Button and Hamilton join McLaren’s roster of world champion driver pairings

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How well will Button and Hamilton get on next year?
How well will Button and Hamilton get on next year?

It’s been said the driver policy at McLaren is simple: find the two best drivers available and hire them.

Once again they have hired a pair of champion drivers, something which is not that common in F1. The surprise 2010 pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button is the latest in a series that includes the likes of Alain Prost, Niki Lauda and Ayrton Senna.

McLaren’s newest champion duo has a lot to live up to. How will they compare to the past greats of the Woking team?

Alain Prost and Niki Lauda, 1984-1985

Greatness: Ended up with seven championships between them, each winning one while team mate to the other. They benefitted from the exceptional power and flexibility of the TAG-sponsored Porsche 1.5-litre turbo engines, as well as an excellent John Barnard-designed chassis, which won 12 of the 16 rounds in 1984.

Each was a master in the art preserving a car over a race distance and working their way through the field to victory. The same season they won 12 races they had only three pole positions – and they were separated by just half a point at the end of the year.

Weakness: Their second season as team mates was a disaster for Lauda, who slumped to tenth in the championship, largely due to a string of car failures. Lauda left the team at the end of 1985 unhappy with what he perceived to be Ron Dennis giving preferential treatment to Prost.

Record: Prost won his first of two championships while Lauda’s team mate, and went on to win three more. Lauda’s 1984 title was his third and last after winning two with Ferrari in the 1970s.

Alain Prost and Keke Rosberg, 1986

Greatness: Rosberg made a one-year stop-off at McLaren while en route from Williams to retirement. Although the McLaren-TAG now lacked the outright pace of the Williams-Hondas, a dramatic twist at the final round let Prost in to claim a sensational second championship win.

Weakness: Just one podium finish for Rosberg who struggled to adapt to the MP4-2C. But the pair remained on good terms and Rosberg was happy to support Prost’s title bid in the latter stages of the season.

Record: Rosberg joined defending champion Prost for 1986 having won the 1982 championship for Williams despite taking just a single race win that year. Prost won his second world championship while the pair were team mates.

Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, 1988-1989

Prost and Senna fought on and off the track
Prost and Senna fought on and off the track

Greatness: Probably the greatest driver pairing of all time. Not even Michael Schumacher-era Ferrari matched the dominant form of Prost and Senna in 1988, winning all bar one of the 16 rounds and finishing one-two in half of the races. Prost’s consistency and Senna’s daunting one-lap pace made them a formidable duo the likes of which has scarcely been seen before or since.

Weakness: Certainly the most infamous driving pairing of all time. Fell out over Senna’s defensive driving at Estoril in 1988, then over a deal Prost claim Senna reneged on at Imola in 1989. Culminated in Prost swiping into Senna’s car at Suzuka in 1989, winning the title in the process. Prost had already announced he would leave the team for Ferrari, and 12 months later Senna took his revenge at the same track.

Record: Senna won his first championship with McLaren at this time and Prost claimed his third. Senna went on to win two more with McLaren while partnering Gerhard Berger, while Prost took his fourth and last at Williams with Damon Hill as his team mate.

Mika Hakkinen and Nigel Mansell, 1995

Greatness: While together, not much.

Weakness: It’s easy to overlook this pair as they were only team mates for two races in 1995. Nigel Mansell was at the end of his career but Mika Hakkinen’s was just beginning to gather momentum.

However their car, the first Mercedes-engined McLaren, was a disaster. Mansell didn’t even fit in it to begin with and Mark Blundell took his place while the cockpit was enlarged. Mansell drove it twice, registering a tenth place and a withdrawal, and then never again.

Record: Mansell won one championship with Williams in 1992 after being runner-up on three occasions. Hakkinen stuck with McLaren and was rewarded with back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, 2007

Alonso and Hamilton's partnership quickly turned sour in 2007
Alonso and Hamilton's partnership quickly turned sour in 2007

Greatness: Either Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso could have won the 2007 championship, but both fell short by a point, partly because neither emerged as the consistently better driver over the course of the year.

Weakness: The pair traded blows all year. Hamilton claimed Alonso was favoured by the team at Monte-Carlo, then refused to let his team mate by when instructed to at Hungary. That provoked a reaction from Alonso which earned the Spanish driver a penalty – and then all hell broke loose. Alonso revealed details of the McLaren’s use of confidential Ferrari information to the FIA, and the team were thrown out of the championship.

Hamilton had a comfortable lead in the championship with two races to go but lost it after a series of mistakes by team or driver including an unnecessary tactical gamble, a driving error and a car problem. Meanwhile Alonso was by now so unhappy with his treatment he demanded an independent FIA adjudicator be present in his garage to ensure fair play. Nothing was found, but he too was unable to keep Kimi Raikkonen from the crown.

Record: Alonso joined McLaren from Renault, where he had already won two championships. Hamilton bounced back in his second season to become the sport’s youngest ever world champion.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, 2010

It’s likely that even if Button hadn’t signed for McLaren we’d be looking at another all-champion line-up at McLaren, as they were also courting Raikkonen.

The first impression from readers of this site is that Button has made a major gamble by joining Hamilton’s team for 2010 – 83% believe he will get beaten next year.

History tells us these world champion pairings don’t tend to last long – two years, tops. So what sort of partnership will we see this time? Will it be one-sided but amicable, like Prost and Rosberg? Or a closely-matched fight between enemies, like Prost and Senna? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Button and Hamilton at McLaren

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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135 comments on “Button and Hamilton join McLaren’s roster of world champion driver pairings”

  1. I honestly believe these two will be like comparing Vettel and Webber. Hamilton will probably beat Button but he won’t completely decimate him.

    1. I still don’t get how people think Vettel and Webber are close…

      Look at qualifying and the championship standings

      1. Still closer than Schumacher vs either Irvine or Barrichello. And don’t forget that at points during the season, Webber was the leading RBR driver — until that 5-race pointless streak.

      2. Tommy, right on ! Webber is in Button’s class of mediocre drivers, only he didn’t luck out having an extraordinary car for half a season. Lewis will destroy Button, this is a certainty. If he was able to get in Alonso’s head, he can surely remove any last bit of confidence that Button may think he has. This will be ugly.

      3. I’m not saying Webber and Vettel are close at all, Vettel is obviously the better driver and beat Webber quite easily, but didn’t embarrass him. Button will get beaten by Hamilton but he won’t be far behind, and will get up for a win every now and then. Plus with the new rules regarding fuel who knows…

        1. with the new refueling ban i can see button edgeing hamilton, he is a much smoother driver and that will be the requirment next season i feel

          1. I agree with Wayne. I believe I’ve mentioned the same thing before on a another post.

            Smooth driving will be critical next year, the extra weight of fuel will cause havoc on tyres. Hamilton is not known for great car management skills, so we’ll have to see how it pans out.

            Lewis will come out tops, but I think it will be a lot closer than expected. I just never understood Mclaren, why have two really good drivers if you’re only going to support one?

  2. Hamilton will absolutely dominate. End of story.

    Button has excelled at one thing in his career : Making bad team change choices, and this one is a doozy!

    Personally I still believe that he lucked into the Championship this year. Much as Kimi did his. But unlike Kimi and other driver’s of his ilk, Button has never shown anything other than consistency in his driving. He certainly does not revel in situations where things don’t go his way… and that is sure to be what hampers him most next year.

    1. And the end of the season things consistently weren’t going his way but he still constantly picked up points each race and usually worked his way up some places. Okay they weren’t 10th to 1st drives (but the only way anyone manages that is with a smidgen of strategy / weather luck.) Its ultimately what won him the champisonship – a few “maniac” drives not settling for half a dozen points could have scuppered him.

      1. As I said, Button has great consistency. You seem to be agreeing with that from your comments.

        But put him on the back foot and all he does is consolidate that position, he doesn’t push for more. Sure, sometimes that can go against you as it did for Hamilton when he pushed too far on a last lap and spun out this year.. But overall drivers who push *all the time* fair better in F1.

        Button lucked into the whole rear diffuser / car design advantage that Brawn had at the beginning of the season and then struggled for the rest of the season to stay ahead of the rest of the field – once things had closed up with car design. Overall that does not show to me a dominant driver winning the Championship. It shows that he was in the right place at the right time and has the requisite ability to keep a fast car on the track and score points.

        1. Gday Stephen
          I reckon that if the season results were swapped around, and Button won the final 6 races in a canter to win the title, we would all look a lot more fondly upon him.
          Don’t be critical of him for being in the right place at the right time. I would argue that every driver who has ever won a title has a large element of ‘right place at the right time’ in their results.

          Also, I used to agree with you about how important it is to push all the time, and as a Button fan it drove me up the wall that when some guy came up behind to overtake him, he never tried to make it difficult by crowding him.

          Well, at Brazil this year, Barrichello needlessly crowded Lewis while being overtaken, made a touch and destroyed his tyre. To win an F1, you have to be pragmatic and just pick up the points sometimes.

          I still reckon that Lewis will get the upper hand on Jens, just that it is not going to be as dire as predicted.

          1. agreed. every word!

          2. I do hear you..

            However… We’d only look more fondly on him if at the same time all the other cars were operating under the same interpretation of the rules, and if Rubens was somehow not out qualifying him whilst at the same time aiding his car setup….

            If that were the case then perhaps I’d agree. But we’ll never know.

            And, in any case I’d have to forget the whining when his car was not working, the ebullience when it was, and the last few years of his career and his lacklustre performances (especially when compared to his much more senior team mate).

        2. and then struggled for the rest of the season to stay ahead of the rest of the field – once things had closed up with car design.

          He kept scoring enough points to clinch the championship. I don’t understand what’s wrong with that.

          Too many people seem to think a spectacular racer means a “good” racer.

          1. Let’s just clear one thing up, as I don’t want to be seen as a Jensen hater. I am not. I actually grew to like him a lot this season, and felt he had matured a lot until this recent team hopping spectre raised it’s head again… But still I am pleased he got his Championship, and would love to be proved wrong next year and see him surprise us all. I am just not a Button fan and will call it how I see it at the moment.

            I admire all F1 drivers, just some not as much as others. At various points in my F1 history I have both loved and hated Senna and Alonso. But even when I disliked them I could still admire their talent.

            The problem with Button is he really is an average driver, in terms of the rest of the field. Frankly I think Rubens was far more deserving of being squabbled over than Button at the end of this year, and was surprised he wasn’t a lock for next year in Brawn.

            :)

        3. so did Heikki… sad to see the latest great British WDC bought as a lapdog, great move by ML : we have a clear driver 1 and 2 , one of our main rivals have no (capable) driver 1

    2. Personally I still believe that he lucked into the Championship this year. Much as Kimi did his.

      I felt the same way about Jense for a lot of this year and I think the Brawn team did have some advantages.
      However, noone would have complained had they came last so I think it is a case of pick and choose which is wrong. It should be either wrong full stop or not at all.
      I’ve also came to the decision that I don’t believe in luck. Take 07. I don’t feel Kimi lucked into it or that Hamilton was unlucky. Hamilton and his team made too many errors. And that’s that. It could go back and forth forever for instance well Hamilton + Fernando were lucky as the car was quicker, Alonso unlucky by falling out with team etc. but in the end being a champion is about dealing with the hand you’re dealt.
      As a Felipe fan I stand by that because I believe the results shouldn’t be changed for 08. It was a pain how Ferrari lost it for him at Singapore but both him and Hamilton had to deal with what happened it just was the case that Mclaren dealt with it better.
      So maybe Jense did have a break with the car and it’ll never be repeated again but he fought off his opponents and got the points. He was fortunate that his opponents at times were their own ruining but he must have done something right to win. That almost pains me to say all of that :P

      1. I agree with a lot you say, particularly with the “nothing should be changed” part.

        Although: I happened to accidentally see some football news the other night where even though the footage clearly showed a foul nothing could be done because the decisions made during the game (however flawed) still stand after the game. At least we don’t have that problem in F1. All I mean by that is we should have enquires, but not 6 months down the line.. A line has to be drawn somewhere, and Sunday / Monday sounds like a good place to draw a line after each race. Oh, and the Stewards need to be competent and consistent (that’s a whole separate issue!).

        I do believe Kimi deserved his Championship for a lot of reasons, although even as a die hard Kimi fan I still feel he got that particular Championship with a bit of luck. The reason I feel he deserved it and Button didn’t this year is that Button has not been right there fighting for the Championship ever before.. Nor do I personally feel he ever will again… Which is all too familiar when you look back at most UK Champions from the recent past….

        Hamilton is another matter altogether. I fully expect him and Vettel to be fighting over the Championship every year for the next 4 or 5, with Alonso right in there trying his absolute best…

        If only Kimi would stick around we could have some awesome racing seasons in 2010 onwards…

        Sorry.. I am not a Massa fan: I think Alonso will crush him just as Hamilton will crush Button, and I think even though Ferrari were very supportive of their young protege in 2009, the dynamic at Ferrari is nothing like McLaren and once Alonso consistently outpaces Massa he’ll be in a no-mans land like no other has ever been in…..

        1. And you can’t…..

          sorry, Terry again here Stephen!

          And you can’t possibly be fighting for the title year in year out unless you are in one of the few cars on the grid that is at the pointy end.

          Kimi has been in F1 since 2001 and spent 8 years driving for McLaren and Ferrari, one of the top cars.
          Jenson has been in F1 since 2000 and spent 2 years driving in a fast car, Brawn this year and Honda in 2004.

          You could put Michael Schumacher in a Torro Rosso and he wouldn’t be anywhere near the title race, that is the way F1 works.

          So I don’t think you can say that Kimi deserves his title and Jenson not his.

          1. Guilherme Teixeira
            20th November 2009, 12:30

            Kimi has been in F1 since 2001 and spent 8 years driving for McLaren and Ferrari, one of the top cars.

            I’m sure you know that Kimi lost the title in his second season with McLaren (2003) by just two points, against the God Schumacher. Reliability was always issue in his McLaren days, and 2003 was no different.

            In 2005 the car was fast as a rocket, and so was Kimi, but that car was one of most(if not the most) unreliable car on the grid.

            2002 was a year totally dominated by Ferrari. It is no point saying that Kimi drove a “top car” that season. Maybe the cars was fast, but no match for the Ferraris. In 2004 the MP4-19 was so off the pace that they had to upgrade the car to a point where they had to rename it.

            And in 2006 McLaren designed a truck.

            So, I must say this, in his 9 seasons in Formula 1, he only drove a top car in 4 seasons, and if it was not for reliability issues, he would be a triple world champion by now

          2. Gday Terry…

            I missed your first reply.. Sorry. :)

            For sure a lot of it is also subjective. It’s how we interpret the driver from outside the cockpit (i.e. on the tv or from the side of the race track), and based on any personal racing experience we may have.

            I absolutely agree that Kimi has had some awesome cars in his career. But he’s also had a massive amount of bad luck. He really was at McLarn during the dark years, which was particularly frustrating when I saw him move to Ferrari as McLaren came good, and Ferrari went down the tubes. Nevertheless throughout all of that he’s driven to the limit of any car he’s given. I think in the earlier part of this season (and towards the end) he was experienced enough to know how far the Ferrari could be pushed, and perhaps didn’t take as many chances as Massa. If you look at some of the silly accidents Massa has had (not referring to Ruben’s spring there) this seems to bear things out a bit. But on that basis Massa was pushing all the time and I have to respect that. But to the casual observer I am sure Kimi looked like he was being lazy rather than experienced…

            I also agree that Button has not had the best car on the grid under him for many years, but then neither has Alonso for the last two… and it’s been very clear for all to see just how amazingly talented Alonso is “on the limit”. In my opinion this is something Kimi should have done this year (as he did when he was in a Mclaren that did not perform well), and it’s something we should have seen from Button at least once in his career… Unfortunately I have not seen that kind of passion, or “on the limit” driving from Button, except when he had the Championship in the bag, and even then it wasn’t that captivating.

            Just my thoughts. :)

          3. Let’s be clear…

            Hamilton would not have won any championships had he been driving for McLaren during the Schumacher years… 2000-2006. Lets not forget also that Hamilton arrived after Schumacher had left and when McLaren finally built a consistently race winning car and Mercedes a finally reliable engine.

            After Schumi left, Jenson drove the worst Honda ever devised, then drove a car the following year that was worse still. Jenson was best of the rest behind Ferrari in 2004 and took a 14th-1st win in 2006.

            The one chance in his career where Jenson had a title contending car he took the title… can Hamilton say the same?… and lets not forget the Brawn only had an advantage in the first couple of races, after that it was merely equal and then behind the Red Bull and McLaren. Jenson had a bad self imposed dip in Qualifying but his race performances during that blip were excellent.

          4. Oops typo… 2000 to 2005

          5. Wasn’t the 14-1 win when everyone else crashed out?

            Just sayin’. ;-)

          6. Wasn’t the 14-1 win when everyone else crashed out?

            I don’t believe so… I think Alonso did crash out trying to win it, when Jenson had the advantage, but I think it is very much a well deserved victory.

            I guess you agree with the rest of my post ;-)

          7. I guess you agree with the rest of my post

            Not really. ;)

            And if you read up on that Hungary race is was a shambles with quite a few retirements…. :)

          8. And if you read up on that Hungary race is was a shambles with quite a few retirements…

            Actually from reading up as well as watching it, no it wasn’t. Not in the way that it gifted Button the win as you suggest.

            All crashes bar one, happened not just behind Button, but strategically behind Button so had no bearing on his race. At one point, in less than 2 laps, Button overtook Massa, Fisichella and Schumacher. Both Alonso & Button made good use of the Safety Car, and Button was reeling in Alonso before he crashed as a consequence of a hurried and pressured pit stop.

            For Button it was nothing short of a very well driven and deserved victory.

            Maybe you should go back to playing Daley Thompson’s Decathlon or some other Track & Field variant. ;-)

          9. Button took the first win of his career in 2006 at a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix – the 113th Grand Prix start of his career. He started 14th after a 10-grid slot penalty for changing his engine. The race was badly affected by heavy rain. Button passed a number of drivers in the early laps – including championship contender Michael Schumacher – and was up to fourth by lap 10. Following the retirement of leading drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso, he went on to win the race by over 40 seconds from Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld. Alonso was behind Button on the racetrack when he retired, although Button still had one pitstop to make.

            If you did watch it you’ll remember that ‘The Race was badly affected by heavy rain’, which played massively into Button’s hands. He proved two things that day, that he could drive slow and steady, and that that can indeed win a race. He was also in the right place at the right time on the track, so was also lucky.

            I am not saying he didn’t win, but most of the pundits called it the way I saw it at the time, which was that it was particularly ironic that the only race Button had won up until that point in his entire career ended with *none* of the main contenders still in the race. It was a hollow victory and Button himself has alluded to that himself in more than one interview since winning more GPs this year…

          10. Oh well, if rain makes a win less deserving we’ll take away Vettel’s Torro Rosso victory & 1st for Red Bull, many of Hamiltons and the great Ayrton Senna.

            Button won fair and square, and deserves it.

          11. The conditions in Hungary were not in any way comparable to most wet races, they were perhaps comparable to one or two races we’ve had in recent history when they track was basically undrivable for a period of time due to the massive amount of surface water.

            Listen to any commentator, or any F1 pundit, or any driver who now commentates and they will explain very very clearly, as will I, that when the rain is that heavy on a circuit it is completely pot luck whether an F1 car aquaplanes or not.

            Jensen got lucky that race. Period. Sure he won. But he didn’t beat anyone. That’s the difference.

          12. Terry Fabulous
            22nd November 2009, 6:37

            Hi Stephen, Me again

            Hungary 2006 – I have the race on DVD and watched it again yesterday after reading what you wrote.

            It wasn’t heavy rain all race with pot luck.
            It was on and off rain all race long with some dry patches and some pretty wet patches.

            You are right that Kimi crashed out in front of him, as did Alonso but Button was catching Alonso at the time and was really REALLY quick that day. Easily the vest driver on the track, and defintately not lucking into a victory.

            I’m not trying to suggest that Button is the bees knees but you are making out like it was some sort of Steven Bradbury moment which is far from the truth.

            But you know what, I guess in 90 odd days at Bahrain we will find out who the man is!

          13. Hi there,

            I didn’t say it rained all race long.
            Changeable conditions with heavy downpours is enough to throw any motor race over the edge into the realm of luck more than judgement. Sure, skill plays a role, and I am not denying Button is skilled.. just that he is overrated by some of the people commenting here. But we seem to have some common ground there. :)

            I heartily agree with you on the “we’ll find out” but, and am counting the days until the next season.

            In unrelated news I just committed to a brand new KF2 Kart for next year and have just spent a great day testing at our local track.

            Also from a very reliable (Finnish) contact I have heard that it’s not all over for Kimi next year either…. But I’ll leave that hanging here in this totally unrelated thread and see who picks it up. You heard it here first. :-)

        2. even if he doesn’t very clearly, he is the new prancing horse in the stable. Ferrari bought the guy who retired schumi to see him fail?

    3. What a luck for Kimi to had more mechanical failures (Spain, Eur), more strategical gamble (Jap, Ital) than his rivals. This championship was made of 17 races, not only 2. Kimi isn’t the IceMan, he ‘s the LuckyMan, everybody knows that…

  3. I hope Button proves us wrong and that, now he is champion, he will drive loose and learn to deal. That said, if Lewis is more adaptive, Mclaren might feel their best chance is to build the car for Button and let Hamilton adapt to it.

    1. Don’t forget the car is set somehow to Hamilton.

      1. Don’t underestimate the adaptability of a car during practice, and during in-season development. We’ve seen McLaren go from one end of the grid to the other in 2009, so there’s no reason to expect the car will suit Hamilton and not be developed to Button’s requirements also.

  4. I think it may be close between the two but the Hamilton will win on most days.
    Button wouldn’t have gone if he didn’t think he could beat Lewis and he may want to become the main British star again however, he won’t be happy if Lewis does dominate. I don’t think it’ll be anything like 07 and it should be a fairly healthy rivalry but this is a challenge I don’t know if Button can win.
    I mean Heikki and Lewis have a great relationship but he has been destroyed mentally and himself has said Lewis was favoured. Now Button should be better than Heikki but the past two teammates there have left with complaints. It just shows things may be great now but give it a while and people will question how Button is coping.
    If he does win Hamilton will be driving furiously to correct that.

    1. It’ll be interesting to see what Button thinks of the Hamilton-era McLaren team.

      I’ve not heard that Kovalinen is actually upset at the team (and it probably won’t be made public anyway) but if he does believe there is favouritism towards Hamilton, perhaps Alonso’s claims in 2007 weren’t as crazy as I thought.

      1. Heikki a few weeks back implied he never had choice with strategy and that Lewis would get parts first. I can’t remember article where I saw it but a fellow fanatic did post it. I’ll have a look

        1. welcome to 2007

        2. From Monza this year we learned that McLaren decide the strategies for both drivers although they will discuss them with the drivers. Hamilton wanted a one stopper but the team put him on a two stopper, while Kovalainen was on a one stop strategy, which before the race most thought was the best option, and in the end the Brawn got a 1-2 on a one stopper.

  5. Prost was Button’s idol and Senna was Hamilton’s. How fitting that they end up driving together at McLaren.

    1. Is that so?!
      Wow what a coincidence.

    2. We definitely need to return to Suzuka then :D

  6. Mouse_Nightshirt
    20th November 2009, 7:51

    The more I think about this, the less and less I think it’ll be a complete one sided walk in the park.

    The regulation changes for next season really go into Button’s style. The longer wheelbase (more stable cars) and pitstops only determined by how long you can make the tyres go play exactly to Button’s strengths.

    I’m sure Hamilton will have it over Jenson next season, but I suspect 2011 may be a different matter.

  7. Many of these divers in these comparisons have turned out to be some of the greats, i think there is a great in the hamilton/ button pairing.

    i really think button will be good for hamilton, because hamilton absolutly thrives with a team mate who can challenge him, button will challenge him, not to the extent of alonso, but far more than Heikki did.

    I see button as like how montoya was to kimi and mclaren, good at picking up a few wins when needed, and also able come home second behind hamilton, a WCC driver for McLaren i say.

  8. Many people in F1 think Hamilton is one of the fastest drivers. Surely he can beat anybody on the track. But if you look at the rules for next year, there is no refuelling. So all the cars would be carrying fuel to run them until the end. So everything comes down to managing the tyres. I am afraid Hamilton is very aggressive on tyres compared to Button who is generally smooth and slick. This will leave Button with a better strategy for the race and the team can choose when they can change the tyres.

    1. i disagree with you the current rule for the cars with the big front wings and the small spoilers and diffusers suit hamiltons driving style, yet jenson was dominant for the first 7 races.

      cars will still be making 2 stop races for tyres, so it wont be as bad for hamilton as you say, and hamilton is alot better this year with his tyre ie hungary, do you remember hungary? britian? germany? what is jenson going to do if he has to be out longer on tyres he cant heat because of his driving style? or has everyone forgotten that saga.

      the rule changes wont fit drivers styles as drstically as people impose, jenson isnt just going to end up beating hamilton ever race because of the rule changes.

      another example. brazil, hot race lewis drove esentially a 1 stop race, from 17th to 3rd, about 35 laps on each set of tyres with heavy feul load, if he is as bad as people say with his tyres and he can only make them last 10 laps then im sorry because this is wrong and he would not have been able to achieve that podium

      1. Agree completely.

        On the other hand, Hamilton does like a strong front end and the narrow front tyres for 2010 might cause him some trouble there.

        1. ah personally id do not think so if you look at the 07, 08 tyre widths for the front and the back, you will notice that the front tyres were alot narrower to the rear in comparison to the 09 regulations where the front tyres were alot closer to the rear tyre sise than in pervious years.

          ive got a good photo of webber in hungary 09, and lewis at germany 08 where you can see the tyre widths are larger on the front than in previous years,

          this is just a correction with the FIA’s rules to try get it back to normal, the front tryes will only reduce 15mm in width, so its nothing huge! just a correction by the FIA

      2. McLaren have been known in the last couple of season’s for making cars that are hard on the tyres anyway without Hamilton’s driving style being even worse on his tyres. I remember in 2008 Kovalainen was complaining of excessive tyre wear on the McLaren, so maybe Button won’t have too much trouble getting heat into the tyres this year.

    2. Have a feeling that the full fuel load advantage many are saying that Button has is really overestimated.

      Read somewhere that the downforce on the cars are in the region of 2000kg or so. An addition of 100 plus or minus kg in fuel won’t really eat up the tyres so much faster than previously did.

      I have several other reasons why i think this difference is negligible. Shall save my comments for future. I still think Hamilton will frequently beat Button in 2010.

      1. Read somewhere that the downforce on the cars are in the region of 2000kg or so. An addition of 100 plus or minus kg in fuel won’t really eat up the tyres so much faster than previously did.

        That can be a bit misleading. Downforce creates a force, and at any part of the track this pushes downwards. The mass of a car is a force that can push in different directions: forward when braking, to the left when taking a right turn, right when turning left etc. These lateral forces cause more sliding forces on the tyre on the tarmac, whereas downforce does not.

        In summary, 100kg pushing sideways can make a big difference to cornering, and is not the same as 2000kg pushing straight downwards.

        Also consider that downforce will be low around slow corners, whereas fuel weight does not change at varying speeds.

      2. Going in a straight line doesn’t cause tyre wear. What causes tyre wear is going round a corner at high speed (yes I know there are other issues as well, but this is the one that relates to the weight of the car).

        The heavier a car is, the higher the lateral loading on the tyre as it changes the direction of the car. More downforce won’t change this, though it could make the car less likely to slide.

        1. if a surface rubs against another surface it will wear. tyres do got worn from running in a straight line, just not much as in comparison as braking or going around a corner

          1. tyres do got worn from running in a straight line

            Erm. Yes they do. :)

    3. You’re forgetting tyre wear can occur in other situations, eg. when Button was having trouble getting enough heat into the tyres and they suffered graining.

  9. This statement in your Lauda-Prost section really interests me:

    “Each was a master in the art preserving a car over a race distance and working their way through the field to victory. The same season they won 12 races they had only three pole positions – and they were separated by just half a point at the end of the year.”

    I think 83% of F1fanatic readers who said Lewis will beat Jenson (of which I was one by the way) may be in for a rude awakening. The refuelling ban may just work in Jenson’s favour next year. Many have already pointed out that Jenson’s smooth driving style is better suited to next year’s rules than Lewis’s. I’m thinking that Jenson will make a better start to the year, but Lewis will adapt an overhaul Jenson in the end…

    1. That’s assuming that the car suits Jenson’s driving style?

      A wet race will certainly be interesting next year, as both drivers are exceptional in wet conditions.

  10. Only McLaren can do this! Their champions are men of steel.

    Do I need to say anymore about a certain Mr S,who refused to join them in 1996 ,because he was not offered official number 1 status?

    The chicken ran off elsewhere!

    C’mon Jenson! Give the golden boy a tough time! I’ll be glad if Jenson comes out on top

  11. Prisoner Monkeys
    20th November 2009, 8:51

    I rather liked the way Autosport ran through the “Ten Best British Driver Pairings” shortly after Button was announced at Mclaren – especially for the way the tenth entry was Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson at Sepang in 2005 when Takuma Sato was ill. It was a one-race pairing and ended with both drivers blowing their engines on the second lap.

    That’s hardly one of the ten-best driver pairings, isn’t it?

    1. I think they thought ‘oh bloody hell we don’t have enough’ so stuck them in to make up the numbers. Or British pride really has gone mad there

      1. Steph! why have you changed your name? i thought you used to be Steph90? what happened?

        or am i just going crazy?

        1. I did. I’m still steph90 on forums just I dropped it as thought it easier if people just called me Steph.
          You are not going crazy! Don’t worry lol

      2. Guilherme Teixeira
        20th November 2009, 10:09

        Totally agree. How much british driver parings there were over the course of history anyway? Fifteen? =P They should have done a “Top 5 British Driver Parings”, which would make much more sense.

        But they probably thought “damn, Lewis-Button are going to figure out in the top five… then put all pairings in!”

        1. There have been lots of British driver pairings, but most of them for only a few races in the 1950s and 1960s, and Autosport wouldn’t have much to say about them. I think this covers most British pairings of 4 races or more:

          2000, Johnny Herbert, Eddie Irvine, Jaguar-Cosworth, (16 races)
          1995, Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Williams-Renault, 17
          1994, Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Williams-Renault, 8
          1994, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell, Williams-Renault, 4
          1993, Mark Blundell, Martin Brundle, Ligier-Renault, 16
          1991, Mark Blundell, Martin Brundle, Brabham-Yamaha, 16
          1990, Derek Warwick, Martin Donnelly, Lotus-Lamborghini, 14
          1988, Jonathan Palmer, Julian Bailey, Tyrrell-Ford, 16
          1981, Derek Warwick, Brian Henton, Toleman-Hart, 12
          1977, Ian Ashley, Rupert Keegan, Hesketh-Ford, 4
          1974, Graham Hill, Guy Edwards, Lola-Ford, 9
          1973, Graham Hill, Jackie Oliver, Shadow-Ford, 12
          1973, James Hunt, Mike Beuttler, March-Ford, 6
          1973, Mike Beuttler, David Purley, March-Ford, 5
          1970, Graham Hill, John Miles, Lotus-Ford, 9
          1969, John Surtees, Jackie Oliver, BRM, 10
          1969, Graham Hill, John Miles, Lotus-Ford, 4
          1968, Graham Hill, Jackie Oliver, Lotus-Ford, 9
          1968, Richard Attwood, Piers Courage, BRM, 6
          1967, Jackie Stewart, Mike Spence, BRM, 11
          1967, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Lotus-BRM, 10
          1967, Chris Irwin, Jackie Stewart, BRM, 8
          1967, Chris Irwin, Mike Spence, BRM, 8
          1966, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, BRM, 8
          1966, Peter Arundell, Mike Spence, Lotus-BRM, 5
          1965, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, BRM, 10
          1965, Jim Clark, Mike Spence, Lotus-Climax, 9
          1965, Innes Ireland, Richard Attwood, Lotus-BRM, 5
          1964, Innes Ireland, Trevor Taylor, BRP-BRM, 6
          1964, Jim Clark, Mike Spence, Lotus-Climax, 6
          1964, Jim Clark, Peter Arundell, Lotus-Climax, 4
          1963, Jim Clark, Trevor Taylor, Lotus-Climax, 9
          1962, Jim Clark, Trevor Taylor, Lotus-Climax, 9
          1962, Innes Ireland, Jim Clark, Lotus-Climax, 8
          1962, Innes Ireland, Trevor Taylor, Lotus-Climax, 8
          1962, John Surtees, Roy Salvadori, Lola-Climax, 7
          1961, Graham Hill, Tony Brooks, BRM-Climax, 8
          1961, Jim Clark, Stirling Moss, Lotus-Climax, 8
          1961, Innes Ireland, Jim Clark, Lotus-Climax, 6
          1961, Innes Ireland, Stirling Moss, Lotus-Climax, 6
          1961, John Surtees, Jackie Lewis, Cooper-Climax, 5
          1961, John Surtees, Roy Salvadori, Cooper-Climax, 5
          1961, Roy Salvadori, Jackie Lewis, Cooper-Climax, 4
          1961, Henry Taylor, Jim Clark, Lotus-Climax, 4
          1961, Henry Taylor, Stirling Moss, Lotus-Climax, 4
          1960, Jim Clark, Innes Ireland, Lotus-Climax, 6
          1960, Stirling Moss, Innes Ireland, Lotus-Climax, 5
          1960, Innes Ireland, Alan Stacey, Lotus-Climax, 4
          1960, Jim Clark, Stirling Moss, Lotus-Climax, 4
          1960, John Surtees, Innes Ireland, Lotus-Climax, 4
          1959, Tony Brooks, Cliff Allison, Ferrari, 5
          1959, Graham Hill, Innes Ireland, Lotus-Climax, 5
          1958, Tony Brooks, Stirling Moss, Vanwall, 9
          1958, Stuart Lewis-Evans, Stirling Moss, Vanwall, 8
          1958, Tony Brooks, Stuart Lewis-Evans, Vanwall, 8
          1958, Mike Hawthorn, Peter Collins, Ferrari, 7
          1958, Graham Hill, Cliff Allison, Lotus-Climax, 7
          1957, Mike Hawthorn, Peter Collins, Ferrari, 6
          1957, Tony Brooks, Stirling Moss, Vanwall, 5
          1957, Stuart Lewis-Evans, Stirling Moss, Vanwall, 4
          1957, Tony Brooks, Stuart Lewis-Evans, Vanwall, 4
          1956, Stirling Moss, Horace Gould, Maserati, 4
          1953, Roy Salvadori, Kenneth McAlpine, Connaught-Francis, 4
          1952, Lance Macklin, Peter Collins, HWM-Alta, 5
          1952, Alan Brown, Eric Brandon, Cooper-Bristol, 4

          1. Of course, in the early years there were more than two cars per team, and even some car sharing, I think, so many of these weren’t “team mates” in the modern sense

  12. well, the pairing that consists of crowned world champions is of course a bit narrower, but for the last like 25 years, only McLaren paired them up. Of course there were Hill-Villeneuve or Mansell-Prost pairs at Williams and Ferrari, but by that time not both of them were already WDCs.

    I honestly believe, that this pair is more fitted to go for the constructors title as well, as with Kovalainen, who is also a decent driver, but i think he was brought too soon to a top team.

    and althought this would be the first season since 1991 that 2 WDCs are paired up in the same team, the grid of 4 WDCs lasted only 1 race, as Raikkönen seems to be out now. last time it was the Japanese GP in 1999 with Schumacher, Hill, Villeneuve and Hakkinen, and we had to wait for it to happen again a decade.

    1. Guilherme Teixeira
      20th November 2009, 10:12

      Come to think about it, were there ever FIVE champions racing together in a race?

      1. Guilherme Teixeira
        20th November 2009, 10:42

        I think I’ve found the answer to my own question: Graham Hill, John Surtees, Jim Clark, Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme at the 1968 South African Grand Prix.

        That was the last race for Jim Clark…

        1. I know that in 1985 Lauda, Prost, Senna, Mansell, Senna and Rosberg were all racing but at that time Senna and Mansell hasn’t won a title yet.

          1. Guilherme Teixeira
            20th November 2009, 12:34

            Yeah, I decided to consider only those who were champions already. If we consider your criteria, we would find a higher number of champion drivers racing at the same time. Add Jackie Stewart to my list, for an example…

        2. if Villeneuve manages to secure a set for himself, and the rumors about Schumacher is negotiating with Mercedes could result in a five WDCs again. i think Villeneuve is possible.

          1. maybe 6 if Kimi finds a seat?
            (which I found impossible for Kimi, Schumi and JV)

  13. This is a far cry from the Schu era. Thankfully we can return to real pairings occurring at more than one team. We know Jenson and Lewis are strong. Felipe and Fernando are just as strong a pairing in their respective team. Felipe was WDC for a few seconds. I don’t care which one comes out on top. Just give me a real fight amongst top tier drivers in top tier cars.

    1. there is a saying, “its not over till its over”. Lewis didnt forget that at brazil 07′, unfortunatly i think Ferrari did at brazil 08′

  14. Hamilton & Button is a great pair, even if nothing will ever compare Senna-Prost.
    I’m afraid Kimi will not be on the grid next year:

    Hamilton – Button
    Alonso – Massa
    Webber – Vettel
    Rosberg – Raikkonen

    would have been a fantastic roster!

  15. And I have to add that I hate when a team sets a clear “number 1 – number 2” team.
    I prefer when you try to resign the best two drivers and then let them run against each other.

    1. t I hate when a team sets a clear “number 1

      That is how the world famous Scumi won all his races & championships.

      1. Undoubtedly Schuey was better than Rubens and I think Schuey still would have won in the end but it would have been right if he was given a fair stab at the title too.

      2. Guilherme Teixeira
        20th November 2009, 10:16

        Oh please mp4…
        Senna wasn’t number 1 to Berger then?
        Lewis wasn’t number 1 to Heikki?
        Alonso wasn’t number 1 to Fisichella?

        You seem to have a very selective memory.

        1. Very true Guilherme. Although Mclaren say they always gave Heikki a fair crack. Schuey was the most successful out of thet number 1 status system though

          1. Guilherme Teixeira
            20th November 2009, 10:33

            Undoubtedly he was. But I think it is so because his partership with Rubens lasted much more than those I’ve pointed out. To say that Shummy won all his titles and races because of the number 1 status makes no sense – Herbert, Irvine and Rubens were never of the same level as Schummy.

            As for Lewis-Heikki, we just have to check Q3 fuel loads to make our opinion. Although he has not the natural talent that Lewis has, his strategies always seems odd. Hasn’t he opened way for Lewis at Hockenheimring last year?

          2. if you guys check the world champions, it’s obvious, that those teams have radically better chances to win that set one of their drivers as a Nr1, than those with equal treatments.

            2009: although it seemed that Barrichello was treated like Button, it was maybe true after the Brazilian broke out at the halftime of the season, but in Spain and Germany it was obvious who has to finish in front. two the Red Bulls were treated equally, and they robbed points from each other.

            2008: McLaren had an almost-WDC and an almost-rookie, there was no question about it wheter Hamilton receives the support or Kovalainen. meanwhile the Ferrari had its own newly crownd WDC and its long time protegee, and let them race even together. they were strong enough to secure the team title but were just not strong enough as Hamilton.

            2007: stardriver Räikkönen arrives at Ferrari, Massa is just over his debut season at Ferrari, and the team is starving after another title and remembers the old recipe from the Schu-era, Massa has to be in the shadow. meanwhile McLaren brings in its own longtime protegee and grants him the same assets as for the 2-times WDC Alonso. Räikkönen wins.

            2006: the swansong season of Schu, and this is the first time the team let’s someone win till he is still in race, and in for the title. newcomer Massa was the client of the Ferrari-boss son, Massa was let the closest to Schu. Alonso easily won with Fisichella set for Nr2 role.

            2005: one of the strongest lineup for McLaren ever with Räikkönen and Montoya against Alonso in the Renault. Fisichella was signed just for support.

            2004: Schumacher-dominance, againts almost noone, but he was obviously Nr1 vs Barrichello.

            2003: Schumacher won again, the R.Schu-Montoya lineup at Williams was treated equally and grabbed points from each other. Räikkönen VS Coulthard relation isn’t clear.

            2002: MSchu against noone, clear

            2001: MSchu against the McLaren, where former champion Hakkinen wasn’t really on top form, so they would have supported Coulthard, but it was too late. MSchu won.

            etc etc etc… the only difference was in 1996, when uncle Frank didn’t care which of his drivers would win the title, finally Hill did.

            so the basic recipe: if you want to win the WDC, you need to concentrate only on 1 driver.
            if you want to win the team title, you need an extremely strong pairing.
            if you want to win both titles, you have to find a fine line between these two, so a typical Nr1 driver, and a slightly less rated driver, that is strong enough to secure the team title, but won’t threaten the teammates WDC title efforts.

            it seems to me that McLaren voted for 2 Nr1 drivers…

          3. There are a few ways you can look at the status of driver pairings in teams.

            You can have a clear No.1, with it written in contracts.

            You can equal driver status but because one of the drivers is clearly better than the other, it may appear there is an outright No.1.

            Or you can have equal status and roughly equal drivers.

            McLaren and Williams do not usually have an outright No.1, and try to sign the best drivers available. However sometimes this causes friction within the team such as with Senna/Prost or Alonso/Hamilton, and you could view the drivers they chose after these periods, Berger and Kovalainen, as either the best they could sign at the time or the team deciding to sign a driver not as good as the current driver to avoid the problems they had just had.

            If all the team cared about was the Driver Championship it is best to have a clear No.1 as it can cost you if you have to equal drivers, such as Mansell/Piquet at Williams 1986.

            I think the criticism of Schumacher wasn’t just that it was in his contract that he had to be No.1 at Ferrari, but that he made sure he had teammates he could always beat. For example I have seen some on this site claim that Schumacher turned down the chance to sign for McLaren because he wouldn’t be guaranteed No.1 status and he didn’t want to go up against Hakkinen in the same car.

        2. When you say

          Lewis wasn’t number 1 to Heikki?
          Alonso wasn’t number 1 to Fisichella?

          Are you referring to an arranged situation like Schuey-Barrichello, or just the natural emergence of the better driver?

          I think Fisi was given a fair chance, he won a race or two with Alonso in the other Renault. I don’t suspect Heikki was hobbled in any way to favour Lewis.

          1. Guilherme Teixeira
            20th November 2009, 15:00

            No, I didn’t mean they were contractualy bound to be the number 2. But I don’t mean a “natural emergence of the better driver” either. It is a situation where one driver was always the number two, but not in the contract.

            Fisichella and Heikki were cleary hired to help the Nr.1 on their title bids, therefore they were Nr.2. Whenever they had to lift off to their team mates, they would.

          2. I’m sorry, but mp4 didn’t mention that he hate the fact that there have to be a no. 1 driver in a team, so if Lewis was no. 1 to Heikki and Alonso was no. 1 to Fisico, it’s not a big deal for mp4 or me.. I think it is for you as you mentioned

  16. Hamilton and Button will be similar to Prost and Rosberg pairing.

    Button will have to play 2nd fiddle to Hamilton towards the end of the season, as he will have more points.

    The change in regulations is not as massive as last year. So expect the pecking order of drivers to be the same. Hamilton outclasses Button. Period!

    1. Button will have to play 2nd fiddle to Hamilton towards the end of the season, as he will have more points.

      That is an odd thing to say. It often happens in the last few races when the championship contenders are whittled down. Wouldn’t Hamilton support Button at the end of the season if Button had more points?

  17. While I think Hamilton will beat Button next season, as long as both can get the car set up to their own liking I don’t think Hamilton will destroy Button as a number of people have predicted.

    Some seem to think that McLaren have next years Championships sewn up but lets not forget Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes, while it is hard to predict next seasons form now, I wouldn’t be surprised if any of those teams win either Championship, although unless Mercedes pull a surprise with their driver line-up I think they will probably have the weakest driver pairing of those teams.

  18. I don’t agree Schumacher won only because of the team strategy.
    I think he would have probably won the same. But anyway, I don’t think it is fair to impose to a man the “second driver” role since the very beginning of the championship.
    I think Hamilton will be faster than Button, but I don’t feel he will completely dominate. Anyway McLaren built a great line-up.
    I’m very curious to see who Mercedes is going to resign: I think they’re currently making all efforts to get Michael Schumacher, but it is unlikely they will succeed.

  19. I think Hamilton and Button do compare with Senna and Prost in the driving styles but I happen to think the english boys will get on very well with each other, so I dont see the falling out of Prost and Senna. I can see Button doing far better than most people give him credit. You dont win world championships if you cant drive. he will do better than Kovalainen anyway.

  20. The shame for me in all of this is Heikki and wondering where he will end up. H4e gets grief but personally I think he is very talented with potential. He impressed me when he was at Renault and there was a rare occassion where he was good in the Mclaren. But I just can’t help but feel the step up to Mclaren was just too soon for him, he was still getting to grips with f1 and to get in a seat where a double world champion had just been is a huge ask. Hamilton was always going to beat him and in the end I think that really got to him to.
    I hope he gets another chance at a decent team.

  21. Remember that Hamilton was not a world champion when McLaren hired him and neither was Prost or Hakkinen.

    For me there is a marked difference between signing two established guys in the same team and hiring one established guy and one new guy and letting the new guy win which is what McLaren really excel at.

    Also don’t forget that old McLaren, Teddy Meyer McLaren ran Denny Hulme and Emerson Fittipaldi for the 1974 season.

  22. I think Hamilton and Button will have a “british gentlemen” relationship and fight. Nothing like Alonso-Hamilton in ’07. However, I don’t understand Buttons move even though McLaren is a legendary team. What motivates him to move to a team that’s build totally arround protegé Hamilton. In ’07 McLaren already showed us that they prefered rookie Hamilton over double world champ Alonso.
    At Mercedes GP (ex Brawn) Button would undoubtly have had that first driver status that would enable him to fight for the title again next year. I think Button will have a tough year in 2010.

    1. Some things are more important than having No.1 status or being the preferred driver. Being in direct competition with one of the best drivers in one of the best cars is a challenge any of us would relish.

  23. James Allen is suggesting that Brawn was offering an £8M contract with performance elevators bringing it up to closer to £12M but then withdrew it after Button’s visit to the McLaren factory citing breach of contract.

    Thus Button probably felt that £6M from McLaren was the best deal he was likely to get, and I imagine there is a performance element in there too. There may also be the reasons of looking for the best car and I can believe him when he says he is looking for a new challenge because I don’t think he’ll be too bothered loosing to Hamilton every weekend.

    Talented as Jenson is, this is a retirement fund jobby. Like Gareth Barry going to City for that big money contract.

  24. I do believe that Button will rise to the challenge against Hamilton. My hope is that the competitiveness between them sees Macca finishing 1&2 at every race. It will be interesting.

  25. I think it will end up like Prost/ Rosberg, Hamilton will dominate him, although not to the extent that Prost did with Rosberg. At the end of the season, they will still be friendly but I think Button’s confidence will be shattered.

    If Button somehow gets a real killer instinct then I think he can prevent that from happening, but we will see.

  26. I think a lot of people are confused about the way McLaren builds it’s cars, McLaren has always gone for the most nutural car charateristics they can manage because of the massive variety of circuits and their demands. The more nuteural a car the more extreme it can be set up in either direction, an be more adaptable over a season.

    Where Jenson will be at a disadvantage is the mechanics will not have previous infomation for him at each circuit. Whereas they will for Lewis. I think Jenson could suprise us this year but I do not see him beating Lewis in the long term.

  27. …for me, the question is how much underhand assistance will Button be given from those within and without Mclaren, who are out to prove a point.

    He knows that, and he also knows that he won this title, through 1-initial unfair technical advantage, 2-being helped at the expense of his team mate, he wants to prove a point too..

    Jenson is not just a pretty face, he’s a shrewed thinker too and realises that what he wants converges with what others in the ‘new look’ Maclaren and FIA want. Add to that, the intrinsic hostility the sport, a certain element of it anyway, has for Lewis and how much so many such ppl want to see him shown up and what you have is an opportunity waiting to be grabbed.

    In my opinion, there is no question about the fact that Jenson is not in the same ‘class’ as Lewis, when it comes to racing talent. It is pure arrogance and ignorance of racing to assume otherwise.

    Hence i fear that the only way Jenson will score anything against Lewis is by benig given unfair advantage and again that does not bode well for next season… for the sake of the sport i hope i’m though..

    1. In my opinion, there is no question about the fact that Jenson is not in the same ‘class’ as Lewis, when it comes to racing talent. It is pure arrogance and ignorance of racing to assume otherwise.

      Let’s take Brazil as an example… you may say that Lewis started behind and finished in front, but let’s look at how it happened. McLaren took advantage of a safety car to dump the crap tyres and fill Lewis up. Lewis gained through strategy. Jenson had the same strategy as the majority and had to overtake on the track, over and over again, similar to Jensons other races this year. Something Vettel has yet to show us doing at all, he gained in Brazil through strategy also. Monza, Jenson ahead, Lewis behind in a superior car… Jenson cool and calm kept Lewis at bay… Lewis… oh, he crashed that’s right.

      I think it’s pure arrogance and ignorance of racing to fail to see Jenson’s actual champion performances season long (bar the qualifying dip). When Jenson had to overtake he did it, when Jenson had to string qualifying laps together in the race he did it, when Jenson needed to just consolidate his position he did it… when Jenson had finally his first chance to take a Championship… HE DID IT!!

      This will be written in the history books forever…

      JENSON BUTTON WORLD CHAMPION 2009

    2. In my opinion, there is no question about the fact that Jenson is not in the same ‘class’ as Lewis, when it comes to racing talent. It is pure arrogance and ignorance of racing to assume otherwise.

      It depends what you mean by “class”. They are certainly very different drivers but it’s unfair to judge one of them as better than the other based on what careers they have each had: Hamilton has driven a race-winning car for 2.5 of his 3 seasons, whereas for Button it is more like 1.5 out of 10.

      There is no doubt that Hamilton’s style is great to watch and analyse, but Button’s racing can be just as fast. Speed is the only measure of success in F1. I don’t remember Prost’s days so much, was his driving style deemed boring and slow compared to Senna’s?

    3. “the intrinsic hostility the sport … has for Lewis ….”

      Garbage! Look up intrinsic in the dictionary.

  28. Keith,

    Although you made reference to one of them, you did not mention the driver pairings of…

    Senna & Hill Jnr
    Prost & Hill Jnr
    Schumacher & Piquet Snr

    The fact you mentioned the totally irrelevant 2 race pairing of Mansell & Hakkinnen (who wasn’t a champion at the time) means those above deserve a story also.

    Regarding how Button & Hamilton will fair… I hope we will see 1984 all over again, with Button winning by half a point, but the following year it will be not Hamilton but his pushy Dad getting upset in the pitlane… in all honesty though, I do feel Hamilton will have an edge, but not as much as people think.

    1. That’s because the article is titled “McLaren’s roster of world champion driver pairings”.

    2. Were any of those pairings at McLaren????

      1. Oops… mental note… should read the title more carefully in future ;-)

  29. Great post Keith!

    I think too many people underestimate Jenson Button as a driver and as a world champion!

    Although I prefer drivers with more aggressive and daring driving style, I’ve never derider the likes of Prost, Lauda, and, for that matter, Button. What is more, the fact that Jenson is good over long distances and preserves the tyres well may play into his hands with new regulations…

    I for one would not like to see Button trounced by Lewis because Jense has made an impression on me as a thoroughly nice bloke. And as for Nick Fry’s words accusing Button of ‘the lack of loyalty” – c’mon!!

    If there’s one driver who stood by his team while they were through a rough patch, it was him. 7 years of loyalty – that’s a light year by modern F1 standards!!

    The days of 10-year loalty are long gone. The last three drivers to commit to a single team for more than a decade were Coulthard, Schumacher and Hakkinen! No one can possibly argue that those three belong to the latest crop of drivers:):) Of a younger/mid-generation of drivers, Jenson is the only one who got close to the above three’s benchmark.

    So much about Fry’s pointless rant….

    1. I prefer drivers with more aggressive and daring driving style

      You’ll like Jenson then :-)

      Overtaking Hamilton at the end of a long straight and his opponent having KERS. Passing Kubica in Japan, all those passing moves in Brazil. Jenson has shown agression, consistency, fluidity, and consideration for the championship all year long.

    2. I am a fan of Button and I don’t think he has been disloyal to Brawn, but you can’t really claim he has been loyal to his team his whole F1 career, what about the contract sagas with BAR and Williams in 2004 and 2005?

      I think drivers only stay at one team for a long time if it is a top team and they are a top driver. If the driver thinks he can get a better deal elsewhere, either a better car or more money, he will leave, for example Rosberg leaving Williams at the end of this season because he wanted a race winning car. The team will only change the driver if they think there is someone better for them available, such as Williams not resigning Nakajima for next year.

      With your examples of Schumacher, Hakkinen and Coulthard, there wasn’t a better team available for them to go to, so in the end they only left their teams because of retirement and because McLaren thought Montoya would be a better driver for them than Coulthard.

  30. Hamilton drives the car
    The car drives Button.

    End of Story.

    The surprise 2010 pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button is the latest in a series that includes the likes of Alain Prost, Niki Lauda and Ayrton Senna.

    Big names there Keith, hard to believe this is a fair comparison…

  31. Just an amendment to the article Keith, my understanding is that Ron Dennis was horrified over Alonso’s threat of blackmail but when he decided to pre-empt Fernando and tell the FIA they’d already got the info? Minor point I know but not everyone’s here to educate everyone else :)

    I don’t think Lewis and Jenson will fall out at all, simply for the fact that Hamilton will be the noticeably dominant driver. I don’t really think it’s in Button’s nature either to rock the boat, he’s not ultra-competitive like Hamilton and therefore not as likely to “do a Barrichello”!

  32. The Mclaren booth is sure gonna be crowded, since Team Hamilton already fills the space.
    Now they have to accomodate Jenson’s father and his pink shirts and Jenson’s girlfriend. I wonder if Nicole is still going to bounce around when Lewis gets to the flag or if she will be considerate to the other girls feelings.

    It must be so tiresome for the drivers of a team to pretend to like one another or worse to be friends when we all know they don’t. I bet Jenson is having sleepless nights these days thinking to himself, holy crap what have i done!

  33. With the new rules ,you can’t spend the money on RnD like the old days….so you spend it on the drivers. JB will get the car setup for the haul,and LW will keep doing the faster setup for more poles…..Mc has build a super team

  34. With your examples of Schumacher, Hakkinen and Coulthard, there wasn’t a better team available for them to go to, so in the end they only left their teams because of retirement and because McLaren thought Montoya would be a better driver for them than Coulthard.

    I fervently disagree with you…what a poor argument!
    The thing about loyalty is staying with your current team out of belief and respect for the overall team effort in improving the competitiveness of the car, DESPITE better offers on the market. It sure is a gamble, as we have witnessed over the years. Don’t tell me Ferrari had the best car in ’96 and ’97 with Schumi onboard, but they won many memorable races, and their enormous Schumacher-led enthusiasm was so obvious. In 1998 and 1999 Ferrari was at least as good as Mclaren and from 2000 onwards they decimated therest of the field.

    The same goes for Mclaren, Williams and many other great teams and drivers.

    As for your remark about Button being disloyal to his early teams…like I said, it’s a fine line between foolishness and shrewdness. Jense made a mess of his early 2000s transfers, but now I think he’s matured and he’s taken a more sensible route – to take on one of the best drivers out there – Lewis Hamilton. And I don’t think he’ll play second fiddle to him at all. Remember, we’re yet to see someone race against Lewis in identical machinery on identical strategies – something his previous teammates clamored about. OK, I admit, Heikki is no match for Lewis on raw race pace, but Alonso I think is.

    Let’s give Button an identical car and strategy and see how things pan out.

    1. Let’s give Button an identical car and strategy and see how things pan out.

      I don’t think that there will be “identical” strategies next season. A good majority of how the race unfolds will depend on how each driver manages the tyres during the first part of the race.

      There won’t be any “Lewis is due to come in on lap 23” any more. They’ll have to play it by ear.

    2. I agree that loyalty would be staying with one team despite better offers on the market, but, and this is a genuine question, what better offers did Schumacher have to leave Ferrari, or Hakkinen and Coulthard have to leave McLaren?

      When Schumacher signed up with Ferrari for 1996 he knew he wouldn’t be challenging for the championship straight away, that he was helping to build the team and he received a very good salary for his efforts. In the end this resulted in unparalleled success.

      As I said I am a fan of Button and don’t think he has been disloyal to Brawn as Fry has accused him of being, I only mentioned Buttons contract problems with BAR and Williams in 2004 and 2005 because you said he had shown 7 years of loyalty.

      I just think that we have to go back a long way in F1 to see an example of a team and driver sticking with each when there are better offers on the table. Drivers want to be in the best car for the most money and teams want the best drivers.

      Also we have seen Hamilton race against teammates given the same opportunities as him and he hasn’t done that badly.

  35. on a lighter note……..this subject would make a great quiz question, i forgot about mansells fat **** when going through the champion team mates.

    cheers keith!

  36. Well, the BBC is reporting that Schumacher will go to Brawn now and will drive for the same meager bag of peanuts offered to and refused by Jenson Button. So now Button will have to satisfied with 3rd in the WDC as well a lighter wallet.

    1. You could be right! Those Ferrari’s will be fast as hell!

  37. First, JohnSpencer thanks loads for the great list….good F1 data.

    Second, this should be a “good pairing”, as both drivers seem realistic and both seem to have a positive outlook on life and their chosen occupations, which is to say, no hidden agendas…at least hopefully.

    Also, the expectations will not be the same for each driver. Lewis is still on the ascension of his career, and Jenson must know that he now has nothing to prove really, having reached the summit. Certainly he will want to affirm the “righteous nature of his good fortune”…but, at the same time, he is well equipped emotionally to handle not always standing in the spotlight.

    The key should be, can McLaren follow through on their program of equality…in all the innumerable facets of the team-driver interface. I certainly think they can, and that they will.

  38. I think McLaren will win both titles next year. Which pilot comes off on top isn’t straight forward to predict but I really hope the Button bashers get an unpleasant surprise.

    My [hopeful] prediction :)
    McLaren lineup will work, Ferrari will implode.
    Redbull, Mercedes-Benz and Renault won’t build fast enough cars to challenge consistently.
    Williams will be the best of the Cosworths at least.

    1. now we have an astrologer…. guys y dont u understand,,,, u r here to predict, not to cast words on stone

      1. note the word ‘prediction’ in my comment… jeez

        1. Acutally that was a pretty rubbish post, sorry :|

  39. A world champion driver joins McLaren having left his previous team after a difference of opinion with his former employers. His new team mate is also a world champion, a truly exceptional driver, and starts the season with the advantage of having moulded the team and the car around him and him alone. The new boy struggles to get the car to his liking and feels likes he’s having to work against the team. Meanwhile, the incumbent romps away to much success and effectively ends his new team mate’s career in less than 12 months.

    Could this happen to Jenson Button in 2010? Quite possibly – it happened to Keke Rosberg in 1986…

  40. I don’t understand why everybody is criticising Button so bad. He is the current world champion, if he was this bad a driver why didn’t RB or SV win the title last season. I honestly think Button is going to find it hard at the end of the day Hamilton is a different driver to 2008, he is going to be a better and more consistent driver I feel, but it does not mean that Button is going to get ripped to pieces by Hamilton. It’s not just Button has to learn new stuff at this team, Hamilton is going to have to learn how to look after his tyres as we all know he is not the best in this department.

    Put yourself in Button’s situation, he has just left a team he has been with since the end of 2003 and just won the drivers championship with practically the same team, do you think the world champion is going to put himself in a situation where he can get humiliated?

    I am big Button and Hamilton fans, and to see them at the same team is going to be great and interesting, as you can not really compare drivers with each other unless they are in the same equipment.

    I just don’t understand why Button is getting so much criticism, he is World Champion how many drivers who have raced in F1 can say that? Does that not suggest that they have some sort of talent, something more than the others around them?

    1. do you think the world champion is going to put himself in a situation where he can get humiliated?

      It wouldn’t be the first time a defending champion moved teams and found himself looking very silly indeed. Just look at what happened to Damon Hill at Arrows in 1997 – leading the Hungarian GP (albeit with substantial assistance from Bridgestone) was a highlight, but for most of the year Hill was being matched by the less than mighty Pedro Diniz near the back of the field.

      Nelson Piquet left WIlliams at the end of 1987 for Lotus. Although new team mate Satoru Nakajima was never going to be a threat, Piquet spent the year as an also ran overshadowed by the McLaren steamroller. He never looked like winning a race for the team that fellow countryman (and bitter rival) Ayrton Senna had won races and challenged for titles – a real humiliation for Piquet.

      Although Emerson Fittipaldi wasn’t world champion when he joined family team Fittipaldi Automotive for 1976, the Brazilian (misguidedly) kept the faith and never won another Grand Prix. Jacques Villeneuve also showed less than stellar judgement by joining BAR for 1999 and failed to score so much as a single point.

      World champions don’t always make the smartest decisions when it comes to moving teams. By moving to McLaren, Jenson Button will face the biggest challenge of his career – in 12 months we’ll know whether he has been brave or stupid.

  41. I believe Hamilton will come out as winner because this is his team and he knows it inside out,but will love to see both of them fight.

  42. Oooops… Hamilton knows Button is a champion??? And how about Kovalainen???

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