team mate beating him. This line on thinking is exactly why we fail at so many sports in England while countries with that ruthless “must win” streak go on to win everything leaving us looking like mediocre all the time. Example of such countries are USA and Germany just to name a few.

15

James, do you know if any of the Teams now running the blown diffuser are also running the RBR “retarded ignition on the overrun” Q3 trick ?

Just how much does this whole exhaust blown diffuser interfere with the highly optimised F Duct action on the McLaren ?

Regarding Lewis and Jenson getting along, I have seen nothing to suggest otherwise, I cannot think of a more balanced, perfect team mate relationship on the grid. People trying to say otherwise seem to be grasping at straws to try and beat them off the track as beating them on it is looking increasingly hard…

16

Talking of this overrun issue…James mentioned in his article that it could damage the engine, so maybe the Renault reliability issues with Gearboxes and the like are not just maufuacturing issues…they are indeed running the engine to it’s limits with this trick…and sometimes paying the price?

I have to say, if this is the case. I have less sympathy for their reliability problems.

17

Don’t know, will try to find out more this weekend

18

Off Topic: Karun Chandock’s diary on the FOS last weekend.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/camposmeta1/7874563/Karun-Chandhok-F1-drivers-diary-Goodwood-Festival-of-Speed-2010.html

He’s a top bloke and an F1 fan. His attitude and communication with the fans and media this year has been great. Hope he gets a better drive next year for the 1st Indian GP.

(Sponsors are you watching?)

19

James, you asked us all to come up with a name for Seb Vettel’s replacement chassis, after it was claimed that “Luscious Liz” was damaged. As it turned out, Seb named his new one “Randy Mandy”.

Now, in news just in, Red Bull are not giving Mark Webber a new chassis after the crazy Valencia smash, they are giving him Seb’s rejected ex-girlfriend. Yep, Mark Webber will be racing in “Luscious Liz” at Silverstone, and possibly the remainder of the season. If Red Bull’s claims that “Luscious Liz” was costing Vettel a lot of time, surely this means Mark Webber’s chances for the remainder of the season are now zero? And that battle for pole position you talk about will be a foregone conclusion?

20

I believe Red Bull have fixed the found faults in ‘Luscious Liz’ between Monaco and Silverstone, so Mark should not be in a disadvantage due to that.

21

You might be right – but it is PR own goal for Red Bull after all their hard work to change public perception that they favour Seb.

22

You’d hope so Andy. Some source I heard from said something about a crack, so I’m not sure that could be fixed. However, we do not know if anything was wrong with the chassis at all. What we do know is that Vettel said he felt a lot more comfortable in “Randy Mandy”. One tenth is often all that separates these two.

I must admit Vettel has far exceeded my expectations, he has been incredible to match it with Webber (who is arguably the best driver on the grid). It would be awesome to see Webber beat the smug and loved Vettel in a chassis that he rejected because he thought it wasn’t good enough for him. The rejected “Luscious Liz”.

23

I’ve noticed all great champions are angry at themselves when things don’t go their way let alone being out-qualified, so if Lewis only smiles when he’s on top for me that’s a great quality, I mean Jenson can’t keep affording being cool even when he’s losing, that should make one wonder at some point.

24

I think Button’s demeanour is kind of “serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”. What happened in Turkey shows he has no lack of desire to beat Hamilton.

25

Personally I will not take Damon’s comment on the hare and the tortoise seriously, as he’s not really an outstanding driver despite winning his WDC. And anyway the tortoise won in the moral of this story.

26

Not Jock Clear’s opinion of Damon. Fair enough he also rates Villeneuve but his comments on him at the ‘Meet the Fans’ venue showed that he had a great deal of respect for the man’s abilities as a driver.

Remember that Hill lapped Prost when in an identical car. Off the top of my head I can’t remember anyone else who has done that – although I feel certain someone will point out if I’m wrong.

Hill was a remarkable driver. Many feel he was robbed of what should have been his first title.

That said, Hill has the interests of Silverstone at heart and he could be just sowing the wind. It gets coverage in the papers.

27

“Off the top of my head I can’t remember anyone else who has done that – although I feel certain someone will point out if I’m wrong.”

I just watched Senna do it in the ’88 British GP on the BBC Classic Grand Prix feature :p

28

Natalie,

Thanks for that. The odd thing is, I was there. I saw it and I forgot it.

I’m not suggesting that Hill can be compared with Senna but what is true is that Prost was no slouch. Yet at a circuit that rewards good driving, Hill made him look average. The excuse often given is that it was raining but that normally evens out car advantage and pushed driver ability to the fore.

Hill and Hunt had a lot in common. Both seemed derided when they were driving and it is only after they retired that people started to acknowledge the ability.

Donnington and Canada: those two races showed Senna at his best, and it was evident in the first lap of both races.

29

Im sure Jensons calmer deamenor has helped with Hamiltons attitude, but I also think that last seasons strugle with the slow car has tempered Hamilton a bit.

30

Not that I *know* him or anything (sadly), but Button strikes me as the sort of person it would be hard *not* to get along with.

31

A couple of comments wondering about Whitmarsh above.

One thing I haven’t seen him being credit for is working a massive trick of turning around the image of McLaren and Hamilton especially from being the targets of vicious bile at their nadir of only a year ago from many quarters.

There are a few things: not walking away from 2009; giving Button a home where he is appreciated – and also allowing his character to represent the team; allowing Hamilton his head on the track and keeping his head down off. Also, I suppose, putting the brakes on RBR so we didn’t have a second year where a team walked away.

32

You have got to get the details of their bet. The way things are going, I’d say there’s a fair chance one of them will have to make good on it and when they do, I’d like the humiliation to be public 🙂

(though the toilet thing’s probably over-doing it)

33

Funny, I just get this feeling that Button is hanging on to Lewis for dear life. Plus pure desparation when reminding us that he actually bagged two wins already all due to his experience. He comes over as someone realizing either that its too late or that he needs to galvanize support and simpathy for what he expects to really hurt. …

34

Well, i must say this James …

Bernie Ecclestone made improvements in F1 marketing,

Jackie Steward and Max Mosley in F1 safety, and You reunited us again with this sport. Thank you very much !

35
Chris Partridge

Here’s my guess on Lewis and Jenson: I wonder whether it’s a “big brother / little brother” type relationship between the two. Both are British, both came up through similar ways in karting etc…Jenson’s maturity and relaxed nature also benefits Lewis and Lewis’ raw-edged racing thrust pushes Jenson on. That’s not to say Jenson isn’t a raw racer himself — of course he is as a World Champion — but I think they probabyly do naturally get on for the reasons I describe and therefore complement each other. I bet Martin Whitmarsh is breathing a sigh of relief at that!

36

8th line from the bottom has a typo.

However much the media want problems to arise between the two, I think most people don’t really believe it will happen.

37

I reckon that the one thing history teaches us is that we never learn from it. Those with a good memory of the subtleties of the Alonso/Hamilton relationship might well remember one or two moments when it wasn’t all sweetness and light.

And I seem to remember, in the dim and distant, something about Prost and Senna being reluctant to dip their bread in the same fondue.

I was one of those who predicted that there would be a falling out between Hamilton and Button. I had good reasons. The last time two equally committed and skilled drivers in the same team got on together the cars had wire wheels.

And secondly: fair enough, Button is laid back but people are at their most tolerant of things when they aren’t affected by them. And Hamilton’s performance affects Button.

But things do appear to be different this time. So why?

The biggest change, and one which has been mentioned before on your blog, is that of team management.

To my way of thinking, Ron Dennis was one of the top five team managers since 1966. But he, like the other four, had his weaknesses and perhaps man-management was one of them. Is the difference Whitmarsh?

He’s impressed me this season. And even so, perhaps I’ve underestimated him.

38

You are certainly right that the Alonso/Hamilton relationship wasn’t all “sweetness and light” but I think that had more to do with Alonso not being happy about being challenged by a rookie when he expected to be given preference as number 1 driver. For the most part Lewis did little more than stand his ground.

The Lewis/Button dynamic is sure to be different. They both have a World Championship and enough ‘runs on the board’ that they don’t need to jockey for position or fight for respect off the track. They just need to perform to the best of their ability on the track.

I’m sure it also helps that Red Bull are such close competitors as both drivers have more competition outside the team than within.

I’m sure the same is true of Red Bull, if they we’re out in front on their own then Webber and Vettel may not have patched things up so quickly after their coming together if they didn’t have other things to worry about.

Lewis will also remember how close he (and Alonso) came to being World Champion in 2007 and be aware of how the misdirected energy within the team may have made all the difference.

39

Absolutely agree.

Ron is a legend, but not for his driver management skills. Just ask David Coulthard.

The fact Lewis’s Dad is now at arms length might also be a factor. Hamilton is, to his credit, taking more control of his own affairs.

Personally, I think we have a classic McLaren line-up on our hands and I think both drivers are clued up enough not to spoil the buzz with a Senna/Prost re-run.

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