Hamilton pushes Button to the end (Chinese GP team-by-team: McLaren)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Button passed Rosberg to lead but had to keep Hamilton at bay later on
Button passed Rosberg to lead but had to keep Hamilton at bay later on

The McLaren drivers ended up at the front of the field but each took very different routes there.

Jenson Button repeated his Melbourne feat of calling the conditions to perfection. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton once again found himself battling through the field to make up for lost time – and nearly made it all the way to the lead.

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
Qualifying position 5 6
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’34.979 (-0.055) 1’35.034
Race position 1 2
Average race lap 1’54.324 (-0.027) 1’54.352
Laps 56/56 56/56
Pit stops 2 4
Chinese Grand Prix lap times: McLaren
Chinese Grand Prix lap times: McLaren (click to enlarge)

Jenson Button

Button’s second Grand Prix win of 2010 had much in common with his first.

His finely-tuned feel for the conditions led him to make the correct tyre choices which put him in a position to win. And he capitalised on a problem for the race leader – in this case Nico Rosberg – to take the lead.

This time he also had to weather serious pressure at the end of the race – from his own team mate.

At first he seemed to have the situation in control, pulling out a ten second lead over Hamilton. But then Button ran wide at the hairpin and suddenly the momentum was with his team mate, who had Button’s lead down to a second and a half at the chequered flag.

It was enough, however, for Button to take the win and with it the lead of the world championship.

Compare Jenson Button’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton’s fateful switch to intermediate tyres on lap two cost him a chance of victory – until the safety car period in the middle of the race brought him back into the hunt.

But he would have been wise to back down from his pit lane confrontation with Sebastian Vettel sooner – they both ended up getting reprimanded for it.

After that Hamilton’s third trail through the field in as many races began. And once again he pulled off some impressive moves – particularly his opportunistic pass on Vettel and Adrian Sutil at the hairpin. And he found good grip around the outside of turn eight in the worst of the rain, using it to launch passes on unsuspecting rivals into turn nine.

He had the most difficulty passing the two Mercedes drivers. Michael Schumacher put up a typically robust defence which Hamilton needed three laps to break down.

And he lost more precious time behind Rosberg – giving away four seconds to his team mate in the process. Without that, and being held in the pits briefly at his final pit stop because of another car coming past, he could have jumped past Button and taken the lead at the final pit stop.

As it was, he seemed to have more life in his tyres at the end of the race and cut into Button’s lead after the world champion had run wide at the hairpin.

Their team, perhaps mindful of Hamilton’s last-lap crash in Monza last year, urged him to to take extra care on the final lap. He finished second – his best result of the year – but clearly wanted more.

Having begun the weekend looking conclusively faster than Button, he lost the initiative when it mattered – in Q3 – and from there Button pressed home his advantage.

Compare Lewis Hamilton’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Chinese Grand Prix

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