2011 F1 driver rankings no.3: Jenson Button

2011 F1 season review

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011
Celebrating his third win of 2011 at Suzuka

For the first few races of the year it seemed as though Jenson Button was running to the same form we’d seen in 2010: qualifying and finishing slightly behind his team mate.

But it quickly became apparent the balance of power had shifted at McLaren. Over the course of the season the pair were evenly matched in terms of who was ahead, but it was overwhelmingly Button, not Lewis Hamilton, who brought home the best results.

At season’s end his tally of podium finishes stood at 12 to Hamilton’s six, and Button had become the first of Hamilton’s team mates to beat him over a full season of F1 (although Fernando Alonso came very close in 2007).

The keys to Button’s advantage were twofold: first, he lacked Hamilton’s propensity for sticking his car in the scenery (or, more often, Felipe Massa).

Beat team mate in qualifying6/19
Beat team mate in race7/14
Races finished17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate445/975

Second – and most importantly – he was usually able to get better performance out of his tyres. This was not often the case in qualifying, where Hamilton exerted his usual advantage, but regularly so in the races.

This was first apparent in Malaysia, where Button finished second after making one pit stop fewer than Hamilton. This tended to give Button a handy advantage in the races, though not always. In Turkey his tyres went off towards the end of his final stint and he was passed by Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

As we saw last year, Button seems to have a sixth sense in mixed weather conditions and he was in stunning form in Canada and Hungary. His furious pace in drying conditions at Montreal allowed him to take a shock win after pressuring Sebastian Vettel into a mistake on the final lap. This came after he’d fallen to the back of the field due to an earlier penalty.

In Hungary it was a straight fight between the McLaren team mates and it was Hamilton who cracked, spinning away his advantage and compounding his mistake with a late switch to intermediate tyres which the canny Button avoided.

Jenson Button, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2011
Button overcame Hamilton to win in Hungary

By the second half of the season Button decisively had the upper hand. Without consecutive retirements at Silverstone and the Nurburgring due to technical reasons, his advantage over Hamilton would have been even greater.

After that, he was on the podium at eight of the final nine rounds. That included a nip-and-tuck win over Alonso and Vettel at Suzuka.

Vettel’s retirement in Abu Dhabi might have offered the chance for another win had Button not spent the race wrestling with a KERS fault. Under the circumstances he did extraordinarily well to salvage third – Martin Whitmarsh called his drive “absolutely storming”.

Many people – myself included – doubted Button would be able to beat Hamilton at McLaren. He deserves full credit not just for his achievement this year, but for taking on a fellow world champion in the same team in the first place.

He’s already reaping the awards for his efforts with a three-year McLaren contract extension announced in October.

F1 Fanatics on Jenson Button

His best year by far. He is one of the most intelligent drivers in the field, and it became his biggest weapon this year, always knowing when to push, when to save the equipment, when to relinquish and when to attack. He won over Hamilton convincingly with two mechanical retirements to his team-mate?s none, and could have been a serious contender if the car was a bit faster.

Who expected him to beat Hamilton by almost two race wins’ worth of points? Exceptional race pace.

Jenson Button, McLaren, Montreal, 2011
Button snatched victory on the last lap in Canada

One of the best seasons by Button. In the second half of the season he almost beat Vettel in terms of points. If it wasn?t for the British and German Grands Prix then he would have been a lot closer.

Really stepped up this year. His previous weakness (his qualifying) has been much improved on, although still not perfect he more than made up for it with his determination, cunning, overtaking prowess and attention to detail.

No-one thought he?d beat Hamilton, but he did, and did it in style: His win at Canada is one of the best drives I?ve ever seen and I?ll remember it for a long, long time.
Dan Thorn

Able to capitalise on his team mate?s downturn in form with some epic drives this year. Canada surely has to be one of the best F1 drives of all time. Hungary and Japan were exceptional too. Unlucky not to add to those wins at Monaco.

Jenson Button 2011 form guide

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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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107 comments on “2011 F1 driver rankings no.3: Jenson Button”

  1. Jenson was immense this year. Completely agree that I thought Hamilton was going to blown him away when he joined McLaren, but we’ve witnessed a SSJ-esque transformation from Button this year.

    1. Vettel, Alonso and Button were incredible this year. I expected it from Vettel, not as much from Alonso and definitely not by Button. Not by this margin.

    2. 2 hours of waiting for the Canadian GP rewarded me with one of the greatest races in F1 history. The edge of your seat – nail biting – mind warping feats performed by almost all the finishing drivers made it one to remember.

      Jenson Button alone made the race exciting, all the other drivers were icing on the cake. The fight between Schumi, Button and Webber was absolutely thrilling.

      The one dry line, accompanied by overtaking, on supersofts, through puddles, made for one heck of spectacle.

      1. History will reflect on the career of Jensen Button and will read that he paid his dues and when the time came he capitalized on the opportunity and became world champion, after which his best days of racing were realized by the sum of his efforts. A long career that continued to grow and set him apart from others who came before him. Perhaps the best driver of the last ten years.

    3. SSJ-esque?

      1. The abbreviated term for Super Saiyan from Dragon Ball Z

        1. It’s Super Saiya-Jin; to be nitpicking ;) I’m sure @magnificent-geoffrey will correct me if I’m wrong :P

          1. @raymondu999 Actually, either is acceptable. Super Saiya-Jin is the Japanese way of saying it, while ‘Super Saiyan’ is the English translation. Or, it could now stand for ‘Super Saiyan Jenson’!

    4. @magnificient-geoffrey, more of the same from me as well. I did think he might spring a supprise, but he has only improved since 2009 and has become a really complete and even exiting driver.

  2. If Jenson repeats the performance next year, serious trouble for Hamilton..

    Hoping that Mclaren will give a competitive car to both the drivers in 2012..

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      15th December 2011, 13:13

      and serious thought would be to start thinking on a second driver who could replace him… Kimi was world champion in 2007 and then got sacked for his “lack of motivation” (I personally disagree with that over-used reason) but Hamilton could be seen as a bad invesment if he doesn’t sink his problems and starts driving as he really should

      1. ^^ I think it’s a bit early to talk about replacing Lewis.

        Button beat him, but he’s had some massive drives as well.

        1. As of now, Lewis’s contract is up for negotiation. In F1, as in life, it is not a done deal even if you’ve a signed contract. A contract is just money, ask Kimi as he was shown the door out of Ferrari with 1 year still to go and so were many others.

  3. A little bit surprised, as i was one of those who think he’d get 2nd spot.

    I think he raised his game seriously this year: strong starts, clinical text-book overtakes and mighty finishes.
    Finally got that win in the dry.
    Dominated LH himself this year, and statistically over the course of the 2 years as well.

    But there’s a weakness to be found still: that quali-stats is a bit mediocre. If he could up that as well and beat LH 40% of the time, not 30, he’d be more or less the complete package.

    Funny, but it seems like JB is getting better and better with age, whereas LH is stagnating at the very best…

    1. @gwenouille I think this assessment is spot-on (though I’m a little more willing to overlook his slower qualifying). Kinda makes you wonder how many years are ahead of Jenson in F1.

    2. Funny, but it seems like JB is getting better and better with age, whereas LH is stagnating at the very best…

      Maybe, but then he has always been very, very good, its just some people have under rated him (allot).

      Ever since he arrived in F1, I though he was going to be up there, but then feared his management would make him a ‘could of been talent’ thankfully that wasn’t the case.

  4. He was second on my list (Alonso P3) but given how average the Ferrari was this year I amazed Fernando’s put it where he did in some races.

    1. I thought he was the second best driver at first, but I can’t ignore what Alonso did this year. Jenson had a great year, but Alonso is the better driver and I think he drove better than ever this year. I can’t wait until the top 3 teams are closely matched again so we can see some proper battles and a close championship.

  5. I absolutely agree on the top3 this year. I am really happy to see Jenson ahead of Hamilton because frankly, Button supporters had quite a tough time and were ridiculed when saying he could match Hamilton. But I always believed in him and here we are! The only thing he should really improve is qualifying, his driving appears to be perfect for someone who starts from the front and then “cruises” to the finish. I guess we’ll never see him improve that much but that was pretty much his only weakness this year.

    Afterall I would have probably put him and Alonso in second place together but then again, Alonso was pretty impressive on almost all weekends except the first few races.

  6. Button is the master of tyre conservation and being pretty quick. He must be loving these regulations!

    Vettel and Button are both very smooth, and its shown. I actually think Hamilton as adapted not too bad when you compare his results to Webber for example, but I fear with these tyre regs Button will continue 2012 where he left off.

    Do I like that kind of F1? no. Do I admire Jenson any less because of these regs? No again. He’s been awesome this year.

    1. Do I like that kind of F1? no. Do I admire Jenson any less because of these regs? No again. He’s been awesome this year.

      My thoughts exactly.

    2. @John-h Very good summary. Plus (off topic) I love your icon! Takes me back to BASIC.

      1. @dirgegirl

        10 PRINT “THANK YOU”

      2. So you prefer racing where they drive flat out and no one overtakes. Basically the worst period in F1 ever, the Schumacher/Hakkinen years. Interesting

    3. @JohnH – yep my thoughts exactly as well. Ideally I want to see the drivers pushing as hard as possible throughout the whole race. But then again you have to be able to adapt to the race and conditions you’re in, something that Button has been incredibly good at this season.

      I really, really hope the MP4-27 is a quick car, imagine the fight we’ll get between Button and Hamilton next season…mouthwatering!

  7. He’s a classy driver. Also a classy guy. Reminds me of a more gentleman racer. Watching him fight it out in close proximity to other drivers (Hamilton in Turkey, Webber in Abu Dhabi) he still always seems so darn classy(!)

  8. As much as your articles are brilliant, balanced and factual! I can’t help but notice a lot of little digs at Hamilton recently! Meant in the most respectful of ways of course Keith!

    1. Thing is, whether you’re a Hamilton fan or not, he’s had a disappointing season on both accounts.

      I’m not sure they’re so much ‘digs’ as they are reminders that he heavily undershot expectations this year.

      1. I feel the need to comment that I wouldn’t say Hamilton has undershot my expectations. I expect Hamilton to be entertaining, to make bold moves and, occasionally, for it not to pay off.

        Let’s not forget that Hamilton threw away a championship last year on stupid moves that ended in non-finishes on at least two occasions. Remember when he was running third behind Massa at Monza, stuffed it up the inside and came away without a track rod? We were screaming at Hamilton not to do it before he even started – because we expect it of him.

        The adjective I would use for Hamilton this year would be controversial, because this year he’s often caused others to pay for his mistakes.

        1. But then so did everyone last year – Alonso in spa, webber in valencia/korea, even Vettel could have lost it for himself with stupid moves as in spa. Remember Lewis lost 18 points in spain and was only 17 behind at the end of the year, plus was harpooned by webber in oz.

          Button however played it safe and almost never put a foot wrong – but he was first out of the fight!

          But yes I agree totally that I want to see drivers fighting, as a lewis fan I have learnt to enjoy the highs and suffer the lows!

      2. he’s had a disappointing season

        Yes, highly disappointing. Each time Dumbo finished in the points was a huge disappointment, and the occasional win simply unbearable. And still never a black flag!.

        Many people want Felipe Massa out of F1, but for me he has richly earned his keep this year, by maintaining Dumbo far from the podium so many times.

  9. The keys to Button’s advantage were twofold: first, he lacked Hamilton’s propensity for sticking his car in the scenery (or, more often, Felipe Massa).

    I feel the situation at McLaren is best expressed in the form of a limerick:

    There once was a driver named Hamilton
    Who enjoyed being the favourite son
    But he would occasionally stray
    Into Felipe
    And so it was Button who won

    1. Or, more likely:

      “There was a young man in a red car,
      Who considered himself a fixed star,
      In his own mind he was perfect
      And all watching did genuflect,
      So that rivals were seen from afar.”

      Even if they beat him.

      1. ouch! @Nosey

    2. Now I’m getting into it:

      “Another man drove a red car too.
      But he was given to misconstrue
      His role in the team,
      For whatever it might seem
      ‘Fernando is faster than you'”

  10. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    15th December 2011, 13:08

    The keys to Button’s advantage were twofold: first, he lacked Hamilton’s propensity for sticking his car in the scenery (or, more often, Felipe Massa).

    So funny! besides that, and even as a Vettel fun, I really liked the final events in Canada where he drove aggressively legal to break Vettel’s concentration. He was my 2nd choice on this ranking but much accurately I’d say he and Fernando both matched good driving, effort and drive over their respective teammates. They’er just even IMHO

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      15th December 2011, 13:09

      Vettel fun = Vettel fan (oh blood* typo)

  11. Button really is one of those drivers who knows how to play the game, he can keep cool at the start of races, when often we have seen a few cars in front of him pull out a gap, he thinks of the long run, of all 50+ laps and the best way to cross the finish line on the last lap, rather than racing for the lead on the first.

    I am a massive Button fan (don’t mention what shampoo or Bank Account I have switched to this year – my girlfriend thinks she has competition!) and I have to say that even when I have almost been shouting at the TV this year saying ‘come on, close the gap’ he has taken things steady. He may not be the most exciting driver on the grid, but he is certainly the most smart. How quickly did he get past MSC at Monza, he saw the opportunity and knew he had to take it, he is contently thinking of all the scenarios that could happen in a race, sometimes it seems he may pace himself too often, but I think everyone this year is starting to realise that his stratergy is actually proving to be perhaps the best for consistency for securing his next WDC.

    I was also thinking, how come he is not 2nd or maybe even 1st, but he may have beaten his teammate, but Hamilton was not that far behind compared to Massa and Webber

    my dream team would be Button and Vettel at the moment – extremely high levels of consistency from them both. Alonso is a real fighter but perhaps is someone who may burn out his tires that Button.

    1. I couldn’t agree any more, you’ve said it all. I’m exactly the same as you (even with the shampoo as well, not so much the bank account as I couldn’t be bothered), but I too am a massive JB fan and he utterly deserves every ounce of respect he has gained from such a brilliant season.

      To be honest, I don’t think he was that far behind Hamilton last year (if you don’t count the DNFs that were not his fault), and this year he has stepped it up even more and proven to everyone what I believed was possible from the beginning.

      I’m a little surprised that Jenson wasn’t second, but Keith might just be able to convince me of Alonso being a more deserving, but only very slightly…

      Also, does anyone know when Jenson last had a DNF that was his fault? The last one I remember was Nurburgring 2007…

  12. Ham 5th, But 3rd ? in 2011???? i have my fair share of problems with both placements……I was naive enough to believe that this was gonna be a 2011 ranking…….

    1. Pray explain?

    2. I have honestly no idea what you’re gunning at dude.
      But I’ll say I think it’s definitely close between Alonso ( doubt Keith will put him 1st! ) and Button for 2nd spot this years ranking. Both did great jobs!

    3. @lexblair Perhaps you’d care to elaborate on those problems? Where do you think each driver should have been and why?

  13. A great season by Button I ranked him second in my personal list but it was close between him and Alonso.

    Like Vettel after he won the title Button seemed to go onto another level and he is getting better every year at the moment.

    Although he had the beating of Hamilton this year I still think it was more down to Hamilton underperforming and making too many stupid mistakes rather than Button improving that much.

  14. Button 3rd, Alonso 2nd, Vettel 1st – this part I agree 100% with Keith, and I also think it is the easiest part of the ranking.
    Don’t let Buttons great performance this year think he was really better than Alonso, because he will never be. Button used his skills to full potential, but his limits appear earlier than Alonso’s, who took a quite inferior car to pretty similar results this year!
    Still great job Button. Hamilton is the better driver, though, and it will show again next year.

    1. I don’t understand where this theory of Hamilton being better than Jenson has come from. Yes LH is a fast driver, and has proven that he can beat JB in qualifying numerous times, but even in 2010, Jenson wasn’t that far behind Lewis, especially if you count the two DNFs that Jenson got, that weren’t actually his fault. This year, Jenson was the better driver by quite a margin, and I very much doubt that with more input from his side that Hamilton will have it easy, nor do I think he is the better driver, as to be a better driver you have to be a complete driver, which is what the top 3 have all shown this year.

    2. The flaw in this argument is that it presumes driver rankings are based on some indefinable ‘natural ability’, rather than actual achievement.

      You say that Button ‘will never’ be better than Alonso. Does that mean if Button wins the title and Alonso comes nowhere (as in 2009) Alsonso is still ‘better’ in that year?

      My problem with Button at no.3 and (presumably) Alonso at no.2 is that it buys into the ideas that the latter is more ‘naturally’ gifted and deserves to come ahead regardless of what they both atually achieve on track. Alonso gets to no. 2 with a single win, whereas Button is no 3 with 3 wins, but is somehow seen as ‘less successful’. Hamilton need 3 wins and a pole to get to no.5; with only 1 win, he’d presumably be lower still.

      How many races should Button have won to merit no. 2, I wonder?

      1. Alonso has 2nd because he moved a relatively awful car into consistent podiums.

        1. But then, how do we know that the car is awful ???

          I mean everyone reckons it is the 3rd car on the grid.
          With FMassa being very slow and Mark Webber either slow or KERS-disabled or giving 6 places at the start, statistically he is bound to get some podiums, isn’t he ?

          And the Silverstone win was also due to a RBR error wasn’t it ?

          I’m playing devil’s advocate there, cause i am convinced he is top-three stuff anyway…

          1. Relative to RB and McLaren, the 150o Italia was a poor car.
            I think Alonso put in a better season-long performance than Button. Silverstone, Nurburgring, Susuka and Monaco were brilliant.

  15. I would have probably ranked Button 2nd ahead of Alonso, primarily because of their respective finishing positions in the championship and the fact that Alonso barely had a team mate worthy of the name to challenge him.

    1. @dobin1000 I agree. Button would be 2nd for me too. I think Alonso arguably had a tougher job in the Ferrari but we saw some absolutely stunning race craft from Button this year.

  16. He won over Hamilton convincingly with two mechanical retirements to his team-mate’s none

    Didn’t Lewis retire in Brazil? I believe he had a gearbox problem.

    1. Yes he did, but by that time Button was already out of Hamilton’s reach if I remember correctly.

      1. In fact, wasn’t the comment written before the Brazilian Grand Prix, @Guilherme?

  17. Beat team mate in qualifying 6/19
    Beat team mate in race 7/14
    Races finished 17/19
    Laps spent ahead of team mate 445/975

    This shows not only that he had a tough team mate, it also shows who is actually better… but I still agree with Button in front of Hamilton this year.

    1. Laps spent ahead of team mate 445/975 : it’s the last lap that counts

  18. Jenson cannot extract the maximum from a car, and this is more so during qualifying.
    Statistically he out qualified Hamilton 6 times out of 19. That is just statistics. Keen followers of the sport will realise that could probably have been only 3 or 4.

    He was ahead massively in the points, but an accurate performance metrix would factor in penalties, retirements and team ineptitude.

    Congratulations still to all the Jenson larger drinkers.

    1. Team ineptitude would make no difference, being as they both are part of the same inept team.

    2. Should the FIA rejig the points system again then? It was my understanding that penalties *are* part of the performance metrics in that they prevent people who break the rules from benefitting. No idea how one would go about factoring in team ineptitude. What a silly idea.

      Oh, and mine’s a 2005 Gigondas, not a “larger”.

    3. Gearbox may be down to the team… but running ever so often into other cars on track and other such silliness, is Lewis’s own follies. Lewis is a good driver, let us see if he gets better, or next year gets the better of him. It is never fun to put someone down, but Lewis had it relatively easy so far. Next year will be the real test and we’ll see what he’s made of.

  19. Totally agree with the top 3 rankings. Button and alonso may have been close for 2nd, but taking qualy performances into account it has gt to be alonso ahead of button in the ranking. Alonso gt the maximum out of his car in majority of the qualy sessions while button didn’t. Team m8 comparisons in qualy shows that story. Don’t get me wrong though as I think button did a superb job this year. Kudos to the top 3 al deserved world champs and class acts.

    1. Sorry for the short hand writing..all the “gt” are supposed to be got.

  20. I also think Jenson deserves credit for his achievements this year. I’d probably go as far fetched to say he’s the “Prost” of this generation of F1.

    1. From the time Button joined the Mclaren, I thought for myself ” This is gonna looks like Senna Vs Prost ” but so far the difference is they dont hate eachother lol

      1. I thought the same thing!

    2. Yeah true. He does blame everything on the car if its not going his way. Its always no balance or no grip.

  21. Button got a deserved third this year. I wonder how much the balance of power has tipped in McLaren after this season. Will he be seen as a smart, safe, fast and consistent pair of hands compared to his team mate? Will the car be developed just a touch more with his driving style in mind?

  22. I hope this year finally showed how good Button is. Many people (me included) thought his 2009 championship was just because of the car, and his couple wins last year were just luck, but I think I’m finally starting to see a pattern here: Jenson is actually a good driver.

  23. Without consecutive retirements at Silverstone and the Nurburgring due to technical reasons, his advantage over Hamilton would have been even greater.

    It really does highlight how much better he was this year.

    I love Jenson for so many reasons. First of all; he’s quiet and kind of slipped under the radar in his first races for McLaren when everyone expected him to be beaten by Hamilton. Deep down, I think I was one of those people that doubted he had it in him to beat Lewis, but I refused to admit it to anyone even if it was just my naivety.

    Secondly, he salvages wins/podiums out of nothing. He barely ever qualifies on the front row, but he somehow manages to beat Lewis nearly every time simply through outsmarting him. Lewis has the pace, but he can’t control it. Jenson is more balanced, in my opinion, and the driver I’d choose over Hamilton if I wanted consistently good driving.

    And then there’s the fact that he’s one of the most likeable characters to have ever driven in F1. He’s funny, witty, and always seems to be happy when interviewed. I don’t see how anyone could dislike Jenson and that’s no accident.

    Oh, I also named my cat after him! :P

    1. 100% agree. Could not agree more to that comment whatsoever.

      …Apart from the cat, I didn’t name my cat Jenson, nor do I have a cat lol.

    2. Don’t exaggerate now, don’t forget that Witmarsh favors Button over Hamilton!, the first half of the season Button was nowhere near Hamilton and by the way, Button only ends up in front of Hamilton when Hamilton has problems etc. Button is a nice guy but next year the hierarchy will be restored, also noticed how Witmarsh and co. messed up Hamiltons race with wrong strategy such as in Malaysia, Monaco, Great Britain, Hungry, Italy, Japan or over fueled his car, but none the less respect for Button achievements.. So don’t exaggerate

      1. You’re claiming that the team that notoriously doesn’t favour any driver, is favouring one of it’s drivers?

        1. Have you not noticed Witmarsh phraces for Button even when it was clear that Hamilton was way better like in Germany

          1. There’s no way that Martin Whitmarsh would face the wrath of Ron Dennis for doing so. McLaren has never operated in such a fashion unlike some other teams we could mention (*cough* Ferrari Renault Red Bull *cough* *cough*)

      2. @concalvez00 I’ve never seen anything to suggest Whitmarsh favours Button. I think he’s probably the best team principal out there at the moment and he’s always sticking up for Lewis even when there’s no case to be made (like when he turned into Kobayashi in Spa). If he’s seemed a touch harsh on Lewis this year then it’s with good reason. Lewis has been awful. The only talent he has it raw pace, it seems. Or maybe that’s all that shined through this year. But either way, he wasn’t a good all-round F1 driver and as team principal, he has every right to be annoyed.

        Button is a nice guy but next year the hierarchy will be restored, also noticed how Witmarsh and co. messed up Hamiltons race with wrong strategy such as in Malaysia, Monaco, Great Britain, Hungry, Italy, Japan or over fueled his car, but none the less respect for Button achievements..

        I honestly have no idea what you’re implying here. Whitmarsh didn’t sabotage Lewis’ races. Why would he? Why does it matter which of their drivers comes out on top? They’ve nothing to gain from favouring either of them as they’re so evenly matched.

        And I think everyone respects Button’s achievements this year. I thought he’d have silenced his critics after this season, but alas…

        I’m not exaggerating anything.

        @JamieFranklinF1 My cat’s name is actually Button! :P We’ve got him plugged in and charging his KERS in this picture: http://twitpic.com/690dej ;)

        1. @damonsmedley, I mostly agree with what you say about Whitmarsh, he does seem to praise Button differently, and of course, over most of this season, Button has had more to praise than Hamilton, but still, he didn’t just defend Hamilton, but said he believed in him, and praised him when praise was due, and even when it wasn’t so clear to the viewer why.

          Example – Brazil: I thought Ham was off the pace for much of the race, apparently that was already the gearbox starting to give up quite early; MW praising HAM for keeping it together and almost getting Massa done without a crash, until box gave up. He of course also congratulated Button on a good race, as was deserved.

          On strategy: well, maybe McLaren goofed with Hamilton’s strategy – the difference was, Button kept an eye out to strategy himself, thus preventing that. Something Hamilton really needs to start picking up from him, I think.

          1. @Bosyber I agree completely. Especially with the last paragraph. If you could combine Hamilton’s speed with Button’s intelligence and foresight, you’d surely have an unbeatable driver.

      3. So the team who chose “their own lad” over a back-to-back champion would actually be against him now? I’m sure Ron would have had something to say if that were the case. Just get used to the idea that Lewis messed up and Button pounced on the opportunity.

      4. guccio mate
        you have got to be kidding
        in most of those races lewis cocked everything up, not the team.
        in monaco, he crashed into 3 drivers (schumi, felipe and maldonado) got penalties for two of those and a grid penatly as well. in hungary he spun at the chicane, then forced di resta off the road… then got a penalty.
        in italy, he was stuck behind schumi for 16 hours while jenson come in and casually nabbed them both in one lap.
        jenson has been far superior this year, get over it

        1. Mickey where you sleeping during the race or what ?, in Monaco they send him to late out to run a proper time, and look what happend.. in Hungry they put him on wrong tyres while on the radar they could see that rain was not coming & in Monza both Schumacher and Hamiltons tyres where gone when Button came, but still Button has been good this year

          1. In Monaco he had time to set a lap at the end and skipped across the chicane, getting that lap deleted. In Hungary he had the choice of which tyre to go on, and he cocked it up and spun. In Monza he spent 27 laps getting past a car that was a second a lap slower in qualifying.

  24. I for one never thought Lewis would ‘blow him away’, though I did think Hamilton may get the better of him over the course of a season, as was proved last year. This season though, he seems to have developed an immense mental strength, which obviously elevated him to another level.

    JB is a class act, always was. I think he will only get better from now on.

  25. Once Lewis gets back on track Button is no match for him. My opinion. Button is a great driver but for me not on the same page as Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel. Of course i may be very wrong, so let’s see. The over criticism on Hamilton maybe came from the expections around him, but also came from the need of the press to find a bad guy and a good guy, which is ridiculous. About Jenson’s season i’d put him second on the ranking. His wins were espetacular especially in Montreal. He’s the best one on conserving tyres. His pace during the final stints of the races shown that.

    1. also noticed how Witmarsh and co. messed up Hamiltons race with wrong strategy such as in Malaysia, Monaco, Great Britain, Hungry, Italy, Japan or over fueled his car otherwise Button would nowhere near Hamilton despite Hamilton’s problems

      1. JB would either have suffered from similar bad strategy or would have thought his way out of tight binds, with Hungary being a good example.

  26. I do not agree with keith ,[ Ham is better than But ] he Ham beat But in all categorys apart from the the points, he out qualifying in almost everything my ranking is 1=VT 2=BUT/ALO 3=HAM 4=WEB 5=ROS Thats how i rate them.

    1. Agreed

    2. Although Webber was made to look worse than he was by his teammate, I believe Rosberg was still better, given he was in the Merc.

    3. @west – ‘ he Ham beat But in all categorys apart from the the points’

      You mean the only category that counts!

  27. never been a button fan, but last year…. great job!!

  28. Happy for Jenson and Fernando. I had underestimated Jenson till this year. This year really showed his cool and composure. I still feel like Alonso had a win in canada and button ruined it for him, but i was still happy for him such an incredible drive! I actually had tears of joy for a mclaren win! I think the 3 main drivers were all great in their own way, But if RBR keeps ruling F1 if Ferrari can’t win Im routing for Jenson, such a nice person loved by many. I hope he can oust hamilton out of the team, because he couldn’t seem to do much right this year, unless his main objective was to hit Massa every race. hamilton is going to be sacked next year if he cannot perform, I reckon Mclaren won’t be looking to take the heat for his actions forever, esp if Button continues to give them a chance at a win most races.

  29. Jenson no3? U MAD BRO!?!

    1. Your post is not very interesting if you don’t state your point of view more clearly…
      You seem to disagree: should he rank higher ? Lower ?

      1. Clearly higher. It was his best season by far imho. He had some fenomenal races, he beat Lewis with ease…

    2. I felt he should have been second. I don’t dispute Alonso had a good year but Button showed his worth.

  30. Britalian Stallion
    16th December 2011, 8:55

    Are you kidding? Button is worth at least second, if not the top spot!

  31. He’s probably been better this season than he was behind the wheel of the Brawn in 2009.

    1. @ajokay I was just thinking the same too, but didn’t want to put it down in writing ;)

      In 2009 he had the car (and talent of course) but this year McLaren really didn’t deliver and Button drove sublimely.

  32. Im delighted JB has outperformed Lewis this season. I never doubted he could, and frankly after years of abuse (ok not abuse, i cant think of a better word) from people who jumped onto the Lewis Hamilton Fan Bandwagon during 2007, its nice for him too show what he can do and beat lewis convincingly :)

  33. Button just made everyone’s jaw to drop in Canada. His performance in some of the races were just epic. If he didn’t had those two retirements in Germany & Britain ( not of his own fault) he could have had delayed Vettel’s WC celebration by one more race.

    1. @wasiF1 In Canada Button overtook Schumacher using DRS towards the Wall of Champions. I don’t think i’ve ever seen a vehicle move with such determination and speed. Jaw dropping indeed!

  34. Fantastic driver, always getting better and better!

  35. Personally I would have put Button 2nd but I do think the summary of his season is really good.

    It’s close between him and Alonso. Alonso had the harder job, dealing with the F150 (sorry, Ford) and he managed to bring the car home as best he could. However, on pure race craft Button steals it for me. Canada was sublime. I love the ‘professor’ approach to the sport, there’s beauty in the subtlety. Agression has it perks too, but I prefer the other approach.

    I guess many expect that once Hamilton is on form, Button won’t be seen for dust but I don’t believe that. I expect that Button will go into 2012 feeling on top of the world and Hamilton will really have to re-think his politics on the tarmac as a result of his season.

    A pleasure to watch this year, thanks Jenson.

  36. Button can only beat a confused and weakened Hamilton. He will never beat Hamilton at even 90%. Only Hamilton’s mistakes caused Button to get in front in 2011, and even then Button was never going to Challenge Vettel for the Championship like what Hamilton was doing until that team cock up in Monaco where it all went downhill from there.

    1. Well Hamilton shouldn’t be making mistakes or allowing himself to be weakened then.

      Hamilton wasn’t challenging Vettel for the championship either before Monaco, where he failed to go out and set a time before the red flag, cut a chicane later on in the session and had multiple collisions in the race.

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