Lewis Hamilton vs Jenson Button

Champion of Champions

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

  1. SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 16th January 2011, 13:47

    Gotta be Hamilton. He’s been a title contender in all of his seasons except 2009 and even then he won races when the car came good.

  2. kowalsky (@) said on 16th January 2011, 13:52

    in a way this pair reminds me of the one at williams in the early 2000’s. When the car was perfect, ralph schumacher, was a match to montoya, but when it was flaw, montoya went much better.
    So my vote goes to hamilton. Besides he is a little better than button in the wet, in qualy and in the dry.

  3. Cristian (@cristian) said on 16th January 2011, 13:57

    As it was clear to everybody this year, Button is better in the wet.

  4. Mahmoud said on 16th January 2011, 13:58

    F1 is about racing, it is not a chess match
    so, Lewis for sure

    • Ah. If only.

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 16th January 2011, 14:20

      Erm…have you heard of Alain Prost? There is a reason he was called the Professor…

      • Well, that’s the problem here, isn’t it. Not many ‘voters’ know who Alan Prost is. LOL

        • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 16th January 2011, 15:06

          I haven’t heard of Alan Prost.

          Alain Prost I’ve heard of though.

        • Oliver said on 16th January 2011, 19:03

          We know very well who Alain Prost is but one factor negates introducing Prost into this debate and that is the Mandatory tyre stop and reusable engines.

          With a mandatory tyre stop you are allowed to abuse your tyres a bit to gain an advantage, where by it becomes easy to defend your position in the latter stages of the race. It is almost pointless preserving your tyres when your engine wont allow you make any gain from it.

          Besides Button only “conserves” his tyres when he is running in traffic and lower positions, while at that same point in time, Hamilton is chasing down Webber or Vettel for first position.

  5. JamesC1991 (@jamesc1991) said on 16th January 2011, 13:58

    Hamilton wins this easily.
    Has driven brilliantly in all 4 years that he has been in F1 and smashed Button this year after Canada
    Button is a very lucky champion,only a quick Brawn in the first half of the season meant he won the title although giving him credit he did smash Rubens in the first 7 races of 09 and drove well in Brazil.
    Overall though an average driver who moans far too much,great drivers drive round problems when the car is not perfect,Button can’t and Hamilton can.

  6. mrhelix21 (@) said on 16th January 2011, 14:12

    Jenson Button.

    If you have a good car, you capitalize on it. 6/7 is an achievement to be proud of regardless how good the car.

    Another main reason – Brazil 2009. A world champions drive if I’ve ever seen one. Superb.

    To those complaining of his complaining, who was the one that called the car a “dog” as soon as the luxury of not having a competitive one arrived?

    I greatly respect both drivers but Jenson wins out for me.

    Those comparing this year, bear in mind Hamilton is essentially McLaren’s homechild, been with them since 14 and must have greatly put his input on the driving style of the car. What Jenson’s done is proven he a true champion by taking on a tough challenge, won races using skill and intellect and settled into a team like a slice of cheese on a tuna melt.

    One more thing – he was by far the best world champion for what image he portrayed for the sport.

    • Samuel (@) said on 16th January 2011, 14:25

      I wouldnt go so far as to state that last part of your paragraph. There’s no way to quantify how Button portrayed a better ‘image’ for the sport as a champion, and it may be bordering on dangerous territory as far as what you mean by ‘image’ as compared to Hamilton.
      I also wouldnt put so much stock in the McLaren being suited fully to Lewis’s style, as what happened earlier in the season with Button winning should prove otherwise. Infact Button’s season arc hit his peak early, then sloped down, if the car was suited to Lewis, it would be the other way around, as McLaren would then be trying to set-up the car to suit Button’s style more.

    • Manuel said on 16th January 2011, 14:46

      Brasil 2009 was epic! qualified 14th while your teammate was on pole and then fighting with backmarkers to win the championship, really epic!

      • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 16th January 2011, 15:08

        Hamilton started behind Button that race and finished ahead of him. A real Champions drive ;)

        • He was in a better car, and wasn’t under any pressure.

          • judo chop said on 16th January 2011, 18:30

            “He was in a better car, and wasn’t under any pressure”

            Barrichello’s pole suggest Brawn were still quicker than McL. Championship pressure’s no excuse for Button as it should’ve made himup his game even more.

      • kowalsky (@) said on 16th January 2011, 17:40

        Epic would have been winning it from pole. But what he did was good after screwing up the qualy.

  7. Unsurprisingly, the voting is already 3 to 1 in favour of Hamilton. LOL

    Who is he going to be compared with next, Jackie Stewart?

    Voting on here must be a bit like asking kids who currently listen to Radio 1 to vote for the best song ever. They aren’t going to bother listening to and voting for anything other than what they’ve recently heard.

    • Samuel (@) said on 16th January 2011, 14:29

      We get it. You dislike Hamilton.

      • Wrong. I do not dislike Hamilton. If there was any driver that I would say that I ‘disliked’, then I would have to say that he drives a red car and isn’t Brazilian.

        And unlike some, I am not a ‘hater’ either.

        Hamilton is world class, but then, so is Button. But some people don’t understand why that is.

        In an earlier result, Raikkonen beat Vettel by more than 2 to 1. Now that’s interesting, given that Vettel is obviously so much better. Haters and Fanboys at work?

        • If you don’t want this seasons champion to be a rival, who are you going to vote for in that one, I wonder?

          This comparison is flawed.

          • Katy (@katy) said on 16th January 2011, 15:11

            Crikey, it’s only a bit of fun during the off season! Calm down.

          • JamesC1991 said on 16th January 2011, 17:43

            Raikkonen is just,just better than Vettel VXR at the moment but if Vettel wins the title next year,then my vote would go to him.
            @debaser91 is spot on with his comment.
            I’m in no way a totally biased Raikkonen fan,others yes are totally biased and Kimi obviously is nowhere even the Top 20 of the greatest of all time and will lose in the next round.
            Also other fans are totally biased especially Lewis’ ones but he wins this one hands down.

    • kowalsky (@) said on 16th January 2011, 17:43

      in my book ham dosn’t stand a chance against the great stewart. If he beats the scotish driver, the hole deal would be flaw.

  8. Samuel (@) said on 16th January 2011, 14:28

    Button also has more than double the starts that Lewis has, so it would be pretty shocking if he hasnt at the moment picked up on some strategic nuances during a race.
    It does NOT mean that he is more intelligent, rather that he is more experienced in race situations because he was encountered almost any occurrence imaginable.

  9. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 16th January 2011, 14:36

    That’s the biggest bombshell of round 1. Going into 2011 Mclaren have the strongest team pairing, I voted for Hamilton as he has been one of the most exciting driver to watch on the grid.Even on a bad day he have something in his bag.

  10. Manuel said on 16th January 2011, 14:37

    Formula 1 is about RACING and COMPETION,not who can talk a lot of PR or smile better at the camara. Lewis Hamilton brings pasion and emotion to the sport. You only need to look at him to know if he’s happy or mad. He wants to win every grand prix even if he doesn’t have the car to do so… while others are counting points they have and points they need. People don’t buy tickets to see a fashion show.I don’t waste 2 hrs to watch a car parade. For me, Lewis Hamilton is a true champion.

    Let’s be honest, who do we look forward to see racing? Jenson Button? Really? or Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton?

  11. Faraz said on 16th January 2011, 14:48

    I will clear it up here Jenson Button is over-rated he only won in the WDC in 2009 because he had the best car with no real competition Rubens was struggling because the car was not set up properly for him. The British media are constantly giving Button praise because he is British.

    The way people say he took on wet tyres at China and Melbourne its nothing special he won the races on luck.
    If another driver had done it everyone would say he got lucky. Button is over-rated and arrogant.

    Lewis takes this 110%!!!!!

    • Manuel said on 16th January 2011, 15:04

      Spot on! He went to mclaren because he’s British, he knows he has the media back up to justify everything for him.

      • However, the same can be said for Vettel this year, Schuhi on a no of occassions and fro alonso in 2005 and start of 2006, yes the car is 80% of the race, but you still need the other 20% other Barrichello would be world champ god knows how many times, so would Fissi and Vettel should have been 2 times world champ, so Button is still a worthy Champ, please leave this its just the car, because it isnt

  12. Damon said on 16th January 2011, 14:49

    “Notable teammates: Heikki Kovalainen”

    LOL, Keith.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th January 2011, 14:59

      He was Hamilton’s team mate longer than anyone else.

      • Would you agree that ‘some people’ voted for Raikkonen, so as not to have Vettel as a rival to Hamilton later on in the comparison?

        • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 16th January 2011, 15:15

          Raikkonen will be more of a challenge to Hamilton than Vettel. Kimi has a lot of fan boys who would vote for him as better than Ayrton Senna.

          • So “fan boys” are playing a part in this?

            It’s all going to be down to Raikkonen ‘fan boys’ vs Hamilton ‘fan boys’ in the end. And I’m sure that the Raikkonen will easily win out.

            Imagine it. The best F1 champion could be the one that Bernie Ecclestne described as being “the worst ambassador F1 ever had”. LOL

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 16th January 2011, 19:41

            Don’t we have the “login required to vote” thing to stop fanboy flooding to some extent?

            Raikkonen won from Vettel this time, and it wasn’t narrow, maybe because most people just felt he needed to prove he is an overtaker instead of leading from pole?

            In other words: despite (or maybe even due to?) the hype by part of the media, Vettel still has to convince people, Raikonnen is a clear picture, not without flaws, but very fast and gutsy when motivated, so he won, for now.

            Since both Hamilton and Vettel have only had a short time in F1, and no years of uncompetitive cars to deal with so far, I would hope that others who have proven more already have a higher chance of ultimately prevailing in this competition.

        • debaser91 said on 16th January 2011, 15:17

          No they voted for Raikkonen because they thought at this point in time he is a better champion than Vettel. Vettel has yet to prove he can overtake like a Hamilton, Alonso or a Raikkonen, and he just scraped the title in what was the quickest car in the field.

          Your theory is unbelievably convoluted, why would you vote for one driver on the basis of who they might come up against in future rounds. I don’t understand your reasoning at all

          • “Your theory is unbelievably convoluted, why would you vote for one driver on the basis of who they might come up against in future rounds.”

            If you don’t know the answer to that……

          • McGregski (@mcgregski) said on 17th January 2011, 8:56

            Whilst Vettel should have annihalated the grid this season with the car being so fast, between unreliability and his reactions to negative situations he came across more of a “spoilt brat” than good World Champion!

            Not to take anything from him because in the right car he is immensely quick the number of poles in 2010 speaks for itself BUT think about Webber who has never really been this close to the front and was usually only a tenth or a hundredth behind or sometimes in front of him – you have to wonder just how great the RB6 was!

            They should have let Lewis have a go in it against Vettel and see the outcome

    • Notable for being slow.

  13. Faraz said on 16th January 2011, 14:51

    Notice how when in 2009 the Red Bulls and Mclarens got up to speed Button became a mid-field runner and Barrichello won races.

    • Yes, I noticed that. What do you make of it?

      During the previous season, another driver also tried his best to throw the title away in a car that was much better than the Brawn was at that stage of the championship.

      • Now that was a championship won on pure luck!

      • Faraz (@faraz) said on 16th January 2011, 22:58

        Well that driver was not a big complain face like Button. oooh me set-up is terrible. ooooh no grip ooooooh un-drivable blah blah blah.
        Im sorry if you are saying that Button is a better racer than Hamilton then you seriously ought to consider watching another type of racing maybe Golf cart racing they all drive for greenpeace there.

  14. JCF1 (@jcf1) said on 16th January 2011, 15:11

    You do not design a car around a driver, you design a car to be fast. I know it sounds obvious, but some of you still don’t get it.

    The setup is then adjusted to driver preference.

    • Oliver said on 16th January 2011, 20:22

      Thank you mate!
      Withmarsh said the car would even suit Button’s style more than Hamilton because they changed the basic design characteristics for the season. Even Hamilton said he had to change his driving style.

  15. snowman said on 16th January 2011, 15:13

    I think both drivers are underrated a bit. What Hamilton done in his rookie year is still unbelievable. The rookie matched Alonso and has matured and improved since and still people try to say that Alonso is the best! If they were in the same team today is it really realistic to think Alonso would come out on top when he couldn’t handle Hamilton then.
    As for Button he got a load of stick after winning the championship as if he was undeserving cause of the car. How many other champs won in the best car?? He shows what kind of champion he is by going to ”Hamilton’s team” then people say he’s an idiot he’s going to be embarrassed. Give the guy a break! What an achievement if he could get the upper hand on Hamilton this season. Anyways at minute have to give it to Hamilton on his raw pace.

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