Champion of Champions: Lewis Hamilton vs Jenson Button

Lewis Hamilton vs Jenson Button

Champion of ChampionsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Champion of Champions: Lewis Hamilton vs Jenson Button

They became team mates at McLaren last year – but their F1 careers up to that point were very different.

Both made their F1 debuts with top British teams – although Williams had gone two years without a win when Jenson Button made his debut with them in 2000.

He was something of a stop-gap appointment by the team who had just lost Alessandro Zanardi but had Juan Pablo Montoya arriving for 2001. That left Button on his way to Benetton where he had a poor second season.

Despite a better year in 2002 alongside Jarno Trulli, Button was dropped by the team. He switched to BAR, beginning a seven-year stint with the team which would change names twice.

He finished runner-up to the dominant Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello in 2004. Two years later, after the team became Honda, he broke his Grand Prix duck in a wet race at the Hungaroring having started 14th.

Hamilton arrived in Formula 1 the following year – and their fortunes during that season couldn’t have been more different.

The McLaren driver had a championship-contending car at his disposal and used it to great effect. He finished his first nine races on the podium, matched world champion team mate Fernando Alonso blow for blow and came within a point and a gearbox glitch of winning the title.

Meanwhile Honda produced a disastrous car and Button usually languished at the rear of the field. The following year brought more of the same, but this time Hamilton went all the way and clinched the title in the final race of the year.

But their fortunes reversed in 2009. McLaren lost their way and only a late-season recovery allowed Hamilton to win twice.

Meanwhile Button’s uncompetitive Honda metamorphosed into the stunningly quick Brawn. He won six of the first seven races of the year, putting him so far ahead in the championship that even as other teams caught up with them Button couldn’t be surpassed.

For 2010 the pair teamed up at McLaren. Although Button was perceived by some to be joining ‘Hamilton’s team’ he won two of the first four races of the year.

Hamilton pegged him back as the season went on with three wins of his own, and ended the year ahead of Button in the championship.

Which of these drivers should go through to the next round of the Champion of Champions? Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Abu Dhabi, 2010 Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2010
Titles 2008 2009
Second in title year/s Felipe Massa Sebastian Vettel
Teams McLaren Williams, Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn, McLaren
Notable team mates Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button Jacques Villeneuve, Rubens Barrichello, Lewis Hamilton
Starts 71 189
Wins 14 (19.72%) 9 (4.76%)
Poles 18 (25.35%) 7 (3.70%)
Modern points per start1 12.31 6.16
% car failures2 2.82 13.76
Modern points per finish3 12.67 7.15
Notes Finished on podium on debut and won his sixth race Impressed in debut season for Williams
Became champion in his second season after narrowly missing rookie title win Broke Grand Prix duck at Hungary in 2006
Formerly the youngest ever world champion Surprise championship winner in 2009 for one-hit-wonders Brawn
Bio Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button

1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Lewis Hamilton (73%)
  • Jenson Button (27%)

Total Voters: 810

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357 comments on “Lewis Hamilton vs Jenson Button”

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  1. I wasn’t expecting that. LOL

    1. It was only so he could use that picture.

      Go Jenson!! I’m not going to give an explanation as too why because i’m rebelling.

      1. Because you’re an Alonso fan. Yeah, we know.

        1. Actually no, I respect him as a racer and I know he is in the top 5 on the grid. It’s his attitude that bugs me, I mean 2009 he couldn’t stop complaining about the car. He’s only happy unless he has the best equipment.

          Then he comes with this nice guy persona which is clearly fake. Just a completely false person.

          1. Um, which driver is happy in uncompetitive eqiupment?
            Jenson many times this year after quali looked like someone shot his dog, and complained about the car being undriveable and so on and so forth….
            Do you remember his ‘How, How can this car be so bad at the moment’ radio blast to his team in Hungary of ’09??
            Point is, no driver is happy when his car isnt up to par, and most express their unhappiness about it.
            As for your assertion that Lewis is ‘fake’. Unless you know the guy personally you can’t make a judgment on what you think he is. From all accounts the guy is a genuinely good guy and loyal(as we know) to a fault.

          2. When Jenson rants he is trashing himself…when Lewis rants he is trashing everyone else. Lewis seems to have got over that, due in large part to the calming influence of Jenson. Jenson’s infuence on the whole mindset of the McLaren team should not be underestimated. That said, Lewis is the better driver (just) and gets my vote.

          3. An Uncle of mine has a mate who apparently went to school with Hamilton. This mate said Hamilton almost got thrown out of the McLaren young driver program for bullying and had to grovel to the lad who he was bullying to stay in the program.

            Not sure how true it is though…

          4. This is ridiculous… They are both fantastic drivers and neither complain particularly much.

          5. @JonesyUK

            My Grandmas daughters youngest son is so glad this appeared on the internet as the bloke down the pub is just not to be believed these days!

            Besides, my sisters boyfriends hairdresser knows a mechanic (from a recent service at Kwik-Fit) who has a brother that regulary drives through Stevenage and recons that place is a breeding ground for F1 World Champions as well as bullys!

            So absolute factual truth then!

          6. They are equal for me.. but I tick Jenson because I know he got a lesser votes. lol
            Go Jenson you’ve got a pretty girl. Msrry her. :)

      2. This comparison is absolutely ridiculous because Lewis has already beaten Jenson as a teammate.

        1. Agree. I don´t remember Hamilton complaining in 2009. I remember him winning two races with a difficult car (and almost three : nurburgring-the puncture at the start). I respect Jenson a lot since 2004 but Hamilton handle of the car is amazing and so his speed. His aggresive attitude is great for F1 and he is the joy of lot of races. I am not Hamilton fan but i pray he ´ll stay in F1 lot of years, only to see him fight.

          1. and almost three : nurburgring-the puncture at the start

            I’d say Webber really was on fire and would have won that day anyway.

            But yes, it was almost three- from pole at Valencia he lost the race to Barrichello due to a fluffed pitstop.

          2. @DAvid A Thanks for make me remember that point. Best Webber race ever i think. He won fighting against a drive-trough. And about Valencia race, i would say the same of you said about webber in nurburgring, Barrichello was very fast that day. It would had been too tight between them.

        2. yeah exactly! and as they were both champions! easy answer- Hamilton.

    2. jimscreechy (@)
      18th January 2011, 9:52

      To be honest, the question of ‘who was the better world champion’ is very ambiguous and confusing. Just what criteria are we supposed to use to make this judgement? What is the metric?

      I have been reading the comments here and some people seem to be comparing the drivers on track competencies, others seem solely bent on personalities or personal preferences, the rest seem to be a combination of the two. I have read very few posts from people who compare them as world champions and even they don’t seem clear on the definition of this term.

      I think it would have been far simpler and much more concise to simply have asked who is the better driver, or perhaps even, who do you prefer. That would certainly have made the comments here relevant at least.

  2. Lol really crazy! Hamilton vs Button….who would’ve though that!

    Anyways, it’s pretty obvious that Hamilton the better of the pair.

    1. Too easy. This year we got to see them in equal machinery and Hamilton was miles better.

      1. Equal machinary which Hamilton had more input in when developing in previous seasons to 2010 as well as the run up to the 2010 season before Jenson joined.

        1. Lame excuses James :( …. If you consider the effect Whitmarsh had in the later development of the car (See Silverstone where LH was voted down for the new parts)

          I hope you will readily find another excuse for your goldboy in Nov. 2011

          1. No need for that acrimony, BBQ2, that car was definitely the lovechild of Lewis-McLaren development in 2009, so certainly the aggressive driving style of Lewis may well better suited the 2010 car in terms of aggression.

            Jenson has already stated that it was his qualifying pace which wasn’t up to the same scratch as Lewis but as we have seen his race pace was easily favourable purely down to his smooth rhythm and of how the general make-up of the cars are in this period. E.g. not so ferociously chuck-able.

          2. Not really, it is true. Why would Jenson have had any input into the car when it would have been over half developed when he joined the team. The car would definetely have been designed for Lewis.

        2. James thats the lamest excuse ive heard in a while. So how come Nando was able to beat Felipe in a car that Felipe had an input in designing?

          1. Because Alonso is a Great Driver. One of the best as LH is.

      2. I wouldn’t say miles better. He was the better driver, but then again there are only two or three drivers on the grid who are as good as hamilton. (Alonso, Kubica, maybe Vettel) (I dont count Schumacher because he was not on form last year) I guess what I mean by that is that we all expected button to really struggle against him, but overall he still had a pretty good season, and drove some very good races.

        1. Movement – So what you’ve said is Hamilton’s a better driver.

          I wouldn’t vote for Button because I was surprised he wasn’t as useless as everyone though.

          1. Yes, he said Lewis was a better driver but not a massivly better driver as Button was closer than most people expected him to be.

        2. Also, keeping within striking distance of the championship until the penultimate race is not a thrashing by any stretch of the imagination. Was Lewis faster? Yes. But he did not wipe the floor with Jenson if you look at how the points wound up.

      3. But he wasn’t “miles” better, which many thought he would be. The gap is really quite small in terms of overall skill level.

        1. Button is by no means an average driver. Why will anyone expect Hamilton to be miles ahead of him. To be 0.1s or 0.2s faster is more than adequate.

        2. It’s amazing how people underrated Button. In 2009 he was really superb.

          People claim it was just the car, but in China, Turkey and Bahrain the Red Bull was actually faster. In Spain they were equally fast and only the other 3 races (of the first 7) Brawn really was the fastest car.

          It was really very closely matched in speed. But then Button’s superior performance overcame Webber’s broken leg, Barrichello’s brake problems and Vettel’s 2 big blunders (and inability to overtake).

          On the other hand the gap between Button and Hamilton is rather flattered by Hamilton having zo much more mechanical problems. He lost 32 points combined in Spain, Hungary and Japan when Button only lost 4 points in Monaco. They both got rammed by a Red Bull (Hamilton even twice) so in reality the gap should have been 30 points bigger.

          1. It’s not as clear as the result will turn out. Button is a really good driver and has actually always been in his career, but the honda not improving can’t really be blamed on him. But at the end of things, Lewis is just the better driver – which says a lot about Lewis.
            This is unfair, we should’ve had Button x Vettel and Lewis x Kimi!

          2. it was just the first year for Button at Mclaren. Lets see this year.
            Hamilton is more spectacular and a bit faster, but Button is really good. If he finds this extra 0.3s on Saturdays, Hamilton cannot handle him in a whole race. Besides, I think interesting how no one notices how Hamilton style is aggressive for his front tyres.

      4. I would not say, that Hamilton was miles better this year. Actually when you think about Lewis being there for ages and Jenson joining in at the last minute, he did quit a good job to be right there to take those wins.

        Sure, after the car got more nervous, Lewis was way ahead, especially in qualifying. Then again, Jenson has shown he can take the battle to Lewis and learn him a trick or two.

        I voted for Jenson, who knows what he would have acheived without the ban in 2004 and Honda just stopping to build competative cars after that. Never expected that, I was not really impressed with him before 2009 and even more in 2010.

    2. Forgive my cynicism, but can I ask whether this match up was chosen or if it was a random draw?

      And I voted Hamilton, as would anyone with half a brain cell

      1. This and the previous ones too.

      2. If it was random, there would be a chance of Senna/Prost in Round 1, so I’d say there was some manual input, or at least some form of seeding system, like a tennis draw.

      3. I seeded them based on some statistics, and I also leaned towards pairing up drivers from similar eras who raced against each other or who were team mates with each other – hence this particular pairing.

        1. I think that makes a lot of sense. How better to compare two drivers than based (partly) on them handling the same car in the same season?

        2. I’m with you Keith. Of all the World Champions these are naturally the easiest to compare so it makes sense to pair them up.

          Oh, and If I hear one more time “Jensen was new to the team…” I’m going to scream! I don’t hear Alonso making those claims at Ferrari – it’s not a big deal. I’d also counter and say Hamilton has much less experience than Button and will be a better driver in 5 years….

          1. I would say it’s not as big a deal as it used to be. But it does make a difference – for example Button’s a bit taller than Hamilton so apparently he wasn’t very comfortable in the car. Presumably that will sorted this year.

        3. Also it’s pretty handy to guarantee the exit of at least one British driver, given the rubbish that’s usually posted.

          1. I wouldn’t worry about what the nationality-fixated think. Presumably they’d see it as a heinous conspiracy on my part to ensure a British driver got through to the next round.

            But I guess statistically British drivers are more likely to be paired with each other than other nationalities because there’s more of them.

    3. The statistics aren’t fair as Button has had worse cars, but paired up Button was beaten by Hamilton. I went for the latter.

      1. They had the same car this year.

  3. Easy choice!

  4. Voted for Button!

    1. jimscreechy (@)
      16th January 2011, 12:22

      Why? Elaborate, please!

      1. If I may…

        I think the choice between Hamilton and Button rests on whether you like flat out racers or those who make clever strategy choices.

        12 months ago I would have voted for Hamilton hands down, and probably still will. But the choice is that much harder when I look at some of the decisions Button made this year in crucial situations.

        And this is coming from someone who really had no time for Button until about 2 years ago.

        1. I really like Button. I have liked him ever since the Williams days and I always hoped he would be successful. He is a good driver and really deserved the success. He is calm, knows what he has to do and on a good day I think he can outrace most others.
          On the other hand, I have never been a big fan of Hamilton and I guess I’ll never be one, but I have to admit he is quick, takes risks (sometimes to an extent I feel like he is a bully on the circuit) and it is very entertaining to watch him drive. Also his attitude towards racing is admirable, he always wants to give 110% (even though thats sometimes just too much).

          It wasn’t an easy choice for me, but I chose Hamilton.

          1. I have never been a big fan of Hamilton and I guess I’ll never be one, but I have to admit he is quick, takes risks (sometimes to an extent I feel like he is a bully on the circuit) and it is very entertaining to watch him drive. Also his attitude towards racing is admirable, he always wants to give 110%

            So what is it exactly don’t you like about him?

          2. Grrr! Explain yourself fiend!

            People ARE actually allowed to have opinions, even if there opinion is wrong.
            For example, If I wanted to vote for Button because he actually has at least one facial hair, Then I don’t see why I can’t…

        2. I think thats a fair way of putting the challenge of choosing between the two drivers. I think Button this year was also hampered by two things:

          First the notion that inter team battles are ‘not allowed’ at the end of a race – which is Buttons strength, that he has his tyres in a better condition and so he can push. Secondly is the tyres themselves being overly durable – if they were more marginal (not just because of the road surface as in Canada) then his driving style may result in more wins.

          Button is severely underrated – he was brilliant for Williams in his opening year too and was the only person to be able to challenge Michael Schumacher in some races during the Ferrari’s’ dominant period.

          Still though, its hard to rate him against Hamilton who is busy setting the world on fire with his attacking driving style, taking no prisoners. With more marginal tyres it’d be interesting to see who comes out on top between the two. Personally, I think it will be Button, which is why i’ve voted for him. Pretty even though if you ask me. Strangely, I wouldn’t have said this a year ago – he has impressed me more this year than last

          1. added to this, Button rarely makes mistakes. Korea was terrible though, i’d agree with that.

          2. jimscreechy (@)
            16th January 2011, 14:44

            Sorry but the school of if’s doesn’t work here. The rules conditions and results are what they are. Deal with it. YOu can’t say if this if that, because that opens up the possibilities of ‘IF’ for everyone and everything… or do you just want the ‘Ifs’ to exist for your own sake of argument and no one elses?

          3. Well SW6569,
            Button starts 9th finishes 3rd
            Hamilton starts 2nd finishes 2nd.
            Amazing drive by Button right?

            Well if you look at it from another perspective, the car that finishes first is on another planet so no contest there.
            Now if Button “manages” his tyres so the work better in the latter stages of the races, and of course gains a few positions because he obviously has a faster car than a few of the opposition.
            The fact he is then running closer to the front of the pack in the final quarter of the race may just be because the leading pack have turned their engines down.

            True Button has a smooth driving style, but he tends to destroy his intermediate tyres much faster than Hamilton.
            Secondly, Button’s brilliant tyre choices, were not as a result of amazing mental calculus, rather they were from forced positions, he was in a bad situation and had to gamble either based on the fact his tyres were gone or he could gain time by avoiding a pit stop.

            Button didn’t make any great tyre choices while running in the top 3 or 4, it was always when he was in very bad positions hence the need to take risks, same way Kobayashi has made many positions.

            Granted though, Hamilton’s knife edge driving doesn’t work in all situations. And I have also come to believe Mclaren expect him to always drive on the limit, hence they make some very strange pit calls.

          4. If Button starts from P9 then he shouldn’t be so bad a qualifying.

            Those “great races” where usually helped by a safety car period and/or several cars breaking down between P2 and P9.

            The car is fast enough for P3, so it’s not that surprising that he makes up places. It’s simply a poor sign that he doesn’t start from P3 to begin with.

          5. im so sorry that people cast their votes based on sentiments of liking a particular driver as opposed to objectivity. when has it ever been right that you should curb a real racer and in place introduce regulations that allows someone who crawls to be a winner. If you ask me thats what I’d say has happenend in the last few years. the FIA discourage real racers. So now Button is apparantly better than Lewis. I dont mind people voting for Button but the reason some are giving like, oh he is likeable, humble, looks after his tires etc are all lamentable.

        3. Button had a lot more to think about during the races than deciding what tyres to use. He certainly did not make any decisions, it was more down to the Chief Strategist, Track Engineer and the rest of the team.

          1. The Team Principal of McLaren disagrees with you there, stating on more than one occasion during the year that Jenson went against the team’s advice and judgement with his own strategy, and got better results in consequence of that.

            I find this is both a very simple choice, and a very complicated one at the same time. I think there’s no doubt that Hamilton is the quicker and more determined driver, Jenson’s comment “This guy is up with the greats of all time” at the end of the year reflects that he accepts that too. On the surface facts, Hamilton’s the winner here.

            I still find myself voting for Button – because I find him a better “Champion” than Hamilton. I still maintain he did a better job in 2009 than Vettel did this year, in a car that was never as dominant as it was made out to be. He made the best of his advantages, he overcame his mistakes, he didn’t slate the team for theirs, and when under massive pressure, he buckled but didn’t break. I rate that as a much greater champion than someone who has the natural speed advantage, but has to cheat, or have their teammate play rear gunner, or have a car with a 1 second advantage over the field (pick your hated driver Schu/Alonso/Senna/Prost etc. here) to win. Button, as a driver, tends to be too complacent, too picky, too easily upset. He doesn’t force himself to go beyond his comfort zone enough, he leaves the door open at the start sometimes, leaving him making up places he shouldn’t, and he’s too likely to settle for a place lower than he should rightly do once the race goes past mid distance. But on the other hand, he never gives up – he’s massively tenacious, he just doesn’t do the outward flair of it that Hamilton does. This is a guy who stuck with F1 for 9 mostly miserable seasons, and still came into his championship year with a stunning pole and victory in the first race that made it look like this was normal affairs for him. He walked away from his championship team to one of the most pressured environments available, against all sane advice, and not only survived, but prospered, beating the pundits, the critics, and his own team-mate’s expectations in the process. He’s no less a fighter than anyone else.

            The reason why I choose Button is I remember Hamilton’s face in the first 4 races of the year. I remember his face and voice in Turkey. He didn’t expect Button to be fast. He didn’t expect a challenge. He didn’t expect Button to be within a country mile of him, much less beat him, or pass him on track. And he was really at a loss about it. It messed up his mind – just like Alonso got messed up to find Hamilton and McLaren weren’t falling into place with what he expected of them.

  5. With all respect,that’s insulting. Button is no match for Hamilton.

    1. Truly is. Lewis always has a couple of tenths over Button. I remember watching a Youtube vid of them both doing some charity work or other where they both raced in a kart, separately.
      Surprise, surprise Lewis got the better time.
      Strategic thinking can only get you so far(and even in this area Lewis is catching up), speed will always be there and will generally always win out.

      1. speed will [sic recte won’t] always be there

        Take one look at Schumacher.

  6. Definitely Jenson Button. He knows how to deal with a non-winning car as well as how to stay cool during the final stages of a title pursuit.

    Lewis came to F1, inherited a winning car and sneezed the world title with an enourmous portion of luck.

    1. Aha but before sneezing the world title with an enormous* portion of luck, he lost it with an enormous* portion of luck!

      1. Jenson Button knows how to deal with a non-winning car?? hahahaha

        1. That made me laugh as well. I clearly remember Jenson setting the world on fire in the Honda in 2007 and 2008.

        2. yea, thats the funniest thing ive read today, Button knowing how to deal with a non winning car. lol

    2. I don’t get the argument of saying “Lewis jumped straight into a winning car”

      So did DC, he should have been a world champion after all the years he spent in the best car. I could understand if Hamilton had done badly and lucked into a race win like Heikki.

      Fact is though he beat Fernando Alonso in the same car in his rookie year.

      1. And also won in his second F1 season despite the FIA stewards doing everything they could to stop him.

        1. Yup, and would have had the most wins that season had the FIA decided not to gift the Spa win to massa.

        2. “And also won in his second F1 season despite the FIA stewards doing everything they could to stop him”

          Hardly. The stewards were erratic with everyone at Japan and Lewis was a bit mad at the start and compromised Kimi’s race so drive through deserved. Spa 08 was a problem because it seemed like Mclaren ere told everything was fine when it wasn’t but that was again the inconsistency of the stewards but that doesn’t mean Lewis was in the right.

          His win at Spa wasn’t gifted to Massa. Massa wasn’t the most stellar by a long shot but he didn’t crash out like Kimi nor did he gain an advantage like Lewis. Hamilton was unlucky (perhaps simialr in some ways to Alo at Silv this year although Alo was repeatedly told to hand the position back) but at the end of the day it was a situation caused by his mistake.

          1. That’s a little selective. The Fuji penalty is entirely unique in F1 history and only rivalled in its ridiculousness by the penalty on Bourdais later on.

            Anyone could also see how ridiculous the Spa situation was. had Kimi finished the race, the penalty would have been deserved. But he didn’t. Mass didn’t lose a single thing from the chicane jumping and yet was awarded the win. Also, given the yo-yo nature of those few laps, you could argue that if Kimi had not crashed, being in the position he was in Hamilton would have actually finished second as Kimi might have had the final advantage, much like the old Monza races favoured the guy who was trailing on the last lap.

      2. I don’t get the argument of saying “Lewis jumped straight into a winning car”

        Ultimately, Lewis would probably have shone in his debut year whether he had a winning car or not. But he probably wouldn’t have been challenging for the world title had he made his debut for McLaren a year earlier. In that respect he was fortunate (Kovalainen’s debut for Renault went the opposite direction), but that doesn’t make his debut year any less impressive.

        After all, as you point out DC started his career in a very competitive car, but reliability and sharing the seat with Mansell damaged his chances of winning a race that year (although he came close once or twice). He had little excuse in 1995, however – the Williams was clearly the best car but DC (and Hill) blew it.

        Jacques Villeneuve also started his career in a winning (essentially dominant) car, but didn’t take the title until his second year.

      3. Alonso is overrated. Trust me. Canada 2007 says a lot about him. He is good, though.

      4. They equaled on points…

        1. Such denial about the champioship ranking system…

    3. jimscreechy (@)
      16th January 2011, 12:30

      Knows how to deal with a non-winning car? What exactly does that mean? Hamilton has been in F1 4 years and one once, so he has 3/1 seasons in dealing with non winning cars. Most of the time Hamilton just said, I wasn’t fast enough or the car isn’t competitive enough. Jenson always had an arm full of reasons why he didn’t get a good grid position or why he didn’t place well. It doesnt matter where you come in the sport, if your not good enough your lack of talent will quickly come to light.

      As for Buttons knowing how to stay cool in the final stages of a title pursuit. HA! when he one the title in 2009 He Himself said he wasn’t dealing with the situation well. It was all but lost for his floundering. for a man who won the first 5 of 6 races I have never seen such a rediculous struggle to clinch the title. As soon as his car was not miles ahead in performance he was unable to produce any conclusive finishes.

      1. The famous ‘Massive Front Locking’ or the ‘Car was undriveable’.

        I always think well Jenson if the car was undriveable how did you complete a lap in it?!

        1. jimscreechy (@)
          16th January 2011, 14:46

          Too funny!

      2. I don’t think Button was driving poorly in the second half of 2009. The car just simply wasn’t up to par. The Red Bull was pretty much unbeatable from Silverstone and the McLaren en Ferrari both had gotten their double diffusers working.

        So sure he was a few spots down, but he was performing pretty well. People claim he was beaten by Barrichello, but was he really? They usually finished only 1 position apart. So they were both performing tpo the abilities of the car.

        Button scored 34 points and Barrichello 42. Only 8 points difference. The biggest part of that was caused in Valencia. Barrichello won that race while Button was pushed off track first by Vettel and then by Webber.

        The difference between Hamilton and Button in Korea was staggering though. Hamilton was complaying of a locking front end too, but he still got the lap times in. Sure he lost a spot to Rosberg and to Alonso by locking his fronts, but still.

        1. It’s a good thing you mentioned Korea, Both Mclarens had locking brakes but most people only focused on Button. However, Hamilton tends to lock his brakes, frequently, left side, right side, both sides, so I guess for him it makes no difference if he does it himself or if the car does it for him:-)

          1. It was apparent when he slid off the track after the second safety car restart.
            Dont tell this to Alonso fans though, they’ll doggedly inform you that their man had everything to do with that.

    4. Button knows how to deal with a non-winning car.

      Seriously? in 2007/2008 He got beaten by Barrichello in the Honda.

      In 2009 when the Brawn wasn’t miles ahead of the field he was way off the pace and sometimes failed to make Q3.

      2010 when McLaren lost pace with Red Bull Lewis was up challenging with them while Button qualified poorly.

      Button has good qualities but handling a non-winning car is certainly not one of them.

      1. I think I have to agree there, Button tends to struggle in a non-perfect car; Hamilton also gets frustrated, but blames himself for not being able to get the best out, rather than have the same reasons why the car was bad, again and again.

        If both had been in a Red Bull this year, I think Button maybe could have won from Hamilton, breezing away Vettel or Button’09 like for most of it, but Hamilton would have still been at his heels or all around him on the good days, and well ahead on bad days.

        It has to be Hamilton who goes through, even though Button showed this year that he is better than most, including myself, thought he’d be.

        1. jimscreechy (@)
          16th January 2011, 15:00

          Very true. I think one additional thing about Hamilton, as I have said on many occasions, is he has the ability to drive the wheels of practically any car he is given. He seems to be able to drive around inherent difficulties within a car/setup and still give impressive results. Button definately does NOT have this ability, in fact, as bosyber says quite the contrary. Even a quick car with a setup not entirely to his liking will have him howling like a banshee over the raido.

          Having said that, Jenson has other qualities on track which I think most of us can appreciate. I like him but unless I misread the aritcle this isn’t a personality contest, so I’m trying to leave my character preferences out of it and maintain obectivity.

          It has to be Hamilton.

        2. Completely agree here. Worryingly it makes me compare Button to Ralf Schumacher, he was terrible if he didn’t like the car but occasionally he’d like the way the car felt and would drive a blinder!

      2. Well not in 2007 of course, where Rubens didn’t even score.

        But of course Hamilton wins this round.

    5. @Struzak, you sound like Martin Brundle, who went on about how David Coulthard was good and doing he public relations duties off track, while Kimi was constantly beating him on track.
      The final stages of Buttons championship pursuit was almost a disaster, the fact BrawnGP had a very good car all season saved Button from an embarrassing end to the championship.

      Hamilton drove impressively in a none winning car and consistently exceeded the perfomance ability of the car.

      The championship is never won at the last race, but only lost at the last race. All races during the season contributes to winning the championship.

      1. @Struzak, you sound like Martin Brundle, who went on about how David Coulthard was good and doing he his public relations duties off track, while Kimi was constantly beating him on track.
        The final stages of Buttons championship pursuit was almost a disaster, the fact BrawnGP had a very good car all season saved Button from an embarrassing end to the championship.

        Hamilton drove impressively in a none winning car and consistently exceeded the perfomance ability of the car.

        The championship is never won at the last race, but only lost at the last race. All races during the season contributes to winning the championship.

    6. … of luck and a lot of marshalls’ help, such as the race when the tow put him on the track again.

      But even whithout help Hamilton’s attitude for racing (agressive, even rude) is improving, and he’ll probably be a champion again, and personally I don’t think the same about Jen

  7. This is hard, two of my favourite driver’s. Jenson is probably my favourite, due to his personality, but Lewis gets my vote, as he has had a much better career then Jenson has.

  8. Top drivers: able to put a car where it doesn’t blong
    (Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel Kubica and Kobayashi)

    average drivers: Just driver the car
    (Button, Kovalainen, Webber, baricello)

    bad drivers: capable to underperform a car

    Petrov and Schumacher :-)

    1. Yeah, Kobayashi puts a car where it doesn’t belong- out in Q1 with the minnows.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Koby and think he has potential, but I think to rank him with the ‘Big 4’ is way premature and I still doubt he’s quite top drawer

      1. Yeah, Kobayashi is hilarious to watch drive but no way is he a top top driver like those 4.

      2. Kobayashi only went out in Q1 a few times in 2010. He’s not that bad in qualifying.

        Anyway my vote goes to Hamilton. Even though 2007 is still his best season, he has more raw pace than Button. As much as I want to vote for Button, I just can’t.

    2. I believe Button is closer to the Hamilton Alonso League, than the Barichello and other Whiners :-) league.

    3. Top drivers: able to put a car where it doesn’t blong
      (Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel Kubica and Kobayashi)

      Until he wins races regualarly, given a great car or not, I can’t put him or Rosberg with those three. Just think of Fisichella.

      1. completely agree

      2. Thanks Lee.

        Sorry, I forgot to say Kobayashi as well. He definitely can’t be considered as good as Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel either.

      3. Agree. For me, true champion skills and speed appears when a driver has a winner car. For example, and always it´is a personal opinion, Button beated Barrichello in a winner car, and so did Hamilton with Button. Schumi did with Barri and Irvine too. Ok, team orders, etc, but they were faster. Same on Raikkonen – DC- Montoya -Massa, Alonso- Massa, Vettel -Webber, Lauda- Regazzoni, Senna- Berger it´s a long list.

    4. If you want an example of a driver “putting his car where it didn’t belong”, take a look at Webber’s ’03 and ’04 performances in the donkey of a Jaguar… particularly in relation to his team mates. Far from “average”.

      As for Button v. Hamilton, my vote goes to Hamilton, as you can hardly mark him down just because he’s been lucky to always be in a winning car. But Button would have had better stats in a better car.

      1. Sadly given a championship winning car Webber simply isn’t on Vettel’s level.

    5. Bit harsh there David! Titling those drivers as ‘average’!! And you didn’t put Rosberg on that list, surely he at least fits into your ‘average’ pile…
      Kob is not one of the top drivers btw

      1. Agree with your comments about Webber katederby

    6. jimscreechy (@)
      17th January 2011, 9:35

      I definately wouldn’t call Webber ‘Average’,I would have him at the tail end of the first pack. AND! in spite of Kobayashi’s very good performances, it’s too soon, to see if this will translate into wins when he gets a competitive car/drive, so I definately wouldn’t have him with the top dogs, though I certainly recognise his potential.

      Actually I wouldn’t call Button average either, not by a long way, I would call him a good driver but not a great driver.

  9. Hamilton matched Alonso in his first season, destroyed Heikki in ’08 and ’09, and managed to beat Button last year despite more mechanical failures. He’s also averaged a 4th place in every race so far (excl. the ones where he retired).

    1. On his day Lewis can beat anyone on the grid, even in a car thats equal to top competition. Button is a good driver, just not on Lewis’s class…this year’s scorecard between the two tells us all we need to know.

  10. Oh boy. brace yourself for some debates.

    Lewis Hamilton has the better record and is widely regarded as being the better driver. However I think Jenson Button was the better world champion driver. He didn’t have to be so loyal to the team he eventually won with and the Brawn year is always going to be memorable for me than Lewis’. Just my opinion. But Lewis will undoubtedly by much greater.

    1. Perhaps, but that sounds to me like heart overruling head

      1. jimscreechy (@)
        17th January 2011, 9:38

        I con-diddly-cur.

  11. Hamilton is one of the best drivers so I’ve voted for him. Button is not a patch on Lewis.

  12. Jenson Button, purely because he was the champion no-one saw coming. Especially after two dismal years with the Honda disaster. Everyone expected Hamilton to be competitive the moment he stepped into the sport. He was, after all, the first rookie to join McLaren in twenty-five years. But nobody expected Jenson Button to come through the way he did. It’s easy to write his success off as being entirely down to the Brawn chassis, but Rubens Barrichello struggled where Button thrived, proving that Button had the edge. And in 2010, some of his daring strategy calls – tyres in Australia and China, and that setup in Italy – were Prost-like in their brilliance.

    1. That is true – Button does have great speed and racing in him, but on off days he somehow can’t make them work for him. He did show this year that maybe Williams should have kept him on a bit longer.

      But with Hamilton there have also been off days, and disappointments, but usually not of the “where has the speed and racing gone” variety.

    2. Was it really 25 years? I thought it had been 14 years since McLaren last had a rookie when Lewis joined (the infamous Michael Andretti incident)?

    3. jimscreechy (@)
      16th January 2011, 15:15

      You give it to Button because he was the champion no one saw comming? What does that mean? Does it even make sense? Your talking about historical f1 facts like they determine how a season will unforld. What does Honda’s two dismal years have to do with it anyway? When that Brawn shot off the grid on the first race of the season it was pretty clear it was head and shoulder faster than anything else on the track. My aunt Jemima could have won the championship in that car.

      The fact that he nearly lost the championship is an unfortunate testiment to his racing abilities, particularly given his ONLY contender for the first half of the season was his team mate Rubens Barachello, a man has had more competive cars on the grid than anyone bar Michael Schumacher and still never one a title.

      1. What does Honda’s two dismal years have to do with it anyway?

        Everything. Honda was an embarrassment, and they made their talented drivers look silly. If I came up to you at the end of 2007 and told you that Jenson Button would one day be World Champion, and that day would be here soon, would you have believed me, based on his performances to date? At the end of 2008, Jenson Button was at a low point. He is, after all, the only driver to have been nominated as F1 Rejects’ Reject of the Year twice, and one of those was in 2008.

        The point is that you see drivers like Hamilton and Vettel and Alonso and you know that they will one day be World Champion. It’s just a matter of time. But could anybody reasonably say that about Jenson Button? When he joined the sport, he had his fans who probably would have said it straight away, but I’m talking about the everyday fans and the non-Buttoneers. I doubt that more than a few could reasonably say they felt Button had it in him to become champion, but become champion he did.

        The fact that he nearly lost the championship is an unfortunate testiment to his racing abilities, particularly given his ONLY contender for the first half of the season was his team mate Rubens Barachello, a man has had more competive cars on the grid than anyone bar Michael Schumacher and still never one a title.

        Only because Brawn ran out of money. They had one big upgrade planned for the season, which was introduced at Silverstone. It didn’t work, but they weren’t suprised, because the Brawn worked better in warm conditions. So Germany was a write-off, too. They were expecting big things in Hungary because of the climate, but that was when they finally realised something was very wrong, and they rushed to develop something better for Valencia. That was where Button made a mistake; he qualified poorly and ceded position to Vettel at the first corner while Barrichello went on to win. But Jenson Button didn’t come close to losing the championship because he was a poor driver – look at his race in Istanbul, which Ross Brawn said was a perfect drive, and he worked with Schumacher; Brawn later said he regretted not looking closer at Button during his time at Ferrari – he came close to losing because Brawn had the smallest budget and only had a limited amount of development throughout the season. By the end of 2009, both the McLaren and the Red Bull were much, much better than the Brawn, and depending on the circuit – like Spa or Monza – the Ferrari was better, too.

        1. jimscreechy (@)
          17th January 2011, 10:08

          Everything? who cares if Honda’s previous cars were an embarrasment? I belive the article is a vote between JB and LW and not a historical comparison of thier careers and how they managed the situations that faced them. Your point about expecting certain drivers to become WDC is really irrelevant. I couldn’t count with a calculator the number of talented drivers I have seen in F1 come and go for lack of opportunity, a competive car, or just shoddy timing.

          Even IF no one ‘did’ see it coming so what? does that mean he gets extra points? why?

          You have gone into a fair amount of details about races, money, weather, even specific corners, which quite frankly doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. who cares if Brawn ran out of money and A.) passed B.) at corner six? A good driver will expect retirments, difficulties, and challenges throughout a season, factor them in to his performance and strategy, and still come out on top. Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, all very good examples. Buttons 2009 championship was a ‘gimmie’, given the car he had at the start of the season, but as soon as his car lost the massive advantage he struggled. He openly admited this himself. I don’t care why, who, what caused the loss of Brawn performace that is what happens in F1.

          Saying “the champion no one saw coming” is like paying a guy to sweep your walk, then paying him extra when your surprised he actually finished the job.

        2. The point is that you see drivers like Hamilton and Vettel and Alonso and you know that they will one day be World Champion. It’s just a matter of time. But could anybody reasonably say that about Jenson Button?

          And you’re really using this as a reason that Button is better?

    4. Everyone saw it coming after the pre-season testing and after the first races. Although I believed this was about driving ability rather than poetry. Even so, Hamilton’s win was more dramatic, due to the circumstances no one saw it coming.

    5. “And in 2010, some of his daring strategy calls – tyres in Australia and China, and that setup in Italy – were Prost-like in their brilliance.”

      Pfft that daring strategy call in Australia was caused because everyone was waiting for the weather to turn while Button had ddestroyed his intermediates and had no other choice. In the end it turned out that the weather prediction was wrong, but Button didn’t know that. That’s luck.

      The setup in Monza was decided by the team. They wanted to hedge their bets. We’ll never know which was the better choice anyway.

      1. Well until adjustable wings of 2011, Fduct was the first time in winged F1, that a team had the option of two different setup for the race.
        And the 5km/hr gained by not taking the higher downforce route, is merely walking pace. Tell me how long it takes to walk past a parked bus and how long it takes to get into the slip stream of a leading car just before the braking zone, and you will see why Mclaren missed an opportunity to run both cars with the higher downforce setup.

        Mclaren though; have to take their eyes off those simulator things and infuse some brilliance and passion.

      2. “The setup in Monza was decided by the team”

        Whitmarsh said post-race that Button’s setup was Button’s choice and wasn’t McLaren’s preference. McLaren’s failing was not bringing a Monza spec f-duct like Ferrari did.

      3. Enough with the Jenson bashing people!
        Yeah yeah you love Hamilton we get it. Anything anyone says in Button’s defence is quickly shat on.
        Electrolite made a pretty good point I reckon and justified voting for Button.

    6. Nice joke Prison Monkeys.

  13. BellaCombs (@)
    16th January 2011, 12:19

    Possibly slightly biased as Hamilton makes my skin crawl, however think Jenson is a better driver, other than his grip problem!
    Hamilton goes for all the drama, where Button just accepts and moves on. I think out of the two Button will have a longer, more promising career, I think Hamilton could burn out.

    1. jimscreechy (@)
      16th January 2011, 15:19

      Hamilton goes for all the drama, where Button just accepts and moves on.

      I think you have these two mixed up. Hamitons car number was 2, buttons was 1… apart from the other obvious differences I won’t bother to mention.

      1. :-)
        Button has already done 11 seasons, moving on to his 12th. True Hamilton may burn out, but what is promising about Button’s career?
        He spent his better years in the doldrums, although that paid off in the end as he won a championship, but for DD-Diffusers, 2009 might have ended not much better than 2008.

  14. Lewis wins this for me. This is how I see it, I swap the two drivers in their respective years of winning the championship, Jenson in a McLaren where the Ferraris were probably the top car, 2008, and Lewis in a Brawn in 2009.
    I doubt that Jense would have been able to outqualify the Ferraris as Lewis did in that year(2008), or produce a drive in Silverstone and finish a minute ahead(as Lewis did), while he may still have won the championship with consistent podiums, I dont know that he’d have produced the same sublime drives.
    Now, if Lewis was in a Brawn in 2009, I dont think he would have suffered the same lack of form that Jense consistently showed at the end of the season, I believe he would have overcome the car’s deficiencies and clinched the championship much earlier.
    We’ve never seen Lewis in a car that is so far above the field as the Brawn was the early part of ’09 so we wouldnt know for sure, but for me, their partnership this year told me all I needed to know about their respective abilities.

    1. I think you have a point here.
      Mclaren have never had an out and out superior car. They just had drivers who made the cars look very capable.

      In 2007 many thought the Mclaren was the fastest car in the feild, all because a rookie, Hamilton, was able to set fast times in it. What they failed to realise was that Mclaren had Alonso, another above average driver. Together both drivers were able to take the Mclaren much further than most average drivers.

      It is Hamilton’s ability to push the car harder, that encourages the team to make very strange pit calls, often forcing Hamilton back into the pack where he is then expected to overtake cars to get back to his previous position.

      1. 1988, 1989 – definately out and out superior car.

        In 2007, they had the best car by a tiny amount, and it was more reliable than Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari. They lost the title not due to bad driving, but the team’s implosion.

        In 2008, the Ferrari was slightly faster than the Mclaren, but more fragile. Hamilton still shone enough to win the title despite all those penalties.

        1. Totally totally correct!!

  15. Hamilton, although this contest will be clearer at the end of next year when we see Button with a car set-up to his liking against Lewis. Still think Lewis will beat him though.

    1. Mclaren claimed the changed the philosophy behind the design of their 2010 car. Whitmarsh even claimed that it would be more suitable to Button’s driving style.

      1. Although they may have changed things slightly, being familiar with Hamilton and only knowing from watching how Button’s driving style would fit with the car until he moved to the team means that the car would surely still be more suited to Hamilton.

        Otherwise the team would be actively sabotaging one of their drivers while guessing that it would help the other!

        I did vote for Hamilton incidentally, so I am not just being a Button fanboy.

        1. Driving style is basically if you like an under steering or over steering car which is the cars tendency when in a neutral setup. Every other thing is basically damper and spring settings.

      2. Apparently when you look at the tel they have v similar driving styles so i really think this is a non-issue

        1. I agree, former drivers have stated that their driving style are not that different in clean air or no traffic. However when it’s time to attack Lewis is not confined to his preferred style of driving. He tends to use the car as a surgeons tool (using oversteer,understeer, trail breaking, timing his acceloration out of corners, etc) better than any driver in F1. Jenson cannot do that. He is a great driver whose major stregth is being able to take advantage of an opportunity when it arise. He is an amazingly quick thinker, but he does not have the skills to make things happen. That is the difference between him and Hamilton.

  16. This is unfair. F1Fanatic matches Farina with Schumacher, two drivers from total different worlds and now Button against Hamilton? This is a shame. Because McLaren has better and more good drivers, one of them will not continue. And Button was not in the same car with Hamilton. This was the car of Kovalainen. His car was in Brawn, which has problem Schumacher because was not his car. Some people must know more things about each drivers cars.

  17. Hamilton every day. I’m not disputing Button’s ability as a driver, that’s evident, but he’s not in the same class as Lewis.
    Now, it must be admitted that Button’s championship win was founded on the fact that he had an incredible car for the first half of the season where any others were struggling, but after that he didn’t lead a single lap of the season, surely this is proof enough that Button’s championship was merely down to the car.
    In 2010 we saw the chance to see Lewis and Jenson in equal machinery, yes Hamilton did put more work into the car but Jenson won in China and Australia so it clearly wasn’t that much of a difference, and Button did prove that he is a very good driver finishing fifth in the championship, however he was outclassed by Hamilton for the vast majority of the season. Personally I think there is no question in this vote.

  18. Ah, Button, the nearly man for so long. Nearly as good as driver X or driver Y in car Z. Effectively in 2004, the best of the rest without that Ferrari, one place ahead of Alonso, with 6 more podiums. Six.

    Sure, hes not as good as Hamilton, But its a lot closer than people seem to be making out. I mean come on, people surely remember taht season. Or how he completely embarrased Villeneuve. Hes no louch or a poor driver. Hamilton shaves it, just.

    1. The most sensible post I’ve read on this thread.

      Button’s performances in 2004 (and 2005 and 2006 to an extent) were fantastic, so all of this talk of him being an average driver is complete nonsense. That said, I still voted for Lewis, but it was a VERY close thing.

  19. Hamilton is a great driver, much faster than Button, but has made through his brief career quite a big number of driving errors and sort of got lucky in 2008. I would say that in this point in time, Hamilton is a better driver but Button is a better world chammpion and this what we’re talking about. So I voted for him.

    1. I always believe Lewis’s ‘errors’ were magnified unnecessarily because he was in a competitive car from the get-go as a ROOKIE and/or second-year driver.
      It doesnt matter what sort of talent you are, there is a learning curve in any professional sport, and Lewis, understandably, went through some growing pains in F1.
      The only major gaffes that Lewis has made would have been Fuji and Canada 2008…pretty good for a second-year guy.
      I dont know that anyone on the current grade save for Fernando would have the intestinal fortitude to win a championship while unpopular among fans and his fellow drivers.
      One needs only to watch China 2008 to observe the pure class of Hammy.

      1. Yeah Sam, and Rosberg (Britney as some call him) did the same “mistake” in Canada 08 but not pig talks of that:(

      2. Canada was an unusual situation, drivers respond to red flags not red lights. I keep saying this, If Kimi didn’t inch forward at the very last moment, to get an advantage over Kubica, Hamilton would never have run into him.
        When Kimi made that small move Hamilton assumed Kimi was moving away. Same reason why Rosberg rammed Hamilton.
        Thank goodness that stupid system is done with.

  20. I just voted! But i would have preferred an Alonso vs Hamilton poll!hehe Jenson Button needs to sort out his quali problem to be considered a top driver. And he’s only good when the car 100% suits him. If there’s a little problem, he’s lost. That’s the difference between good or great driver, IMO.

    1. Btw, i’m new here! How do i put a profile picture? :-)

      1. Go to Sign up with the email you put in to F1Fanatic and then upload a picture :)

      2. Welcome Bianca. This page should help you with account-related questions: F1 Fanatic FAQ

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