McLaren: How much better than Perez was Button in 2013?
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Dec 2013   |  2:36 pm GMT  |  182 comments

In the next of our series of analysis of the head-to-head records of team mate pairings, we look at Jenson Button and Sergio Perez’s season together at McLaren.

With Lewis Hamilton leaving for Mercedes, Button had a new team mate for 2013 in the form of Perez. The Mexican joined the Woking-Based outfit after a strong season for Sauber where he scored three podiums and came close to winning the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix.

It proved to be a difficult year for McLaren, who failed to score a single podium all season for the first time since 1980. The team kept faith in Button, signing the Briton for a fifth year in 2014, but Perez was not kept on with Dane Kevin Magunessen getting the nod.

Was Perez unlucky to lose his seat? Well in qualifying, Button and Perez were pretty much neck and neck, with Perez actually edging it 10-9. Button led the head-to-head 7-3 at the mid-point to the season, as Perez adjusted to his new team, but the Mexican had the upper hand in the second half, coming out 7-2 ahead.

Button scored the team’s best grid slot – sixth in Belgium – while Perez’s best was seventh, which he managed in Monaco and the United States.

When it came to the races, Button was the more consistent, scoring points 14 times and his 4th place in Brazil was the team’s best result of the season. However, Perez wasn’t that far behind with 11 points finishes. They were well-matched in the breakdown, too, with Button scoring points seven times to Perez’s five in the first half and edging it 7-6 in the second half.

Both drivers had a highest finish of fifth coming into the final race of the season, but Button improved on that by a single position with fourth in the season finale in Brazil.

When both cars finished, Button comfortably came out on top 13 times to Perez’s six. And in terms of championship points, Button scored 73 to Perez’s 49 which equated to ninth and 11th respectively in the drivers’ standings.

Check out the statistics below which show that while Button beat his team mate overall, it was closer than it looked.

Button v Perez stats compared (highest respective tally in bold)



Faster qualifying time: Button 9 / Perez 10

Poles: Button 0 / Perez 0

Front rows: Button 0 / Perez 0
Best qualifying finish: Button 6th (Belgium) / Perez 7th (Monaco and US)


Wins: Button 0 / Perez 0

Poles: Button 0 / Perez 0

Points finishes: Button 14 / Perez 11 

DNFs: Button 0 / Perez 0 

Ahead in two-car finish: Button 13 / Perez 6
Highest finish: Button 4th (Brazil) / Perez 5th (India)


Points: Button 73 / Perez 49
Championship placing: Button 9th / Perez 11


First 10 races

Out-qualified team-mate: Button 7 Perez 3
Wins: Button 0 Perez 0
Podiums: Button 0 Perez 0
Points finishes: Button 7 Perez 5
Retirements: Button 0 Perez 0

Final nine races

Outqualified team-mate: Button 2 Perez 7
Wins: Button 0 Perez 0
Podiums: Button 0 Perez 0
Points finishes: Button 7 Perez 6
Retirements: Button 0 Perez 0

The JA on F1 2013 year book is now available to pre-order. It is a large format paperback, with a Foreword by David Coulthard and featuring stunning photography from Darren Heath. It retails at £10-99.

Every copy ordered through this site will be personally signed by me. Copies will be despatched on December 7th in plenty of time for Christmas. To order yours and to be sure of getting a copy click on this link: JA on F1 2013 Book

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perez is slighlty faster than button when he needs to show it. at the beginning when his seat was sure, he was always behind button, let alone some qualifying performance.

mclaren is no red bull, no ferrari, no mercedes. drivers are treated almost equally, so if perez was much faster than button, then he would have shown it at the beginning at least in qualifying, but perez engaged many battles with button and button was always the one eho finished ahead of the mexican, let alone the last 3 races. perez needed time to learn and to adapt, but he started to outperform button just in the last 3-4 races when mclaren dropped him in favour of magnusse. he clearly needed to show to other teams what he could do in order to remain in f1. what are we talking about?

perez is not a bad driver, but just like massa, maldonado, grosjean & co, is only good when the car is good. when the car doesn’t show improvement they simply disappear, because they need perfect machinary to show their potential, otherwise they seem to lack mental strenght to fight for minor positions or minor points.

maybe perez will improve, but as for 2013 even a blind would see that button was the one who did the better job. perez wasn’t that bad, just not on the same level of button. last three races perez outperformed button? yes, other 16 button outperformed perez. do we need to add more?


I’m not a button’s fan, but I rate him as one of the, overall, 5/6 best drivers out there. not the fastest, but in his own way superb driving skill, very smart on track and great at saving tyres when it’s time to and to push when it’s needed. not the most spectacular, but very consistent and able to do great overtakes like in brazil.

won wdc with the best car? what about vettel or even alonso who had mass damper(illegal at first and then misteriously turned out legal) and won just because of another driver misfortunes(raikkonen in 2005)? jacques villeneuve, schumacher, mika, senna, prost and many more had a superior car, the best car of the grid and no serious rivals.

even hamilton became wdc thanks to glock, otherwise wdc champion in 2008 would have been massa, like it or not.

every driver who won wdc had the fastest car or one of the 2 fastest cars…only short minded people/fanboys can’t get it and think drivers become world champion thanks to super powers. then watch sailor moon or power rangers or chuck norris, maybe you’ll wake up sooner or later.

I’ve got two children, 10 and 13, and both of them understood the concept. that’s unbelievable that adults still believe in miracles and blame world champions for winning without deserving it.

then why only button? just because he has not the mediatic aurea of the bad boy who average people want as a world champion?

if you look for nasty boys than you’d better watch wrestling or something like that. that’s f1, not football or rugby.

then people need to realise it’s not always the best driver(more gifted driver) who wins as it’s not always the best singer/group who gets what he/they deserves/deserve , but the one who has the better techical material, the best car, the best team support, the best slave-second driver, the biggest luck, the biggest economical support, the biggest sponsorship and so on.

if it was just up to pure talent than raikkonen should have been 3 times wdc, peterson should have been at least once, just like moss. ickx, scheckter, montoya, frentzen, magnussen father and rindt would have had more recognition, but life is not always fair and doesn’t praise pure talent olny, but mainly built up talent: people who, starting from less natural talent, develop their skills through efforts, exercise, diligence, application and experience.

as far as button concerns, he may not be the most naturally gifted driver, but managed to score more points than hamilton in their 3 years together, so it’s not to be rated that lower than hamilton, who is very fast, but not perfect and still error-prone.

you can be fast as you want, but if you smash into others people’s cars(maldonado, perez, grosjean) or get into trouble then it means that you’re fast and stop, you lack other virtues such has smartness, spatial awareness and superior racing skills.

f1 is also about skills, the winner is the one who comes fastest at the end, not the one who does poles or who crashes into other drivers’ car.


Button never was a “Top Driver” and never will be. Hamilton did his best to make him look good but Perez (spoiled brat with deep pockets) out qualified and outscored him in the last half of the season, Time you retired Jenson, before Magnussen does it for you next year.!!


Please, can anybody tell me what does “IMO” mean?


IMO: In My Opinion

IMHO: In My Humble Opinion


Again with the Hamilton Vs Button opinion showdown?

The race results speak volumes of Button’s experience, mental competency and overall consistency. We all know Button isn’t the fastest qualifier, however. Having said all that, though, Button is a WDC; Perez is the new bloke, so well done to Perez for keeping Button honest.

There’s plenty of time for Perez to iron out his shortcomings. A good season leading to a multi-year contract will help him think big, rather than think for the moment. As for Button, I thought he drove well this season to keep his reputation as a top driver intact. I don’t know what’s up the road for him, though. Best to him and Perez!


Does anyone know if perez was paid money as I read that he had signed a contract

With mclaren before they choose kevin


It was logic to keep Button, he got plenty of experience, and even though the rules are quite diffrent next year, it may come in usefull.


There is obviously more than one reason for McLaren to choose Kevin over Perez of which only they know. IMHO though I believe Honda have had a major influence upon this decision, what other reason would encourage Martin to recommend Perez to other team immediately after dumping him for Kev!


James, would it be fair to say that Mclaren would have probably given Perez another year if Magnussen hadn’t had such a spectacularly successful 2013 both in terms of his racing and his mid-season test?


Yes Whitmarsh said so on more than one occasion !


I hope Perez gets a drive next year and beat the crap out of Button. LOL…

OK, seriously… I hope Kevin will beat the crap out of Button.

Button does not deserve to drive for a prestigious team like Mclaren. He is fast becoming the bootlicker like Massa was for Ferrari.


I can’t help thinking that if that this years Mclaren whilst clearly not a good car, would have had at least one podium finish had they had a driver like Kimi, Alonso, Hamilton who seem to be able to drag results out.

Perez has been incredibly hard done by in my opinion as Button only marginally beat him in what lets not forget was his first year in the car and drivers take time to adjust. Perez also suffered from more bad luck in the year.

Button seems to be immune from critisism from the F1 media due to his good relationship with many of them in much the same way Webber got praised to the hilt from not really achieving that much. (I yesterday posted a similar comment which misteriously got deleted)


What are you on about?

“I can’t help thinking that if that this years Mclaren whilst clearly not a good car, would have had at least one podium finish had they had a driver like Kimi, Alonso, Hamilton who seem to be able to drag results out.”

this is the same Hamilton who in his current team he’s behind on wins?

Or Alonso being beat by Hulk in a Sauber?

You might as well say if Hulk was in the Ferrari he would have been closer to Vettel


Calm down!

I was merely saying that I think that certain drivers are better at dragging results out of bad cars. Button even when Mclaren had good cars often had balance issues and was way down the grid compared to his teammate. He is a great driver when the car is in a sweet spot and to his liking but does nothing in a bad car.

And yes it is my opinion that Alonso who frequently pulls better results out of a car over long periods, and Hamilton who beat his top class teammate over the season in his first year in a new car, and beat Button in the mclaren would have dragged at least one decent result out of this years mclaren. Lets not forget, there were occasions when Button could not get the car in the top 10 in qualifying when Hamilton was fighting out for wins with Button blaming balance etc.

To your point, Hulk even probably would have got a better result out of the mclaren but I am not sure how you think Hulk ‘beat Alonso’ just on isolated performances.


These comments are a joke.

If the above stats were showing Hamilton mostly in bold against Button, you’d all be telling us how badly Hamilton thrashed Button.

But no, it’s Button ahead in all bu 1 statistic and you tell us the he was matched by Perez???


A driver with 14,years, 4 of which are spent at Mclaren- Can you people comprehend the difference !!not one that just landed this year !!-I can’t stand Perez for his crashing antics with Kimi this year! But anyone with any sense can see he easily matched Jenson at the latter stages !

But the decision was based on Mclaren needing Jensons team experience and the tremendous potential of Magnussen- Nothing else!!


We need to see the simulator times. Next year is going to be very different.

Nobody expects Button to seriously outperform a poor car. I would expect that the true figures show that Perez outperformed this years car but doesn’t know how or why – meaning he appears a match for Button. I would imagine the simulator times show how they both drive a “perfect” car.


Last year Lewis showed us how you drive a “perfect” car. If you count the DNF in Abu Dhabi and Singapore and Brazil thanks to Hulk and 4 other Pitstop dramas at Mclaren you can see clearly he was right there with Seb and what was Jenson doing in that “perfect car” – only picking up the pieces when Lewis taken out or made the wrong call ( Spa & Interlagos) otherwise he was MIA all year.. He’s just not a top line driver!! Doesn’t matter the car 2009 was a ground breaking car & even then only just got it!!


Everything depend from where you see things. In my opinion was not fair to expect Sergio to outperform Jenson immediately from the beginning but that is history now. Obviously McLaren was expecting more but if you see things from the second part of the season it clearly show Sergio was the quickest of the two. Jenson is at his limit Sergio I hope can have another chance to show his potential.


I would think that mclaren took perez hoping to score multi millions headline sponsor from carlos slim’s companies. He probably wasn’t impressed by the car being rubbish and wisely stayed away. mclaren ditch perez to teach them both a lesson. Perez would be well served going back to sauber and beating button most races next year.


I have a feeling that McLaren are delivering the low expectations message; so they can over deliver.

McLaren was the only team to match Red Bull’s development pace, but started so far back from the first race.

However, projecting to the new formula, they were coming up much more than Mercedes, and, I have to admit, all this talk of Mercedes having ‘the car’ and engine next year, smells.

I still don;t think they have got their development systems and organizational structure working.

McLaren despite one or two front men, do have their organizational infrastructure in place, and it seems like they made a strategic decision to plan for 2014, and use 2013 as the development year.



McLaren made the decision to use pull rod front suspension and have struggled with it. If you remember Ferrari went down that route last year and took 6 months to learn how to make it work – and kept it this year.

It would seem they both think that the 2014 cars need to use pull rods to make the nose changes work properly.


that’s what I think.

but what path is AD going down?


Perez just matched Button who isn’t considered in the same breath as Hamilton, Vettel, or Alonso. That was McLaren’s problem with him I think. I don’t feel any sympathy for Perez, he was in a top team this year and underperformed. It doesn’t matter whether McLaren got a podium this year or not it is a top team which should have top drivers.


I should not be surprised by the anti LH comments on this but come on really do people really think they know more than Mercedes AMG. They couldn’t,t wait for LH to be out of contract so they could sign him up. JB is a good guy who is good, just not good enough. I actually think Maclaren are not doing JB Any favours. SP is a young driver who in his first year took the challenge well and if the strategic gambles had gone his way he would have outpointed JB by loads. JB should walk away from F1 with his head up. I fear next year could make him look even worse!


I personally dont get it, because i think it should be Button to leave. He never defends his position, it all is a bit to kind and safe. Feel like his best time has past. Not to say that Perez is a wonderboy either though.


Perez is not bad and just proves that some drivers don’t react well to the big spotlight. Given two or three more years he’d be experienced and could have come back into the front runners better prepared.

That said mclaren are data driven and I know that Perez did NOT provide much quality feedback – it may have been inexperience or even a language barrier but he was not impressing the engineers.

Button gets a lot of flack but everyone at McLaren says the same thing – he is not a good qualifier – he is not on a pace with Lewis ( but then who is?) but their data suggests he was often a match for Lewis on Sundays at many tracks. People can cry about it as much as they want but they are fighting years of data. Blather on about your pet Whitmarsh loves jenson theories all you want. I have a number of family and friends working at McLaren – they rate the guy. Perez disappointed. Simple as that.


Hmmm not sure about that in races were both finished without a problem Hamilton was some 14secs down the road ahead of Buttonq – I’m sure someone into stats would be able to show this.

Also I don’t recall Button over taking Hamilton when both cars had trouble free races – I do recall Button running Hamilton into a wall and crashing into a back marker trying to stop Hamilton over taking him

There is no way the data is going to show Button on par with Hamilton in a problem free race. Even last year of both drivers had followed Buttons set up Mecca may well have ended 2012 the same way 2013 ended.


Now look at your points again… taking into account that Button did not and was not expected to qualify as well as Hamilton. Starting further back will always make it harder. So McLaren look at lap times and found that in clear air Jenson’s lap times matched the supposedly faster Hamilton’s.

Lewis depends on sensing limits by going just past them. Jenson somehow is able to recognise those same limits as he reaches them when in a good car. That means Lewis get his tyres heated more and can qualify better… but then his tyres don’t last as long.


Watched the Chinese GP 2011 last night, on sky F1, it was a race Hamilton won, over taking Button on the way then dropping him by some 10secs by end of race.

This I recall happened often – Hamilton also made much better use of his tyres – Button is actually harder on his tyres or loses grip quicker anyway.

Brazil 2012. Button was being dropped by both Hulkingburg and Hamilton before their coming together, so many races- there is no way Button was matching Hamilton in data it would show on track


JAP11 and AUS12 were dry, problem-free races where Jenson beat Lewis on merit. There are other examples I’m sure.

I am a HAM fan, and I believe that clearly Lewis is a better driver, but Jenson was never a dog. Far, far from it.


No one is saying he is a dog….but c’mon he does lack that certain something……. How he survived so long baffles me.


Spot on.. You can’t teach this to some !


Notwithstanding the fact that I picked Perez to begin comprehensively outperform Button by the fourth race in 2013, the results of 2013 would be just about you would expect if an equal driver was coming onto an established team, with an established driver, former world champion.

Button edged Perez. Perez was equal to or better (besides the fourth in Brazil for Jensen; way to go, Jensen!) than Button in the second half of the year.

So it became a numbers game, McLaren stuck with a second tier driver, and a driver trying to firmly establish himself as a second tier driver; one had to go for a potential top-tier driver, and in the end, I think that the powers that be just thought Jensen fitted into their brand, a bit better.

Despite the moves which required the other driver to yield (and lose a place), or not yield, and have a crash, (if he can lose that one) then he is still on a trajectory which could take him to the top tier; I don’t think we’ve heard the last, nor seen the best, from Perez, yet.


Never understood how drivers like Button, coulthard, Fisicella etc manage such long careers in such a cut throat sport.

Some talk of consistency and point scoring but I don’t get it.

Not a big fan of JB like Irvine and Rubens he is a born no.2 the results for the team tells the story – in the past Macca always seemed to have the ability to spot talant, Mika, Kimi, Hamilton but Perez and Button spell no options.

I too hope they have found a star in this Kevin. They’re still my 2nd fav team. But this years driver line up was awful


I think it is a sign of the times whereby experience or sponsorship trumps potential. Given the hundreds of millions at stake and limited testing, a conservative team will opt with an older experienced driver. That way the driver can provide development feedback and also consistency to maximise points. This is particularly the case in the mid and bottom end of the field where one freak result can sometimes mean tens of millions of dollars.


Ok, but McLaren are not a midfield team…….


McLaren may have made another blunder by firing Perez. I think they fired him for political or personal reasons. His performances were on par with Button. So, when you take into consideration that he is starting in a new team, he actually did very well. I think McLarens reluctance to demand more of Button and hold him accountable as team leader is a self inflicted wound. We’ve seen Ferrari do the same with massa for years. Had they made a change, Ferrari would have at least one contructors championship over the last four years. For McLaren their protection of Button is more detrimental to the team because they are protecting their top driver who is underperforming imo. Ferrari was bad also, but atleast they had Alonso to bring home the points. Now McLaren is looking to Magnuss as their saviour. I hope we get another Hamilton, but what’s the likelihood of that happening with a F3 driver, with no in season testing etc. Good luck McLaren…you’re going to need it.


You just gave McLaren the reason to fire Perez, I agree with you about Massa and Ferrari, yes they had Alonso to score, so in this case, Perez needed to outscored Button, that didn’t happen, he cannot use the rookie excuse anymore, so if Button is bad in your opinion and Perez just matched him, why McLaren would keep Perez? Based on your Ferrari example and how they had get rid of Massa years ago, then McLaren should fired both drivers. But what I think is that Button is not as bad as Massa today (I think is a very good driver instead) and his experience could be valuable next year.


Well I guess we just have to agree to disagree. I value experience also but I also think there is no replacement for raw pace. You can coach a driver to make better decisions and not take major risks, but you can’t teach a driver to go faster. Not at this level. This is where Perez has the edge over Button. Button outscoring Perez was almost a given. He outscored Perez by 24pts, which is not a lot. And the reason he outscored Perez was due to Perez taking big risks and throwing away points. That is part of the package you get with a raw talent that needs to be polished. It doesn’t happen instantly. McLaren just threw their hands up and said, “good bye Perez.” The irony in that is they are going to repeat the same experiment that was just starting to bear fruit, with Magnuss! Magnuss has the speed like Perez, but he will also need to be polished, while adjusting to F1 in general. McL said they fired Perez based on Magnuss’s pace from sims. If pace is the deciding factor, they should have fired Button because Perez has more pace and was only getting better. McL was wrong in expecting WDC performance from Perez right off the bat.


I think McLaren basically have the same problem as Red Bull now; as STR are ditching drivers left, right and centre looking for their next Vettel, McLaren look like they might be starting a similar trend as they try to find their next Hamilton.

I hope I’m wrong though. I’ve called STR a meat grinder before and I have no desire to think the same of McLaren.


Completely off topic, i’ve just read that next year the final race of the season is going to be awarded double points????? Who ever came up with this idiotic idea should be locked up in an institution somewhere!!

I’m sorry but this utterly brainless move coupled with the possibility of mandatory 2 stop races, drs, fragile tyres for me at least means F1 is no longer worth my while following. To think that i’m expected to pay to watch this on Sky, I’m lost for words! The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum!

Bye bye F1, thanks for the memories.

Colombia Concalvez

+1. Instead of maksing tired durable for flat out racing they come up with these kind of nonsense.


oh dear! Durable tyres do not give flat our racing!

Those 2 ideals are mutually exclusive. The shorter the tyre life the faster they are. Harder tyres have less grip.

So much in every aspect of F1 (as in life) is about compromise. F1 is set up to require pit stops so you will always get one car using its tyres harder than another… or awful races with no pitstops needed and the pole sitter simply driving off into the distance.

F1 has to find ways to make it entertaining and as cars are required to last longer they get more reliable and boring so require artificial means to provide the entertainment. This is harder to do than we realise and tyres has been one experiment many think has gone too far.

Ultimately it is auto shift gearboxes that has made F1 reliable enough to be boring.


McLaren not making decision to let Perez go just like that. They did not see in year 1 of Perez what they had envisaged. They had all the data and information to make this decision.

Earlier in the season Whitmarsh said he needs to bring out his elbows a little more. 2nd half of season no contract renewal for many races and specifically no congratulatory word on Perez except he have done a good job.

The signs all the way – they wanted more from Perez and they did not get what they wanted.

Ultimately weighed between Kevin Magnussen (exiting prospect with in-house data Simulator, test timings, etc) and Perez (all data available and no future superstar). McLaren went for Kevin.



The simulator stats are the bit we don’t see. Cars don’t break down in simulators and they are only as good as the data they are fed. McLaren have a very highly regarded simulator. All year it has been suggesting that the 2013 car should have better than we saw on track – which is why they kept it rather than return to the 2012 car. I would really like to see how fast Jenson’s simulator times are compared to all the others that have used it this year. That would tell us so much more about Perez v Magnussen.


The thing with Button is that he’s a WCC type of driver. Give him a fast car, he will be fast. Give him a slow car he will be slow. Its generally known LH is faster than JB, and can make a car faster than it really is. But the points tell a difference story where JB finished only 2 pts behind a disgruntled LH in 2012 and 43 pts ahead in 2011, when everybody expected him to be slaughtered by LH.

Colombia Concalvez

For you the same as QJ

”Seriously mate you need to stop the ”Button out scoring Hamilton” nonsense. Stop it. Button benefitted from Hamilton’s misfortune, is that hard for you to see ?. Button gained 55 points alone from Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Brazil. In those three races alone Hamilton lost 75 points and i have not even mentioned the other races McLaren had messed up for Hamilton. So stop it and tell the complete story and not half stories to make Button look good”


you need to consider how much of Hamilton’s misfortune is self made.

Overdriving a car tends to break them. It is well know than Lewis is harder on his car than Jenson is. Therefore it is more likely to break!

There is nothing simple about F1 – it is all but impossible to compare 2 drivers… but WDC points will always be the stat that stays in the listings.

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