Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 2012

Hamilton vs Button: Four races left, five points in it

2012 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 2012The Korean Grand Prix was a disaster for McLaren. The team came away with a single point, their worst result since the beginning of the partnership between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in 2010.

Afterwards Hamilton admitted he is “too far away now” in the championship. With Button even further behind, the best the pair can hope for now is to lift McLaren back in front of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.

There is also the matter of personal pride at stake. With Hamilton off to Mercedes at the end of the season, the final races will decide which of Britain’s world champions gets bragging rights over the other from their time together at McLaren.

Hamilton beat Button in the championship in 2010 but the tables were turned last year – the first time Hamilton had ever been beaten by a team mate in F1.

When Button joined McLaren at the end of 2009 he had just clinched the world championship with Brawn. Even so many expected him to have a difficult time at the team where Hamilton had previously come out on top against two-times world champion Fernando Alonso.

But the points show the pair have been very evenly-matched. McLaren have not failed to score in a single race since the Button-Hamilton partnership was formed at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix.

In their 54 races together Button and Hamilton have racked up 1,235 points between them. Hamilton is ahead by just five points – but will he still be when the partnership ends in four races’ time?

Lewis Hamilton vs Jenson Button: 2010-2012

Here’s how many points the pair have scored in the 54 races from the beginning of 2010 up to last weekend’s Korean Grand Prix:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54
Lewis Hamilton 15 23 31 49 49 59 84 109 127 145 157 157 182 182 182 192 210 222 240 258 262 287 299 317 325 325 337 349 374 386 386 398 408 418 436 442 467 467 482 497 512 516 520 530 555 555 559 559 584 584 609 609 619 620
Jenson Button 6 31 35 60 70 70 88 106 121 133 143 147 147 165 177 189 189 199 214 222 240 252 260 275 290 315 323 323 323 348 363 381 399 424 436 454 469 484 509 509 527 527 529 529 529 533 534 552 560 585 585 603 615 615

Technical failures

Lewis Hamilton


2010 Hungarian Grand Prix – Gearbox (was 4th)
2011 Brazilian Grand Prix – Gearbox (was 6th)
2012 German Grand Prix – Damage (was 16th)
2012 Singapore Grand Prix – Gearbox (was 1st)


2010 Japanese Grand Prix – Gearbox (five places)
2012 Chinese Grand Prix – Gearbox (five places)

NB. Hamilton had wheel failure during the 2010 Spanish Grand Prix while running second with two laps to go, but was classified 14th

Jenson Button


2010 Monaco Grand Prix – Overheating (was 11th)
2011 British Grand Prix – Wheel (was 2nd)
2011 German Grand Prix – Hydraulics (was 8th)
2012 Italian Grand Prix – Fuel pump (was 2nd)


2012 Japanese Grand Prix – Gearbox (five places)

Over to you

Which McLaren driver has impressed you most since the beginning of 2010? And who do you think will come out on top?

Have your say in the comments.

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

171 comments on “Hamilton vs Button: Four races left, five points in it”

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  1. In terms of who has impressed me most, I’ve got to say Button. For the simple reason that he came into team Hamilton at McLaren in 2010, was widely expected to be humiliated by the upcoming super fast Hamilton, but has not really been the case. Yes, on a dry race weekend, Hamilton is usually going to have the edge in qualifying and the race, but when it comes to races in mixed weather conditions, Button has time and time, proven himself to be more than a match for Hamilton. By comparison, Hamilton entered F1, put in a superb rookie season, followed by a convincing one to claim his sole championship. But his career hasn’t quite elevated from there, as I’m sure he himself expected it to. Mechanical failures and pit errors aside, there have been a few occasions where his wheel to wheel wisdom could be questioned, plus, by his own admission, a fairly poor season in 2011, where he took his personal issues onto the track. He still has to aquire that “Complete” word, to his driver description, but it may come in time. So, on the basis that overall, Button has done better than I expected, and Hamilton has not done as well as I expected, that is why my vote goes to Button.

    1. Considering the fact that Button has been racing in F1 for MORE THAN A DECADE, he should have more experience when it comes to car setup and race strategy than Hamilton. In that case, considering that he’s racing in one of the fastest cars in F1, I’d expect him to blaze past Hamilton in every season. Instead, he has ended up pretty much equal to him. That just highlights the mediocrity of Button, not the weaknesses of Hamilton.

      1. I take your point, but Hamilton came into F1 and was hailed as the dog’s doo daa’s, whereas, Button has never been viewed in such a light. The team was also very much Hamilton’s patch when Button joined, due to the rather lackluster effort that Kovalainen had produced. Button himself has said many times that he does not have the raw speed of Hamilton, and most would agree, but he hasn’t quite had the licking that many predicted.

  2. The fact that Button has almost the same amount of points as Hamilton during the last three years is not surprising to me. It reveals several aspects of modern F1.

    First of all, 80-90 % of the drivers on the grid are truly exceptional drivers in any other series than F1. In order to be one of the few that excell even in F1 you have to be an exceptional among exceptionals. Maybe Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen out of the present crop can be seen as such individuals.

    Button, Webber, Massa, Hulkenberg, DiResta, Maldonado, Perez, Kobayashi, Ricciardo and several others are not far behind. We`re talking fractions of a second here, not seconds.

    That`s why other qualities are almost as important as outright speed. And Button is among the cunniest driver out there, he knows when to push and when to hold back and is very aware of what`s going on around him (rain, surface and so on). Furthermore he always try to protect his car, if the risk is too big he won`t risk it. As a consequence he will always pick up more points in the middle than Hamilton does.

    Interestingly the same qualities that earn Button consistent point scoring is reducing his outright one-lap speed. He doesn`t risk as much as Hamilton and will as a consequence not be as quick over one lap. But in the long run there`s not much between them.

    If Hamilton was able to reduce his mistakes while maintaining his speed he would probably beat Button hands down. But can he do that, or is part of Hamiltons outright speed down to his willingness to risk it?

    I don`t know, but even though I`ve never been a fan of Button I`m getting fed up with people putting him down. He`s got a World Championship to his credit at the pinnacle of motorsport and has consistetly been up there for years. Give credit where credit is due.

    1. I don’t see how the amount of risk a driver takes affects his qualifying lap time. Qualifying laps have more to do with innate speed than risks taken, and like I said, if he really was so cunning and wily, the way Alonso is, I would expect him to blaze past an inexperienced ‘hot-head’ like Hamilton. But he hasn’t. Cause he just isn’t that fast.

  3. MrLovaLova

    Risktaking is an important part of a qualifying lap where you are on the ragged edge. By stretching the limits you might go a little bit faster. But to do the same over the course of a race is much more difficult as chances are you will spin off sooner or later.

    Button is indeed a very solid craftsman. I don`t understand your point regarding Hamilton. Hamilton might be a “hot-head”, but he`s definitely fast. The fact that he and Button are so equally matched and both of them have won Championships should really tell you all you need to know.

    Only time can give a comparison between the 2 drivers, and it has. Almost three years in the same team, Button had to adapt to McLaren in 2010 and Hamilton is leaving at the end of the season. There`s not much between them, but Hamilton probably has the edge.

    1. Qualifying has very little to do with risk taking, risks are taken when somebody deals with uncertainty. There is very little uncertainty during qualifying, cause the drivers usually carry out all the required tests during the practice sessions, so the drivers know which setup will give the best time, and during qualifying, there is usually very little traffic, so the drivers get much more freedom to use the track to the max. In fact, the teams and drivers who do get out of their safety zones and “take risks” usually end up suffering during qualifying, just see what happened to Lewis in GBR and SPA.

      It isn’t about who has won a championship and who hasn’t. It took Button 10 years to accomplish what Hamilton did in 2, and even though they both have the same car since 2010, the best he can do is be Hamilton’s “equal”. In the real world, anybody with 10 years of experience in a certain profession tends to be much, much better than a person who only has 5 years of experience. In the case of Button and Hamilton, that phenomenon has not been observed. So what does that say about Button, and what does that say about Hamilton ??

  4. Over the three seasons that they’ve both spent at McLaren, Lewis has clearly demonstrated he’s the better driver. Jenson has done a good job too, especially when the car is perfect.

    1. Jason

      I don`t think Hamilton has demonstrated clearly that he`s the better driver of the two, just look at the point-gap between them. What Hamilton has proven in my view is that he has more potential than Button has.
      But the world is full of wasted potential, and it`s worth nothing unless it`s converted into results.

  5. This is non-sense. When Rosberg was out-performing Schumi at Merc, nobody was saying that Schumi is the better driver. So when Lewis is outperforming Jenson at McLaren, why is Jenson the better driver all of a sudden ??

    1. I agree, it`s non-sense as Hamilton hasn`t outperformed Button, and neither has Button outperformed Hamilton. They have been pretty evenly mached for the last three years. Nobody`s been saying Button is better than Hamilton, but many have been saying that they`ve been pretty evenly matched as team mates.

      As for your point about Button needing 10 years to win a championship when Hamilton managed to do so in just 2 years I have a couple of points.

      Never in Formula 1 history has a young rookie been given the opportunity Hamilton got. It has never happened before, and I doubt it will happen again in my lifetime. To be lucky enough at the age of 22 years old to be put in the best package on the grid, unimaginable.
      Button on the other hand (and everybody else for that matter) had to take the long hard route through the ranks driving midfield cars and sometimes backmarkers. That will add some years to your career before you have the chance to be crowned World Champion.
      So what was Hamilton able to make of this golden opportunity? He`s got one Championship back in 2008 and a decent number of race wins. But not more than you should expect from any driver worthy of a drive in a McLaren.
      Since Button joined McLaren in 2010 he hasn`t won a championship, you`re right about that. What you forget to mention is that neither has Hamilton. As a matter in fact since 2010 nobody except Sebastian Vettel has won a championship.

      I think it`s sad that Hamilton-fans don`t understand that by trying to belittle Button you`re indirectly putting down Hamilton as well. And neither of the two deserve that, both of them are among the best drivers out there.

      1. What rubbish !!! 2 out of 3 seasons, Hamilton has outranked and outscored his team-mate. Even when he had a crap season in 2011, he was getting good points finishes for the team. If you say that they are evenly matched based on the points scored over three seasons, consider the points lost by both drivers over this season due to McLaren screw-ups, Hamilton will come up on top in that department. But keeping the screw-ups aside, you still don’t get my point.

        You yourself said that Button has spent a long time “fighting” in F1. Considering the amount of time he has spent in F1 with teams such as Williams, Renault and Honda (the ancestor of Brawn GP), you’d think he would bring a ton of knowledge and experience to the table when he joins an illustrious team like McLaren. Combined with that fact that he is now an instrumental part of the team when it comes to developing the car, why is this F1 veteran not able to beat his junior ?? And experienced doctor treats a patient in a much better way than an inexperienced one, an experienced pilot carries out a better landing than an inexperienced one, so why is it that an experienced driver like Jenson is only able to “equal”, if not out-perform, his relatively inexperienced team-mate ? Either those 10 years in F1 totally went to waste, or he has lost his “solid craftsmanship”.

        ” So what was Hamilton able to make of this golden opportunity? He`s got one Championship back in 2008 and a decent number of race wins. But not more than you should expect from any driver worthy of a drive in a McLaren.” You make it sound like it is a small feat for a driver to win a championship in his second season. Lets not forget about all the bull he had to withstand with Alonso in his first year. The amount of courage it takes to stand up to a 2 time world champion, in a team you have just joined, is humungous, and like you said, give credit where credit is due.

        1. A lot of ifs in your response. We`re talking about combined points over almost three seasons her. That`s statistic material enough to make a judgement without talking about if this or if that hadn`t happened.
          I`ll take another example from the last three years.
          Vettel has had more DNF`s due to serious mechanical failures than Webber for the last three years, if you count their respective points you will se what outperform means. Webber is also much more experienced than Vettel and should according to your logic wipe the floor with Vettel. Well he hasn`t, he`s been well and truly beaten each and every year. If you count combined points for 2010, 2011 and 2012 I think Vettel has collected almost 200 more than Webber. Noe that`s ouperforming my friend.

          I`m sure you`ll have som “ifs” and “buts” about Vettel and Webber too. But it`s not very interesting as results usually speak for themselves.

          Better to accept that Britain has two very good drivers in F1 and leave it at that. Then we can discuss whether Hamilton is a great F1-driver or not later, if he goes on to win two or three more championships that is. If he doesn`t the discussion is pointless and I will not be bothered.

          1. I didn’t use ‘ifs’ to create subjunctives, I used ‘ifs’ to question your arguments. Statistics are meant to be deceiving, and a wise man would never form an opinion based solely on them.

            I never said Webber should “wipe the floor” with Vettel, I said somebody with EXPERIENCE should perform better than somebody without experience. Webber hasn’t been able to outscore Vettel, which is why Webber is not better than Vettel, the same way you cannot say Button is better than Hamilton, WHICH IS EXACTLY MY POINT !!!!!!!

            I am not saying Hamilton is a great driver, I am just being logical and saying that Jenson, as a senior driver, should be out-performing Lewis, he shouldn’t be ‘on-par’ with him. If you wish to brush off logic, that’s your prerogative.

        2. If you’ve ever spoken to any of the engineers at Mclaren they will tell you that Jenson has brought a wealth of experience to the team and that is the reason they were keen to resign him last year. They didn’t fight too hard for Lewis did they

          1. Like I said, the “experience” hasn’t delivered the results as far as the points are concerned.Internal politics aside, Lewis going to Merc will be a huge loss for McLaren. Lets just hope Perez can get the job done.

  6. before I start, I’m a Hamilton fan but not a “fan boy”, here are my thoughts on the pairing:

    Hamilton is quicker in Quali – this is undeniable
    Jenson is better at managing changeable conditions – Canada 2011
    The points add up to pretty much the same over the 3 years – different approaches yield the same results

    None of the above makes either driver better than the other over the course of their partnership but I would much rather watch Hamilton going all out with his all or nothing approach than watch the consistency of Button. This is after all a racing series and while they are equally good drivers, I feel Hamilton is a much better racer.

    If we could change the regulations and go back three years, bring back re-fuelling and bring back predictable tyres – I would bet that Hamilton would obliterate Button, due to being a better racer rather than driver

    Just my tuppence

    1. Your point is well noted and interesting. Hamilton is a sprinter, Button a long distance runner. But this is a long distance endurance race. Not a series of short sprints. It’s meant to be long and tough and incorporate many variables.

      Changing balance of the car, fuel load, tyres, track and weather changes. All to be considered as part of the challenge. At one time some of the tracks were so long that it would be raining at one part of the circuit and completely sunny at the other.

      I like Hamilton, a bit naive I believe but yes, a bloody good racer. But I love to watch it when Button gets it right and by that I don’t mean pole to win. I mean, he manages the race, his tyres, the competition the conditions and he’s a driver that knows how to overtake too. While Lewis is incredibly fast over one lap, Button holds a full gamut of skills to manage a long race and that for me is far more interesting than watching Lewis nail pole and dominate a race or to run his tyres ragged chomping at the heels of the guy in front, something he has done often only to see Button make up the gap Lewis put between them.

      Mercedes is going to make or break for Lewis the same way the move to Mclaren was for Button.

  7. Hamilton lost some 30 points by going backwards when had the fastest car lost 20 in first races this year. And this why he is 4-5 at best on the grid, Vettel won twice already by taking the advantage of the fast car when has it. Hamilton did very good actually, but people expects much more than his capacity truth he is quite average and even Maldonado, Rosberg, etc can do pole and win races with the fastest car.
    Maybe that is what he is to proof at Merc but who cares ?
    The score is a 5th each a 4th for Hamilton and a 2nd for Button, I will surprise if they do more than 4th and 5th this year and again with a faster car most races.

    1. If you watched followed F1 closely, you would have realised that Hamilton was actually leading the drivers championsip table after the first 3 races, so your argument about him “throwing away points” is bogus. Nobody is saying how Jenson threw away points when he crashed in Karthikeyan at Malaysia, or how he squandered valuable grid positions with all those dud qualifying sessions this season. Its true, Hamilton isn’t the best at starts, but saying that Maldonado and Rosberg can do better than him in a McLaren is total BS.

    2. If you followed F1 closely, you would have realized that Hamilton was actually leading the drivers championship table after the first 3 races, so your argument about him “throwing away points” is weak. Nobody is saying how Jenson threw away points when he crashed in Karthikeyan at Malaysia, or how he squandered valuable grid positions with all those dud qualifying sessions this season. Its true, Hamilton isn’t the best at starts, but saying that Maldonado and Rosberg can do better than him in a McLaren is total BS.

      1. He seldom wins even starting pole. Vettel does when car works for pole, well usually in both cases.

  8. It’s impossible get an objective opinion with anything regarding Hamilton because his fans think he is a god and that when things go his way it’s because he’s amazing and when they don’t it’s because someone is tripping him up.
    No one can absolutely say that the points difference between them is not an objective indication of their relative abilities over the period, for it to be so close after three years is quite significant. That kind of margin is almost negligible. It’s not like the huge difference between Massa and Alonso, it’s pretty obvious which is the better of those two. But 5 points after 3 years, it’s not a points gap worth noting. That’s the difference between Vettel and Alonso in the title charge over one season.

    The big difference is that Button is a conservative driver and not flashy and showy and aggressive and sliding around and Hamilton is. If their skills were colours, Button’s would be blue and Hamilton’s red. And we know how much people love red. The big difference is that Button gets the job done and no one notices and Hamilton is letting everyone know how he did it with his style of driving. I’m not suggesting Lewis is a show off, I don’t think he is, I just mean his style of racing is aggressive and showy.

    If anyone remembers the Coe Ovett middle distance athletic races from the 80s everyone will know that they both excelled at the same level yet in completely different ways. Ovett raced to win and did just enough to make sure he was in front whereas Coe insisted on making sure he was always going for world record times. I am sure every one loved Coe over Ovett, but there was nothing between them ultimately.

  9. If LH could retain his aggressive style and combine it with some of JB’s maturity he would be unstoppable. Too bad for him he’s going to end up average because he can’t grow up a bit….

    1. After being in F1 for 10 years, if Button is still not able to beat Hamilton, in one of the fastest cars in F1, then Button is the one who has ‘ended up average’.

  10. With only a small amount of points in it I think it’s pretty difficult to say who will come out on top. With so many points on offer and these guys being so evenly matched a few points between them can’t really determine who was the better teammate. It’s far too circumstantial and ‘what could have been’ sort of stuff.

    That said however, we’ve been blessed with two very different drivers who have gone to show that not employing team orders and encouraging two very different driving styles has yielded very similar results.

  11. Hamilton has won more head to head races. I wonder why Keith did list the head to head wins?

  12. The a standard deviation of gap in qualifying, or even a bell curve of some sort. That would have made discussions more interesting.

    Also things like longest stints on tyres….

    Button is the lesser driver. He only has better luck. 2011 doesn’t even count because Hamilton was busy focusing on WINNING the damn thing, than cruising home to second.

    1. Hamilton is better, but one cannot sweep his 2011 performances under the rug- he should have got more out of the car, and beaten his “lesser” teammate (or even Alonso, who was in a “lesser” car).

  13. Love it, the stats don’t Le over so many races.
    For what it’s worth, Lewis is clearly faster, however when it comes to the long haul, JB is a very hard competitor and is a match for most. Makes for great debate…carry on for the remainder of the season !!!

  14. The Hare & Tortoise. Hare (Hamilton) scampers off & writes off his car. Tortoise (Button) crawls home collecting points in an unspectacular fashion, unless its a wet/dry race. Hamilton by far the better driver to watch for viewers but its hard to split the two results wise.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      21st October 2012, 22:13

      The results show that Button outperformed Hamilton in the 2nd half of 2011. That half is viewed as Hamilton’s worst F1 half season by far and Button’s 2nd best half season. That skewed Button’s scores but you also have to remember that Hamilton is always fighting to win the race, not to win points for the WDC or WCC. Button has no choice but to bank all the points he can because he doesn’t have the luxury of pushing .5 second faster the car like Hamilton can if he needs to. In the long run, those points can add up and lead to this situation but if Hamilton “banked” points which he will be doing moving forward.

      Can you imagine if all F1 racers drove like Button or Rosberg to beat their teammates? F1 would wither and Bernie would pay Lewis $200 million and give him immunity from the FIA and the stewards to re-energize the sport…

  15. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    21st October 2012, 21:14

    This is the most compelling argument why Hamilton had to leave McLaren. Hamilton has without a doubt beaten Button over the past 3 years in terms of qualifying which is the most common way of comparing drivers in the same car. If Button outscores him, it would just add insult to injury.
    There are many factors that have contributed to this situation but McLaren takes the brunt of the blame. If they can’t win the WDC and WCC with Hamilton and Button, they’ll have a really hard time winning it again unless they have an ubercar which of course in the hands of a driver like Hamilton would be an automatic WDC and WCC by Suzuka…

  16. It`s pretty sad actually, Hamiltons lack of development the last 5 years I mean. Here`s a guy that arrived on the scene with all guns blazing, a true lion. Now he`s transformed into a house cat of some sort, spoilt rotten and extremely self sentered. Just look at Hamilton`s first statement regarding Mercedes, he didn`t expect to win anything in 2013. There`s no team in Hamilton, the most important thing for Hamilton is to place responcibility if he`s not winning at the teams feet, not his own. He`s got some sort of manic need to tell everybody he`s great every single time he opens his mouth and is unable to admit he`s to blame as well as the rest of the team when he`s not winning. I actually think he`s having self-asteem issues which he`s hiding behind this behavior.

    That would explain a lot of Hamiltons behaviour the last seasons, and I for one wouldn`t hold it against him at all. The pressure he`s been put under by the media is enough to break the strongest undividual out there. Hamilton has lived with this pressure since he was 22. It wouldn`t be at all surprising if this has hampered some aspects of his development from young kid to adulthood. I wish the press and others would cut him some slack and rediscover the Hamilton we saw in 2007.

  17. With two races to go the score now stands at Button 637, Hamilton 632.

    1. I think Abu Dhabi 2012 pretty much sums it up perfectly. Lewis just needs a team that can build a car to match his obvious on track superiority.

  18. Lewis Hamilton v Jenson Button is the only example in F1 i’ve ever seen where the points of both team mates over all of their seasons together has been added together to try and manufacture some sort of closeness between the two, when in reality it’s basically 2-1 to Hamilton.

    Apart from a brilliant second half in 2011 from Jenson, and a poor one from Lewis, Lewis has generally had the beating of him. The points don’t reflect the difference between the two, the main reason being the factors out of both drivers control that have seemingly affected Hamilton a lot more than Button over their three years together.

  19. Rodrigo Sanchez
    5th November 2012, 18:07

    In other words, to score points in a Mclaren you need to drive like a mobil chicane. Not sure Lewis will win a championship at Mercedes but He’ll be a better driver and persone at Mercedes. Look how great Fernando Alonso is since he left McLaren even though he hasn’t won a championship yet. McLaren is a disgrace as a Team in so many level.

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