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 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%!!!!!

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

      1. 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

        1. sorry spelling is shocking tonight!

  2. “Notable teammates: Heikki Kovalainen”

    LOL, Keith.

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

      1. 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?

        1. 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.

          1. 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

          2. 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.

        2. 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

          1. “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……

          2. 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

    2. Notable for being slow.

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

    1. 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.

      1. Now that was a championship won on pure luck!

      2. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Richard Purdey
    16th January 2011, 15:27

    I have to say i have supported Jenson for the last 10 years… and was very very happy he won the WDC in 2009 despite what some people think on here…..???

    Saying that i still believe hamilton is the better driver.

  7. i knew you would jenson and lewis together

    i dont no which one because lewis is quicker and the better driver but jenson was better overall in his championship year

    so im not voting on this one

  8. You didnt answer the question VXR so please enlighten me. If you are voting this way I find it slightly strange as we have no say in who faces who so there is no guarantee Vettel would have faced Hamilton anyway!

    You dont seem to like that Raikkonen got more votes than Vettel which is fine as its your opinion.

    However people are voting based upon the merits of each individual matchup which Keith comes up with. Yes everyone has favourite drivers, but I’ve read on here people saying they don’t like a particular driver but have voted for them anyway because they thought they were stronger/better than the other driver

  9. Bye, bye Button…:) My “invisible vote” goes for Lewis…:) He is a great driver, fast on every types of circuits with a fine abilities to overtaking… He just needs to sort out “the pressure thing”, when he is battling for the championship and the end is near… That is his one and only weakness, but unfortunately, quite important in the fight for the championship…
    Btw., not very happy to see some fine drivers especially Nelson Piquet or Damon Hill being out after first round, the pairing wasn t the luckiest in some rounds…

  10. Hamilton for me. He impressed me with consistency he had in his rookie season (best car or not, he had only few rookie mistakes and most of them at the end of the season when pressure was big). He beat 2 times world champion in the same car as a rookie – say what you will but in 95% of the cases more experienced driver will be more successful than a rookie. Later on he proved himself as a driver, especially in 2009 when with a “bad” car he had some solid performances – even though nearing the end of the season McLaren came close to the top runners.

  11. I agree that “we” have no say in who faces who. :)

    Raikkonen vs Vettel was always going to be another controversial pairing, and it’s well known that there has always been a large fan base for Raikkonen on this forum for one reason or another. LOL Bye Bye Vettel.

    Can’t wait to see who Alonso gets pitched against!

    1. I agree that “we” have no say in who faces who.

      Not so. By definition any two drivers deemed to be good enough will inevitably meet each other sooner or later…

  12. I’m sorry that this match has come so early. but it’s no-brainer to me. Hamilton is one of the best driver in the grid and I don’t evaluate Button as him.

  13. Every other one I’ve tried to vote fairly and unbiased as to who was the better driver, not who I liked better. This time, though… I just felt bad for Button and knew he wasn’t going to win. and it’s the last one. So I went for Button.

    Truth be told, though, I only feel Hamilton ekes out Button just barely. And that’s because Hamilton has a lot of potential time left to continue to prove if he’s one of the best ever. And by all that we’ve seen, he seems to have the ability to show he isn’t just an anomaly for a couple seasons. Also couple that with the fact that he matured a fair bit this year, it’s what just barely slips him ahead. Before this year, I would have said they are dead even for the fact of Hamilton’s raw pace and Button’s steady-as-she-goes cleanness and clever calls.

    I know I just argued the exact opposite of what I just voted, but y’know… I played it how we’re supposed to on every other match so allow me my one indulgence :P

  14. Lewis has the potential to be aligned with some of the great names in the sport like Stewart or Clark, and Jenson……well Jenson I believe doesn’t fall in that catagory.

    My vote….Lewis.

    1. I’m glad you’ve recognised that Hamilton isn’t quite up there with Stewart or Clark. ;)

  15. Pure FAvouritism here being a brit, going for JB, he is the MAN

    1. Yes, it does seem that Jensen is more popular than Lewis in his own country, despite proving to be the better pilot.
      The mind wonders why….

      1. dont you just feel that, for example, button does the interviews, does the post race on the forum, like in Spa, had been taken out, was still on the forum making jokes to the Beeb, hamilton, great racer, really like him, but he is just a little too corporate for me!

  16. % of car failures is just 2.82. Wow!

  17. I know it would be biased to judge based on one season only but I can’t miss the opportunity to compare them directly – just because I can for they are in the same team.

    Hamilton was constanly quicker than Button in the majority of 2010. Other than that it’s quite even.

    1) Button delivered those six victories out of seven in a dramatic fashion. Most of them was not a no brainer, they were tight battles it just so happened Button came out on top – he had to be constantly on the top of things. Hamilton’s 2007 was similarly constant.
    2) Button has the smoothest, most gentle driving style of all which I believe is harder to achieve than the pin-point agressive ‘lock up the inside front’-style of Lewis. Hamilton does not have it – but he does compensate for it with a kind of predatory instict which I think is largely missing from Button. Even.

    There’s even a thing which could nullify the 2010-form argument – which was clearly in Hamilton’s favour: we do not know yet what is Lewis Hamilton capable of in an absolutely uncompetitive car like the Benetton B201. (Let’s exclude the MP4/24.)

    So I decide upon the latest form on which my vote goes to Hamilton.

    Though personally I like Button more, but this has nothing to do with it. I’m a Ferrari fan anyway. :D

    It was a very very tough one for me at least and I honestly would like to see both of them going through.

    On a side note: I don’t feel right that Schumacher, Alonso and Clark made it into the first ‘four’ of round two while the third and fourth ‘four’ is arguably more easy to decide. Just an opinion.

    1. ” Button has the smoothest, most gentle driving style of all which I believe is harder to achieve than the pin-point agressive ‘lock up the inside front’-style of Lewis”

      This F1 not figure skating!

      1. It’s not the BTCC either. Hamilton would do well there.

        1. He’s already doing well in F1 though.

    2. I suppose the 2009 Mclaren wasn’t a bad car enough for you? A car the engineers where still trying to figure out, who ate my turbulence, all the way till the end of the season. A car that was 3 seconds off the leading cars at the beginning of the season.
      A car Heikki was managing to get close to the top 10 on several occasions.
      No, you just prefer to go back to Ben Hur and drive ox carts.

  18. He won a race in the wet in which the car was working beautiful. Other drivers in inferior cars have won races in bad conditions. If the setup is right in those conditions then nearly every car as a chance of victory. Vettel as also been helped by being treated as the no 1 driver

    1. Hamilton was “helped” by Kovalainen not being any ‘help’ at all. Which automatically makes him numero uno. Vettel never quite got it so easy as that.

      Also. In order for your car to “work beautifully” you have to set it up to do that. You then have to drive it “beautifully” to the finishing line ahead of far superior cars.

  19. If it wasn’t for car problems Hampton would definitely be 2x champion

    1. “If is F1 spelt backwards”, as Murray used to say. ;)

  20. Senna v Hamilton and Hill v Button would have been …funnier/fairer?

    Anyway I went for Jenson, Hamilton has had opportunities to win three titles in just four seasons, and quite frankly nearly blew all of them. Jenson had one (possibly two) chance and took it.

    Hamilton is maybe a tenth or two faster on raw pace, but Jenson has a more rounded racecraft in my opinion.

    1. Yes, in your opinion. To bad the reality says otherwise.

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