Hamilton and Button off to a smiling start but the test is yet to come

All smiles for Hamilton and Button at the McLaren launch

All smiles for Hamilton and Button at the McLaren launch

If yesterday’s Ferrari launch left us all worried that all the 2010 F1 cars were going to look like fat RB5s, the revealing of the McLaren MP4-25 put that thought from our minds.

But just as interesting as the car was our first glimpse of how Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button get on as team mates.

McLaren tend to pick explosive driver pairings – or, in the words or Martin Whitmarsh, they “have a philosophy of getting the best drivers we can.” There’s no arguing that McLaren have usually got the best drivers available to them, but whether that’s been a beneficial or destructive philosophy is up for debate.

Paiting any two F1 drivers together involves a clash of egos, whether it’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa or Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.

But put two champions together and you magnify the potential for problems – which is probably why no-one’s tried it since 1989 Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost raced together at the same team.

Today McLaren’s latest power pairing were all smiles. Facing the press Button batted away questions about whether he earns less than his team mate. Then Hamilton waded in, telling a reporter “don’t believe everything you read. He’s the world champion and he’s been welcomed into the team.”

Button returned the favour later while answering questions from fans. One asked Button, “With refuelling banned, will your driving style give you an advantage over Hamilton?” “I think we can call him Lewis,” he quipped back, patting his new team mate on the back.

It doesn’t take a cynic to see that teams stress the ‘mate’ in ‘teams mates’ while privately the pair work on every way they have of beating each other.

But as Hamilton admitted, tight testing restrictions means they only have seven days each in the car each between now and the start of the season to suss the MP4-25 and help the team out-develop Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and the rest. And that means working together.

Once that’s done and the serious business of racing begins, that’s when we’ll see how well this all-champion, all-British line-up will work.

Image (C) www.mclaren.com

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52 comments on Hamilton and Button off to a smiling start but the test is yet to come

  1. In 2007, with Alonso, was the same history…

    • What story? I really dont get the point here…

    • but in 2007 they were evenly matched. We’ll see if this year is the same. If they are, expect some kind of problems. The same as in 2007? i doubt it. The circumstances are different, as the personalities. Dennis is gone, and button is british, so the british press won’t get as involved trying to help one side. No spygate i expect either.

  2. Paige said on 30th January 2010, 1:28

    I think Hamilton will approach the pairing with Button a lot differently than he did with Alonso. With Alonso, he was eager to prove himself as a rookie and matching a double-world champion. He was less mature, and in the heat of battle, he exploited a weakness of Alonso- his temper.

    Hamilton is a different man now than he was then. He went through the grinder of the midfield and back end of the grid last year after having a top car since his rookie year. On top of it, he was caught in a major scandal of his own doing that raised questions about his character. I think he realized just how hard it can be for a F1 driver, and how hard it is for most of them. He said last year that going through his experience last year brought him to really respect Button, who had faced adversity throughout his whole career before getting a shot. I think Hamilton sincerely respects Button and what he’s gone through, and this along with his maturity will lead him to treat Button differently than maybe he would have treated a teammate in the past.

  3. wasiF1 said on 30th January 2010, 2:34

    There will be a lot of heat on the grid this season.All the top teams have gone for aggressive team mates,who can fight hard on track.We probably have 8 people from 4 teams who can win the championship.But we all have to wait until 14th November to find that answer.Before nthen & now drive safely everybody.

  4. wasiF1 said on 30th January 2010, 2:35

    There will be a lot of heat on the grid this season.All the top teams have gone for aggressive team mates,who can fight hard on track.We probably have 8 people from 4 teams who can win the championship.But we all have to wait until 14th November to find that answer.Before then & now drive safely everybody.

  5. ZANARDI2010 said on 30th January 2010, 2:56

    Each of them is solely motervated 2 b the guy with v most points as seasons end.how it all pans out?

  6. Great choice of picture to go with this article. ;)

    • yes the black and with pictures are great. And nowadays we miss theire beauty for the colored ones.

      • Glynn said on 30th January 2010, 12:27

        The calm before the storm me thinks!! Yesterday Lewis & Jenson seemed to be more like bessy mates plotted up on two bar stools then arch rivals. – will it last??? don’t think so but it’s another plot in the up and coming 2010 season.

        Oh Keith I actually have the ” let’s call him Lewis shall we” moment on film. It show a great insight to the way the pair interact.

  7. I think that we should completely forget about the upcoming F1 championship and just focus on the prospect of having some really good ‘spats’ among team mates. Or we could watch Eastenders.

  8. CounterStrike said on 30th January 2010, 19:10

    never mind them.

  9. I thought the body language between the two drivers was genuinly friendly but caucious as you would expect…

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