Hamilton and Button: All smiles – for now

2011 F1 season preview

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button

At the start of last year there was much speculation about how McLaren would handle having two world champions in its driver line-up.

To the surprise of some, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have got on well, and whenever they’re together, seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

No one expects F1 team mates to be the best of friends. Last year Red Bull’s driver pairing proved a combustible one and it wasn’t all smiles at Ferrari either.

McLaren have had their share of problems in this area as well – not least with Fernando Alonso and Hamilton in 2007.

But, despite all the talk of Button entering ‘Hamilton’s den’, and the plain fact that he was out-paced by his team mate for much of the season, Button seems to be quite at home in the McLaren environment.

He snuck two brilliant, opportunistic wins last year, but his weakness in qualifying is an area he admits he needs to work on.

At times last year Button gave the impression he was trying a different set-up to Hamilton in the hope it would give him an advantage – an approach which work at Monza but didn’t at Suzuka.

Button does the corporate thing very well – as does Hamilton, though he sometimes allows his emotions to betray his true feelings.

Hamilton was visibly frustrated at the lack of running he had during testing at Barcelona. Similarly, his unhappiness with the team’s strategy at Melbourne last year was made plain in a series of terse radio messages.

During the winter Hamilton spoke of personal problems that affected him last season. He had earlier split publicly with his manager, father Anthony.

Whatever was the root of his problems, it didn’t prevent him from keeping Button under control throughout 2010.

But while Button came late to the development of last year’s car, the MP4-26 should be a better fit for him this time around.

We could see these two much closer on the track more often than last year. McLaren insist the pair will continue to receive equal treatment.

But think back to their dice at Istanbul in 2010 – with Hamilton asking the team on the radio whether Button was allowed to pass him – and it’s not hard to see how the camaraderie could come under more strain this time.

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61 comments on Hamilton and Button: All smiles – for now

  1. CNSZU said on 5th March 2011, 15:34

    It is understandable that last year, people were wondering how the relationship would turn out. This year however, there is no need to wonder – they are good friends. Nothing will happen. End of story.

  2. michael harries said on 5th March 2011, 15:43

    It will all be fine unless Jenson outperforms Lewis – then it would get nasty.

  3. manatcna (@manatcna) said on 6th March 2011, 0:25

    This “falling out” rubbish is just the media trying to make a story.

  4. Wobblebottom said on 6th March 2011, 23:07

    Indeed. Lest we forget, 2007 (really don’t want to bring this up again but I need to). Hamilton can spit the dummy as good as anyone (even Alonso ;-)), if Jenson was beating him, I would bet my first born that Hamilton would pull an Alonso – problem is that Whitmarsh loves Button and wouldn’t play ball but of Dennis was still in command……well……he just might :-)

  5. frow14 said on 7th March 2011, 15:36

    Think you might all be a little bit blinded by Hamiltons more aggressive style, sure he takes chances and pushes but don’t forget Brasil when Button needed a points finish of 5th in his Brawn to wrap up title, what a drive that was particularrly against Kobyashi in the Toyota, Hamilton needed to make some moves in Brasil and couldn’t do it relying on a slip from Glock in the last corner to win his title, without the rain Massa was World Champ.

  6. Malcolm said on 7th March 2011, 17:01

    Without the rain, Glock wouldn’t have gotten into 4th place, because he didn’t stop like Hamilton and Vettel. frow14 without the rain Hamilton had a lock on the championship.

  7. tequilatim said on 7th March 2011, 21:17

    Going to be fun watching these two self destructing this year! Can’t wait for Melbourne.

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