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

2012 F1 season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lewis Hamilton vs Jenson Button: 2010-2012

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


Lewis Hamilton15233149495984109127145157157182182182192210222240258262287299317325325337349374386386398408418436442467467482497512516520530555555559559584584609609619620
Jenson Button6313560707088106121133143147147165177189189199214222240252260275290315323323323348363381399424436454469484509509527527529529529533534552560585585603615615

Technical failures

Lewis Hamilton


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


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

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

Jenson Button


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


2012 Japanese Grand Prix – Gearbox (five places)

Over to you

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

Have your say in the comments.

2012 F1 season

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

Author information

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

  1. I think that Hamilton has had the rough end of the deal when it comes to luck. And if you counted up the points each driver has lost from all incidents that were out of their control- reliability, pit errors, competitors causing crashes- Hamilton would be more than those 4 points ahead. Nevertheless, Button has impressed, and came out ahead last year on merit.

    1. Yeah I agree. The DNF stats dont really show up how many time LH has limped home with mechanical issues. E.g Loosing 3rd gear in Japan 2011 and letting JB past. Also he picked up the German GP puncture running a lot higher than the DNF position shows. Its right but doesnt really show a true reflection on the points lost due to bad luck.

    2. Give us some statistics. I’m having a hard time believing that Hamilton would’ve had that much more bad luck than Button. Hamilton is on the spot light, so when he has bad luck everyone remembers that. Just last race Kobayashi crashed into Button on the first corner, yet everyone is talking about how Hamilton fought himself to 10th place even though he had mechanical difficulties.

      1. Hamilton was already ahead in that particular case, so it isn’t hard to imagine it staying that way. Hence it was talked about more. Hamilton has also lost two potential wins (Spain and Singapore this year) whereas Button hasn’t had such a high profile malfunction. I can’t really be bothered to look into statistics, but I am pretty certain that although Button hasn’t exactly gotten off lightly, it has been Hamilton bearing the brunt of his team’s and other’s mistakes.

        1. But we’re talking about 2010-2012. During that time, there has been 54 races and without statistics it’s hard to believe that Hamilton would’ve had more bad luck, since in the long run everyone has the same amount of luck. As we can see, they both have the same amount of technical retirements.

          Highlighting a couple of races doesn’t prove anything.

          1. You could argue that Hamilton’s bad luck has been more costly. Also the errors probably balance, Lewis’ brain farts and crashes probably equal Jensons ‘bad setup days’, but the former will inevitably attract more criticism.

          2. Theres problems Lewis had that arnt on that list because he still finished the race. Such as a gearbox problem in Suzuka 2011 where he had to yield to Button, and problems such as the last 2 races where he had broken suspension in both but still managed to finish the race.

          3. in the long run everyone has the same amount of luck

            That is patently not true, whether you’re talking about racing or any aspect in life.

          4. Luck remains Gaussian distributed when summed. See the central limit theorem for random walks. In plain English, this means that luck does not even out at all and you can be lucky or unlucky your whole life, its just unlikely.

          5. @john-h
            True. But at least we can say that no person is “lucky” or “unlucky” in a way that we could determine his future luck just by looking at past events. And I’ve been reading this “oh no, Hamilton is so unlucky” ever since 2007 every season. It’s very very very very unluckily that same person would be unlucky for six seasons in a row, right?

        2. @hotbottoms Off the top of my head, a round up for Hamilton this year:
          Australia- arguably quite unlucky to lose 2nd due to when the safety car came out. Would he have stayed ahead of Vettel? Who knows. Potential 3 points lost though.
          China- He should have started 2nd, ahead of Button. And Button should have challenged Rosberg more closely were it not for a for stop, so perhaps Hamilton could have done the same. Hamilton lost a likely 3 points, and possible 10 had he challenged for the win.
          Bahrain- I believe he was running 2nd when his first pitstop troubles happened. This was compounded later with another bad stop. He lost a possible 14 points if we’re being generous, only 8 if we assume both Lotus’ had the pace to beat him.
          Spain- Hard not to see him winning had he started from pole if he’d been correctly fuelled. 21 points lost (for the conservative estimate, we’ll call it 11 in case Alonso and Maldonado still beat him).
          Monaco- Very debatable, but Hamilton claims he wasn’t told to lap at a pace to cover off Vettel, so a possible 2 points lost from mismanagement.
          Europe- 15 if we assume Maldonado either failed to pass or still earned himself a penalty, 12 had he got past fairly.
          Germany- Very difficult again due to the incident being so early, but the puncture at the beginning may have cost him 15 points. Lets say 10 as a conservative estimate.
          Belgium- This is even more difficult. Vettel stormed through. Had Hamilton managed the same he could have potentially gotten a podium, or at least 4 points for finishing where he started.
          Singapore- 25 points, unless you really think Vettel had the beating of him.
          Korea- I’m not sure when the suspension problems started for Hamilton. But he could have possibly finished 3rd, surely 6th.

          Conservative estimate- 74 points lost this season due to misfortune.
          Ambitious estimate- 135 points.

          Either way, that is a lot from one season. Conversely, purely off the top of my head, Button lost 24 from Italy and Japan combined. Maybe he could have done better in China with a better pit stop, but as I said, so could Hamilton. Button could have finished 7th in Bahrain (ahead of Di Resta, behind Hamilton). So maybe around 30 points for Button.

          Taking misfortune into account does often have its drawbacks- with regards to reliability the point is often made that an unreliable car is often the price you pay for a fast car- but when comparing just the two drivers in the same cars, it is a fair measure. This year at least, Hamilton has vastly outperformed Button beyond what even the points table shows.

          1. @matt90 – You can’t really argue the Australia, China & Monaco incidents, but yes, his team have rather thrown a lot of points away from stupid errors. I reckon he’s lost at least 50 from team errors.

          2. You can’t really Australia?

            He lost 2nd purly because of the timing of the SC, which is dependant on when Whiting decides to press the SC button. That firmly comes under the ‘lucky/unlucky’ catagory.

            China he had to have an unschedueld gearbox change.

            Monaco, fair enough, thats not bad luck, the team didnt tell him, thats just bad management – but out of all the inncodents, this was the one of the ones he lost least from, so kind of irrelevent to the overall picture

          3. Why do you think you can’t argue Australia, China and Monaco? I think there is definitely a case for them, even if its slight. Not that I think China is slight- he would have been in much better contention, particularly not finding himself leaving the pits into traffic constantly had he actually started 2nd.

          4. This sort of analysis isn’t useful because it is put together with the aim of proving a point and is therefore highly unscientific (and that’s not reflecting the nature of the estimates of loss which you are correct in assuming is the only way to come up with a measure). The only way of going about it properly would be an analysis of every GP during the partnership and you would have to measure gains from the misfortune of others as well as losses from own misfortune.

            As @hotbottoms suggests the reality is that over such a large number of races the best assumption is that luck is more-or-less balanced and the points situation is a fair reflection unless anyone can properly disprove it.

          5. I don’t see why in a comparison that is purely between these two team mates you would need to consider the misfortune of others. I would have looked at the other 2 years, but quite frankly I couldn’t be bothered.

        3. 2nd place @ monza…… button has had his run of bad luck. Just as said hes out of the spotlight due to the lack of brain farts IMHO.

    3. That’s just racing, safety cars are beyond the drivers’ or teams’ control; everyone is affected by a safety car. China, I suppose is partly bad luck but again that isn’t something the team have much control over; gearboxes sometimes fail (although I do believe that the Singapore incident could have been averted if he were to take a gearbox penalty, although I don’t know whether the team knew there was any fault), you just have to roll with the tide. Both Valencia and Belgium were racing incidents I shall add, and are again largely beyond his or the teams’ control (he could possibly have avoided both incidents had he been more forgiving, but why should he have, after all racing drivers aren’t signed to let people through without a fight).
      But yes, I don’t disagree with you that McLaren have rather ruined his championship chances. Even if we discount the events which were beyond his or the teams control (Belgium, Valencia, Australia and Singapore) the amount of points he has lost would have put him well within title contention (if McLaren could keep pace with Red Bull that is).

      1. I never said that the team was responsible for Belgium or Valencia. I wasn’t even talking about his championship ambitions, let alone how his team have stifled them. I was only talking about his general misfortune in comparison to Button, which puts their points tally much closer than it would be if the both had good luck.

    4. Let’s compare a head to head failures

      L. Hamilton J. Button


      Spain (tire failure) Monaco (engine failure)
      Hungary (drive shaft) Belgium (Vettel crashing)
      Japan (lost 3rd gear and let JB past)


      Monaco (poor strategic call in Q3) Turkey (delayed stop)
      Turkey (delayed stop) Britain (loose wheel)
      Britain (fuel saving lost him a place) Germany (hydraulics)
      Brazil (gearbox)


      China (gearbox penalty) Italy (gearbox)
      Bahrain (delayed pitstops) Japan (gearbox penalty)
      Spain (fuel problem in Q3) Korea (K. Kobayashi)
      Valencia (P. Maldonado)
      Germany (puncture)
      Belgium (R. Grosjean)
      Singapore (gearbox)
      Japan (rear suspension)
      Korea (rear anti roll bar and astro turf)

  2. Lewis kinda beat Button in 2011 season too in performance, just the points don’t show it

    1. It’s the same in this season too, Lewis was always infront of Button, when he was behind it was because of team mistake, penalty, failed pitstop and so on…

      1. Chris (@chriswayne1985c)
        18th October 2012, 11:46

        Yes, because points are not a true indicator of performance

      2. @wackyracer
        This season, then yes, Hamilton has been a LOT better then Button. And even if he still is quite a bit ahead on points (this year) it is still not representative of how much better he has driven. But 2011 was his own fault. There is a difference between being unlucky, and being stupid. Your performance cannot be better if you crash into someone on lap 17. Even if you by that time was 20 seconds ahead of your team mate.

        1. @mads . I agree about 2011… its hard to say Hamilton was unlucky because he drove stupidly and made errors of judgement that top drivers shouldn’t be making. Having said that, even in 2011, when Hamilton was at his worst and Button was at his best, they ended up with the same number of wins and not that far off in the points tally.

          In 2010, I think the points total was slightly flattering to Jenson. I remember Keith did an article on how many drivers would have lost or gained points if luck wasn’t a factor, and I remember Jenson was the only one that gained points from other people’s misfortunes while Vettel, Lewis and Fernando lost points. Jenson got a little lucky with his strategic gambles in Australia and China, or else he would have finished the season without a win. Honestly, in 2010 I’ve never seen a driver more content with finishing just behind his teammate than Jenson.. and that says a lot about the driver.

          In 2012, we cannot even compare the two. Hamilton has been light years ahead of his teammate on quali and race pace. If there was a worst driver of the weekend poll on this site, I think Button would be a common feature on there after his Monaco, Spanish, British GP performances. On the other hand, Lewis is enjoying one of his best seasons in the sport although the points tally may not reflect it.

          At the end of the day, I dont think the 4-5 points between them even matters. There is not a single fan in F1 who would doubt that Lewis was the better of the two drivers while they were teammates.

    2. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
      18th October 2012, 11:54

      Not really. In 2011, Hamilton threw away plenty of points through some jarring mistakes (read: his idiotic run-ins with Massa). Button was far more consistent that year, scoring 12 podium-finishes compared to Hamilton’s 6. The points show that.

      As for this year, I would agree that Hamilton has been ahead of Button for pretty much the entire year.

      1. @bobthevulcan – isn’t that Hamilton’s fault for crashing into Massa? He was the one that got the penalties almost every time the pair made contact, suggesting that it was therefore his fault. Anyway, he shouldn’t have been fighting Massa for track position anyway, the McLaren was a much better car.

        1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
          18th October 2012, 12:25

          @vettel1 – I was trying to say it was Hamilton’s fault, and that he didn’t “beat Button”.

      2. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
        18th October 2012, 12:33

        * to clarify, Hamilton has himself to blame for his sub-par 2011 season.

        1. Indeed, he blamed it on other factors such as ‘lack of support’ and ‘relationship issues’ but really he just wasn’t performing as he should have.

          1. … he blamed it on other factors…

            Really? Because I remember him taking the blame every time when it was his fault. Also, he openly admitted that he lost his focus in 2011 and that Jenson did a better job all season.

          2. Well, what do you think was the real reason for his lacklustre performance? He is a professional racing driver, his relationship issues shouldn’t affect his ability to avoid collisions. I haven’t heard of any driver having issues like that for similar reasons.

    3. It wasnt even the whole of 2011, just the second half. If I remember correctly, Lewis was even ahead on points until Canada (can someone confirm?) but then he imploded, and it happened to coincide with Jenson suddenly hitting the sweet spot with the car. Just goes to show how half a season in 3 makes all the difference! I can’t accept the argument that on balance Jenson has performed better as a driver during any other period.

      Overall Lewis. I dislike the ‘consistency’ arguments, this season especially should have put that argument to bed. But points differences will never reflect that. If the car is only good enough for 5th then there is nothing to stop the two drivers finishing 5th and 6th and recording almost equal points, regardless of how hard whichever of them fought to get there.

      1. But consistency is part of the game. This isn’t an argument about who’s the faster driver, it’s about who’s the better driver overall. And if you can’t bring it home in the points consistently, then clearly something is missing in the package. Point in case would be Alonso leading the championship for so long without having the fastest car. On the days where he couldn’t capitalize on opportunities to win, he was scoring. It well and truly has an effect on things to be consistent without being the fastest. You need speed, but you don’t need the best speed.

        1. Good point. That’s I guess what Lewis grasped with bitter taste after finishing 2011 and its result was as shown this year though hampered severely by this or that problems mostly out of his control.

        2. I think my point was that Lewis has actually been very consistent, the later part of 2011 aside… Surely this is apparent from 2010 and 2012. This is why I think the argument is baseless. I didn’t say anything about speed, not sure where you got that from.

          In any case the “speed vs consistency” argument has been done to death and I think we can all agree such a simplistic view does not reflect the two drivers.

          Consistency is also the aspect that button lacked this year with his setup issues, as another example. Finishing the race is no good if you haven’t done the homework beforehand to give you a good platform to compete for points.

      2. Up until Canada where Lewis was taken out by the crash with Jensen, he was leading 7pts. But don’t think it’s necessary to go over the data. Lewis did inflicted himself which I think part of learning too.
        As for the consistency, old saying of ‘ making faster driver to be consistent vs making consistent driver to be faster’ consideration would be enough. :)
        Ah, I’m not saying Lewis was inconsistent but saying in some aspect he seemed didn’t care that much about consistent point accumulation due to in and out of track issues.

      3. This comment is hilarious. First you imply that people rate Button higher than Hamilton for his second half of the 2011 season in isolation…then suggest that this season in isolation should debunk any questions over the consistency of Hamilton. Hypocricy much?

        That being said, I completely agree with your comments in response to Joey-Poey.

        1. Lol too much time spent looking at (NOT posting in!) the planetf1 forums.

          Tbh I openly focus on the latter part of 2011 because thats what really brings the discussions up – take away lewis’ worse than usual form AND jenson’s better than usual form and what do you have? 2.5 years of lewis ahead of jenson. Not by much, but ahead nevertheless. Applies in 10, first half 11 and 12. Vs half a year of positions reversed.

          So yes, I absolutely believe that some people rate jenson higher than lewis because of 2nd half 2011! JB is undoubtedly a quality driver but IMO lewis edges him in their time as teammates.

    4. Well said @wackyracer
      Comparing the two just seems like a no brainer.

  3. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
    18th October 2012, 11:41

    The two McLaren drivers have been remarkably similar in their results, albeit achieved in different ways. It seems that Hamilton is the faster driver on one-lap pace, generally out-qualifying Button, yet suffers from inconsistency, especially throughout 2011. Conversely, Button has arguably better race pace, and with the exception of his mid-2012 slump, has been quite consistent in his performances. Overall, it does make all the “Hamilton will utterly thrash Button” talk from 2010 look silly now.

    As for who will come out ahead at the end of this season, I would say Hamilton, for the reason that he’s been able to “switch-on” the car more often than Button – as of the Korean GP, Button still seems to struggle with qualifying pace. Nevertheless, 5 points is a very slender margin, and anything could happen.

  4. I feel like it could go either way. One thing with Hamilton is that he often seems to slow down if his motivation drops. I could see him not having a particularly good end to the season how he feels he’s out of contention for the title. That said, this is Hamilton we’re talking about, who is notoriously unpredictable. he could just as well be totally dominant now he doesn’t have the pressure of winning the championship to deal with.

    One thing which does become clear is that McLaren have let their drivers down somewhat in terms of reliability and team management. Both drivers should have scored a lot more points in the last three years.

    1. @mazdachris Particularly this year – you can see how their lines have started to dip.

      1. indeed @keithcollantine, very clear to see that they progress in a sort of out of sync lock-step/staircase in these last few races; also, both LH and JB seem to have hit a false-flat 4-5 races into 2012 – yes, LH gets a few good points including the Canada win, and both gets some points, but not a lot all considered.

        Though of course, thanks to his bas last half of 2011 (looking at the scores, before that he was doing okay), LH’s line already started dipping before ;)

  5. This pairing reminds me so much of the Kimi-Felipe pairing. Kimi (Hamilton) was expected to trounce Felipe (Button) and did so in the first year. But in the second year, the other driver had the upper hand. And after the third season, the partnership ends with the faster driver making a bizarre career decision (Kimi leaving F1, Lewis going to Mercedes).

    Felipe beat Kimi. So, I will put my money on Button for the last 5 races.

    1. But Felipe was qualifying quite well. If Button doesn’t step up in that area for the remaining races, you’ll lose your money…

  6. I think it’s pretty clear that, no matter what happens over the next five races, the overall difference between Hamilton and Button in terms of their points-scoring ability is pretty small. They’ve each got strengths and weaknesses but the overall sums come out about the same. The difference between them is less than that between Piquet and Mansell at Williams (142-131 to Piquet) or Senna and Prost at McLaren (163-150 to Prost); and both of those comparisons were over two seasons and using old points systems which involved smaller numbers.

    It’s hard not to think that Lewis has more potential than he’s shown in these last three years, but he’s not fulfilling it. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on versus Rosberg; I’d claim he was performing to the level of his team-mate, but that’s only truly for Button and Alonso – he absolutely thrashed Kovalainen.

    1. Actually it’s pretty clear that Hamilton would have had close to 100 points more than button this season were it not for team f ups.

    2. Interesting though that the more spectacular driver (argued sometimes to be the better driver) tends to lose out in the end, not taken time to look in detail at the reasons why in each of those cases.

    3. my maths has prost at 186 and senna at 154.

      on points they scored, rather than top 11 results thing we had at the time.

      if all points scored counted back then(like it does today) Prost was comfortably the superior of the 2.

  7. Awesome graph. :D

    I think what we can take from this, isn’t that Button is great, it’s that Lewis has let himself down. He should be ahead, he has the raw driving talent to be ahead and I don’t think he has any excuses why he isn’t.

    1. Why should it be that? For some reason it seems really hard for people to accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, Button is actually a great driver.

      Personally I think Button is just a bit more sensitive to car setup, and that Hamilton is better in a car which isn’t quite perfect. But on the other hand, I feel Button tends to stay out of trouble a bit more than Hamilton does. So it evens out.

      I must say I expected Hamilton to destroy Button as well, and kudos to Button for showing me, and pretty much everyone, wrong.

      1. You would never have seen the horrendous run of races Button had earlier this season from Hamilton, where Button was downright slow for a number of grand prix in a row. Even when Hamilton was struggling last year he was always fast, he just kept tripping himself up by getting involved in unnecessary accidents.

        1. And in the end it’s all about results and scoring points. And on that matter, Hamilton only outscored Button by 5 points so far… And that’s even with the new point system too.

          Perhaps Hamilton is quicker in the races, but that doesn’t get you far if you don’t finish. Each of them are strong in different areas, and it pretty much evens out.

      2. For some reason it seems really hard for people to accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, Button is actually a great driver

        Most of us have watched him race his over the past 12 seasons .. so I guess we have enough reason to think he isn’t anything great.

  8. Personally I think the gap is much larger than the points difference indicates and think that Lewis has been more impressive than Jenson. If you exclude all of the out of car behaviour and look at each weekend allocated points and added them up and compared them I think it would be significantly in Lewis’s favour. I think Jenson has done a decent job but too many of his good results have come in mixed conditions (and there is a skill to exploiting that) but also a random element. If you look a “normal/dry” race conditions Lewis is well on top particularly if you look at where they were running at the time either of them had incidents. The gap is even bigger in “normal/dry” qualifying.

    In 2010 in a car that was long way from being the best Lewis was at least within 25 points of the championship going into the last race, Jenson was the first one of the big 5 out of the championship battle.

    In 2011 yes Jenson finished ahead but let’s be honest that championships was over in Valencia so coming second 400 points behind the winner in my opinion does not count for much. Yes Lewis let that frustration get the better of him and started crashing into everyone and he deserves a black mark for that but it made no difference whatsoever to the world championship.

    In 2012 I think the gap is the biggest it has ever been look at the Spain through to Hungry and the gap has been “Massa-esq” for several weekends and again who was the first of the five out of the championship running……..

    Ignore all the other crxp focus on the time in the car in normal conditions when the title has been a possibility and Lewis has comfortably been better.

    1. Yes comparing points each have earned may explain one thing, but not that much. It’s interesting that kinda early successful achiever with huge talent tends to deviate or distract away soon after the success made. And think we saw a lot of childish or arrogant and sometimes self oriented behavior all of which is typical phenomenon for those case. Then comes the gap between what he thought he was and the reality mostly from his own naive attitude or lack of concentration. Then comes the recognition and need to re-focus, regain, re-work etc.
      I reckon he is passing thru the last phase of these learning process, not just simply faster vs. consistent kind of virtue. If he really find way to keep his motivation high and keep hard working, he may return with way more stronger form and I bet he will partly ’cause I know this kind of people.

    2. +1 If you were going to put your hard earned money on either driver to win the next race you would always put your money on Hamilton to win and anyone who says different is kidding themselves its as simple has that. Look back at your Pick the Pole and Podium predictions and you Button fans will find you chose Hamilton to to beat button everytime .

  9. Those are very interesting graphs. the gradients really show the drivers form/issues.
    final Points are important yes but i also think that dominance is as much, if not more telling about the quality of a driver.
    I like Button but he s only been ahead 15 races out of 54 so about a quarter.
    So it s clear that Ham has dominated their Mclaren years even if at the end he might get less points.

    1. Yes I aegree on you butstill Jason Button beast driver of too. manee times teem made losted for Hamiltron so any way I aegree on yu ben

      1. gotta love the spell check :)

        1. Who is Jason :P

  10. Tom Haxley (@)
    18th October 2012, 12:54

    I think it shows that they are a decent combination. If Mcl could have sorted out operational mistakes and pitstops the pair of them should have been having 1-2’s all over the place. Button always seems to be fighting the car and Hamilton the pit screw mistakes and other drivers..

    I think Hamilton is the faster driver, but Button is more consistent. As with every sport, when those two things come together its unstoppable (Vettel, Tiger Woods, Federer etc etc).

    1. I no aegree on you Tom. Jason Button not more consisstant he retire manee times to year but team also made losted for some of Button and Hamilton retireman.

      1. lol. Jason Button… retireman… hilarious.

  11. It has been very interesting and also eye-opening to follow the partnership. When Jenson got the seat I was ready to swear that Lewis would – maybe not crush him – but at least be the clear leader of the two.

    I still believe Lewis is the faster driver, better qualifier and much better at advancing through the field but even though he is now a very experienced pilot there is no way around the fact that he is still immature and reacting much more on emotions than his knowledge and experience. This is precisely what pulls his total output back down to the level of Jenson; who in my opinion possesses less raw talent and speed but manages his skills much more successfully.

    In terms of driving style it is not hard to draw parallels to Senna and Prost but today I don’t see either of these younger comparisons achieving the status of the old legends. Where Prost was had immense attention to detail and kept optimizing his tactics while fighting along, Button seems to get rather confused and insecure when things are not working to his advantage. Senna always worked rigorously to obtain as much understanding as he possible could, but while he showed lots of aggression and emotion he never let it interfere with his exceptional concentration.

    The bottom line in both cases is that both approaches seem to work out to somewhat equal results, which has been eye-opening to me even though I followed the legends back then as well. The one fact that it doesn’t change is that drivers like Ayrton and Lewis are much more exiting to watch simply because they drive much closer to the limit, which in return causes more errors from which the slower and more laid back drivers will benefit.

    Though Lewis has improved a lot since his terrible 2011 effort he is still his own worst enemy. Jenson on the other hand is in my opinion pretty consistent in the lower half of the top ten best drivers of today.

    1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
      18th October 2012, 13:28

      Completely agree. Your assessments of the two McLaren drivers are just spot-on.

    2. he is still his own worst enemy.

      I think this is spot on. If it does apply to every human being, it can’t be more true to Hammy’s case than anybody else in the grid du jour.
      It can be said his better form this year is a direct result of his bad self destructing year of 2011, even though this time around team issues or other tech glitches ruined his races. But this year also can be read as positive in the sense that those adversities can make him stronger than ever unless he succumb to them.

      1. They are different people with different approach to how they function in F1 BUT Jenson has a massive advantage, he has more years of experience of life and racing.
        Of course Lewis cannot be as mature. And i think that might be on of the reason why he wanted to change team. To gain experience and become a more rounded driver that he needs to be if he wants to win championships against the many incredible drivers of this era.

  12. Both of them did a great job. in 2010 hamilton beat button 2011 button beat hamilton.now lets see who ‘s gonna win

  13. Keith, in the DNF list, haven’t you omitted this year’s European GP for Lewis (the collision with Pastor)? Was he classified then?

    1. @sebsronnie No I left it out because it wasn’t a technical failure – likewise the other retirements due to collisions such as Hamilton in Belgium last year. Also, as you say, he was classified, in 19th.

      1. I think you should also add the retirements due to collisions. X number of points out of Y possible number of points (i.e after ALL retirements) makes for a better comparison. e.g 250/300 is more impressive than 300/400

        1. That would be very hard to decide. For example, the Maldonado Crash could’ve been easily avoided by Lewis while Button couldn’t do anything about Vettel taking him out in Spa 2010.

  14. If anything Hamilton has gone down in my estimations as one of the best, The true greats in F1 are the more complete drivers that have speed, consistency, media skills & race craft, a driver lacking any of these can flounder. Being the fastest is not the be all and end all of any kind of racing, I have hoped that hamilton would gain more experience and become a great, but to a lesser extent this season has been tarnished by ill conceived twitter spats and contract negotiations…its seems any kind of distraction can take away from the resources Hamilton has on track. A weakness, I believe. How he deals with the pressure at Mercedes next year will either make or break him – I for one cannot wait to see what happens.
    Mclarens performance – has been the major problem for both drivers pretty much in equal measure, for a top line team they make way too many mistakes and reliability has been up and down compared to their rivals.

  15. What I think a lot of people don’t really appreciate is that there is far more to being a racing driver than just being quick around a lap of a track. This is what people talk about when they say that the likes of Alonso are ‘complete’ drivers – they have the raw pace over a single lap, but they also have that harder to define quality of being able to keep up consistency even when things aren’t going well. It’s those odd few extra points picked up on ‘bad days at the office’ that really make all the difference. This is the area where Button is very good. He’s a very solid performer and while on the very best days he’s generally the slower of the two drivers, I’d say that on a bad day it’s Jenson who is able to better maximise the performance while often Hamilton starts to unravel slightly.

    I’d put this down to Button having spent so many years in very poor cars. During those bad years he’ll have learned essential skills in helping keep himself motivated even when the rewards for pushing may seem quite insignificant in the scheme of things. By contrast, Hamilton has spent virtually his whole career driving top quality machinery, all the way back to his karting days, and so has never really picked up these skills. He’s never had to. But it’s one thing he should definitely try to add to his bag of tricks because it would make him a much more comprehensive driver and give him a far better chance of winning multiple championships in the future. Maybe this is part of his motivation in going into a slightly underperforming team.

    1. I feel that there’s a lot of truth in that @mazdachris, though with a few caveats. Hamilton’s showing in the last few races, almost comically tragic in some ways (and in a way for much of the season, with the pit stop etc. problems), was impressive, and was quite clearly getting everything out of a misbehaving car/situation (though he initially seemed to react moody and erratic before getting his act together and making the most of it); while Button wasn’t able to get much out of the car after the first races and until the Germany update. But Button is much better able to be patient, and that certainly is learned through (self-inflicted) years in disappointing cars. Let’s see what Hamilton learns at Mercedes :p

    2. I don’t think Jenson is actually that good on bad days at the office. He is more resilient than Lewis in the sense that he wouldn’t have let his personal life interfere with his racing, I believe, but in my opinion he is nowhere near Alonso or Vettel in terms of picking up points on difficult days. First of all, you have to be a decisive overtaker to quickly make your way through traffic in case you’ve fallen back, and I’ve seen Jenson getting stuck too often too quickly (most recently in Hungary this year, where on newer tyres he couldn’t get by Bruno Senna). Second, if ‘the day is bad’ because of an unbalanced car, then Jenson cannot do much with it.

      Last year was the absolute high of Jenson’s career, together with the first half of 2009. In the second part of 2011, his car was always to his liking, and overtaking was easier than ever before with KERS, (too much) DRS, and huge performance differences between old and new tyres (much more than this year, I feel). This meant that any ‘hesitancy’ in overtaking was overcome by being able to overtake intelligently, and he could work his way through the field as in Spa 2011.

      1. @adrianmorse – Not sure if 2011 was the absolute high of Jenson – well, think it WAS relative high though :P. But it sounds true that Jenson got a lot of benefit to his like with new things and rule changes as well as tyre changes to Pirelli, all of which also benefited RB and Vettel to dominate.

        1. And adding one more, also not sure if Jenson is even ‘good’, not ‘that good’, on bad days. My take is he’s been mediocre unless everything is perfect to him – that may be the reason we hear so many times about grip and balance, leaving the tyre preserving ability as his key competence.

  16. Hamilton should have much more points than Button, but he lost a lot with mistakes and also suffered more mechanical failures and bad strategy from his team. Furthermore Button is very intelligent, like a Prost, and that also meant he challenged Hamilton much more than we could expect.

  17. Very insightful article, Button has proven himself to be a strong driver.

    Would be great to complement this with comparison of points lost due to non-driver factors (pit stop errors, failure, strategy blunders) between the two, and indeed the whole grid.

    Id put a lot of money on Hamilton being unluckiest driver over 3 years by a distance. Pretty crazy that the best driver in one of best cars can be off the pace despite only making one significant error all season that I can recall.

    1. *off the pace in the championship I meant…

    2. Though we do have to remember @switchbacker that operational errors (though mostly slow pitstops and weird strategy, some missed wheels featured too last year didn’t they?) were the reason McLaren got Sam Michael – not everyone’s choice, but they did need to fix those. And I think the mistakes were in previous years more clear on Buttons car (Monaco side-pod blocked, silverstone wheel left off …).

      Hamilton more often suffered from odd, or unrealistic, strategies, which points to a problem between him and the team in sorting that out. Button has at times “lucked around” those, or been too slow to show up the problem (though Hungary …).

  18. Both Button and Hamilton had been let down by McLaren’s unreliability in equal measure it has to be said. We all know McLaren has no problems producing a fast car (even though it might not be the class of the field in a particular season; it’s enough to pose a serious threat at the front end and score wins).

    In the last 10 years, it has problems producing a fast AND reliable car though. A team of McLaren’s resources with only 1 driver’s and 0 constructor’s title in the last 10 years needs to do some soul-searching over the dismal title drought. I think that’s why Lewis got fed up (and likewise Kimi earlier on) with always having a title challenge undermined by unreliability. Jenson will feel the same if the trend carries on in 2013.

    Lewis has had his tantrums and might strike some fans as immature but you can’t argue against his raw pace and natural talent and over the course of 3 years, he was definitely the faster of the 2 drivers at McLaren.

    It will be interesting to see the Lewis vs Nico battle. Is Nico up there with there with Lewis in terms of raw speed? As for Jenson vs Sergio, not sure how to call on that. It could go the same way as David vs Kimi in 2002 where David was outranked in qualifying but scored heavily compared to his new inexperience team-mate.

    1. The greatest weakness that Button has perhaps is that if the car is not set up to his liking, he completely falls off the cliff as we saw in Canada this year when he was lapped by Hamilton. Whereas the likes of Raikkonen, Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel can drive around the same problem and still deliver a competitive finish.

      I like Button as a driver and you can count on him to deliver some top-drawer glorious moments that have fans on the edge of their seats like Canada last year. The walloping he gave an out-of-sorts Lewis last year was i feel, a more majestic effort than even his 2009 season in comparison. He will retire in future with a F1 career to be proud of. He is however close but maybe just not close enough to be part of the stratosphere that the likes of Alonso reside in. If you put Button in the F2012, he won’t disgrace the car and he would definitely outpace Massa but he probably won’t wring as much out of the car as Alonso – which is what the super-elite drivers will do.

      Put it this way, if a poll were to be done now on which current drivers would squeeze in into a revised list of all-time top 20 F1 drivers, Jenson’s name probably won’t figure in the discussion as prominently as super-elite drivers like Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen and of coz, MSC.

  19. And when did Hamilton beat Alonso?, when was this again?5 second place vs 3 second place, not realy beating someone…
    Button had just as many mistakes on his side of the garage (like 2010, Monaco engine cover, silverstone, tyre change, etc)
    so, after 54 races, we can say they pretty much neck and neck, even though Button lacks the ultimate pace, but he is still pretty good, and consistency is VERY important in F1. If it weren’t for the mysterious 2012 mid season slump of Button, he would be ahead, but maybe we can say the same last year about Hamilton’s mid season (massa run-ins).

    1. The mysterious 2012 mid season slump of Button is no longer a mystery: he simply took a lot of time to cope with the best way to warm his tyres in a single lap, given the very short performance window of this year’s tyres. It happened the same to Bruno Senna, a driver with a similarly smooth driving style. In some races they also had problems, particularly in Canada, where they didn’t manage to conserve their tyres to be competitive and Button finished a lap behind his winning team mate.
      Button’s luck is that he has the full support of a top team and much more experience than Senna, who still has the problem of losing FP1 almost everywhere.

      The real mystery is why were they both competitive enough until Bahrein, when they started suffering more in comparison with their team mates.

      1. Completely agree with all of this!! Most punters watching on television have NO CLUE about how much the tyres effect different driving styles, and how it varies from circuit to circuit. Button reminds me of prost, when the car is good, and too his liking, (which isnt very often) he is unbeatable(canada 11, australia 12,spa 12, the first 6 races of 09)
        And considering how much time Bruno has lost this year to Bottas(who maybe quick on one lap by himself, but his lower formula racecraft was awful) and how well Bruno has raced in comparison to Pastor, it is a no-brainer that Williams should keep him next year. He is clearly very talented(despite what a lot of the normal poster think on this site) but hasnt been given a fair crack at the whip

  20. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    18th October 2012, 14:49

    The Hamilton v Button comparison reminds me of another McLaren pairing that varied in their comparative success in the same way. When Raikkonen and Montoya were paired, generally if the car was good Raikkonen was faster. When the car was not so good is was Montoya.
    They also remind me another famous McLaren paring, that of Senna and Prost. Whilst their comparative performance was also governed by the cars handling, albeit to a lesser degree the main similarity is that Senna wore his heart on his sleeve like Hamiltion and Prost was much more political and savy like Button.
    If Hamilton and Button had continued as teams mates beyond this season and learned each others relative strengths, then both they and McLaren would have reaped the benefits.

  21. Button certainly has done a good move with leaving Brawn and going for McLaren. He did impress and build on the success from winning. But I think Hamilton did more damage to his own campaigns by panicking and losing his way than by not learning what made Button win over him last year.

  22. Hamilton would be far ahead if wasn’t by his problems. In that, you can count mechanical failures, accidents, and other things. The points total don’t say a lot for me, at least on this case. Hamilton is undoubtedly a better driver, and i’m sure Mclaren will miss him. And I’m not saying but isn’t a great driver (obviously he is) just that he is not in the top 3 driver list.

    Keith in 2010 on the Spanish grand prix Hamilton had a tyre failure when he was in second, 2 to laps to the end. He lost 18 points on that one, and fot those who loves numbers, that would had give him the title.

    1. @edmarques The 2010 Spanish Grand Prix is mentioned in the article.

    2. Haha now i saw it the note about the Spanish Grand Prix.

    3. You can say even more for Vettel though, guaranteed 25 gone in Korea, 25 in Australia, 13 in Bahrain and they’re just the ones that immediately spring to mind, there are probably more.

      1. Yes, he had problems in another race at least.

  23. Considering the fact that Button came to the Hamilton’s team in 2010 it is quite a good score of his abilities.
    He had to learn so many things about the team and adjust his driving to Hamilton’s liking.
    For me he has been better of the two. Maybe Hamilton has the edge in quali but Sunday’s matter the most. Also when Button gets the setup right, he is quite remarkable in quali as well.

  24. a lot of blabla going on, it’s very simple, who would you hire if you had an F1 team? For me , Hamilton.

    1. Lol! Then I would forget these two and hire Kimi for sure! Just as fast, super consistent, zero diva-BS and much funnier interviews! :-)

      1. Mate stop kidding, he can’t even beat grosjean on pure speed….

        1. Yes he can.

  25. I feel the current set of rules has slightly favoured Button’s strengths over the last 3 years, and has closed things up a bit. Hamilton struggled with the tyres in early 2010 whilst it suited button, and drs has taken the skill out of overtaking and reduced the penalty for a bad qualifying.

    1. I totally agree, if we had the 2008-spec rules hamilton would do the same to button that he did to kovalainen…its just a shame now that F1 is all about mamanging the car and not driving it fast!!

      1. I rate button much higher than Kovalainen so not entirely sure about that but the margin would be greater. Since mclaren have rarely had the pace to be on the front row these last 3 years Button’s lack of qualifying pace would have been a much bigger problem w/o DRS. Kobayashi has also suffered from the DRS as one of his main and unique strengths was overtaking, which is less important these days.

  26. From the comments I’ve read so far there seems to be a general consensus that Lewis is the quickest of the two, but is not a “complete” driver, not consistent etc.

    However, I think this is because a lot of people are a little too stuck on the second 3/4 s of the 2011 season. If you look at 2010 and 2012 I can only think of 1 driving error from Lewis which was his move on Massa in Monza. That’s pretty impressive consistency if you ask me, in fact it’s probably less than any other driver (I may have forgotten 1 or 2, but that probably means they weren’t particularly significant). Ok, he’s made the odd wrong call on strategy (china 2010) or set-up (spa 2012) but in terms of consistent drivers, I’d say in 2010 and 2012 he’s been even better than Alonso.

  27. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    18th October 2012, 16:54

    Please somebody reminds me the number of victories they had in these McLaren years (I mean don’t include Jenson’s Brawn or that one-hit-wonder Button had with Honda)

    1. William Brierty
      18th October 2012, 18:31

      Hamilton – 9 wins, 7 poles, so far…
      Button – 7 wins, 1 pole, so far…
      Hamilton/Button era – 16 wins, 8 poles, so far…


      Vettel in same period – 20 wins, 29 poles

      1. But … RB a significantly better car for at 75% of the time.

        1. But, Mclaren have usually been > Ferrari, yet Alonso has equal wins to Hamilton (and more than Button).

          Alonso and Vettel have the best results for their cars over the last 3 years IMO.

          1. But, Ferrari and Red Bull are considerably more competent … We could go on and on, but my point is that merely looking at numbers in a specific way doesn’t tell the whole story.

  28. I think neither driver has been anywhere consistent enough to be honest!

  29. What about where Hamilton was given the 24 place penalty in this years Spanish GP?

  30. William Brierty
    18th October 2012, 18:24

    This is perhaps one of the greatest pub debate topics ever, but unfortunately it is a short debate. I think we all foresaw Hamilton having the upper hand back in 2010, but happily, its been much closer than we initially imagined. However, saying that, I think it is also valid to say most of the time Button has beaten Hamilton, Hamilton has had some kind of hiccup that weekend, whether it be setup, technical issues, a mistake or that lack of focus that sometimes mists around Hamilton. In a fair qualifying, Hamilton’s ballistic one-lap pace has Button beaten by 2/10th normally, and although it is closer in the race, Hamilton can generally keep Button under control.

    1. I also think Button’s dips in form have been a lot more ‘clear cut’, and kept in the space of a few races, like earlier this year. Hamilton tends to be more win, retire, win, crash etc…Not that either is a good thing, to be honest!

  31. At the end of the day why are you all making excuses Lewis this Lewis that ,he could of this or won that .The plain fact is that so far he is only 5 points in front of Jenson. We could go the other way and say well Kamui took out Jenson , he had a hydraulics fault .Get over it people , the difference is 5 points

    1. Just looking at pure numbers is a fools game, and people usually only do it to hide or promote other agenda’s.

      1. Well…
        I’d say that after 54 races the luck factor doesn’t really make a difference.
        10 races ? OK
        But 3 years ? It cancels itself out of the equation. Really.

        At the very moment you start to put an “if things had turned out differently, then…” in the mix, you start to loose objectivity.

        We can’t conclude much from these stats, apart from:
        LH is much much better over 1 lap, no doubt about it.
        Over the course of 3 seasons however, he hasn’t been able to “thrash” JB as he was expected to.

        1. Just saying luck equals itself out over 3 years without basing it on any facts is a very blinkered outlook. A simple look at the facts shows that Hamilton has had the lions share of the bad luck, especially this season.

          1. It’s not just the amount of failures either, whats important is how much each failure cost the respective driver.

            Hamiltons wheel failing while in 2nd place with 2 laps to go in Spain is not the same as Jenson retiring from 8th at the start in Monaco

        2. well said gwenouille

  32. I think overall Jenson Button has exceeded expectations since he went to McLaren two and a half years ago. It would be nice for Hamilton to go out ‘on a high’ but recent races pose a question. How will Button fare in 2013 when he is team leader at McLaren? How much will McLaren miss the performances of Lewis Hamilton as we saw recently in South Korea? That is what I find interesting.

  33. There seems to be some debate as to whether the bad luck has evened out over the past three years or not, so I thought I’d do a points-swing comparison between Hamilton and Button, of the incidents I remember. I include here also racing incidents where Hamilton and Button were not at fault.

    Barcelona: Hamilton lost 20 points to Button (minus 18 for HAM, plus 2 for BUT = 20)
    Monaco: Button retired with an overheating engine, but he wouldn’t have scored that day anyway (0)
    Hungary: Hamilton retired from fourth, Button finished 8 (14)
    Spa: Button gets taken out by Vettel while running 2nd, Hamilton already ahead (-18)
    Japan: Gearbox penalty for Hamilton (plus malfunction in the race); HAM qualified 3rd, so let’s say P3 for HAM, P5 for BUT (7)
    Overall in 2010, Hamilton lost 23 points to Button.

    Britain: Button’s wheel fell off after his final pit stop while behind HAM and MAS, but given his newer tyres, and Hamilton’s struggles with them, it’s reasonable to assume that Button would have caught both of them on newer tyres (-14)
    Germany: Button would have finished fourth without his hydraulics problems, possibly (-12)
    Brazil: Hamilton retired from 6th, though it is hard to tell how much his box problems affected him prior to that (8)
    Over 2011, Button lost 18 points to Hamilton

    China: Without his grid penalty, Hamilton would have stayed ahead of Button, so P2 and P3 reversed (if they would have caught Rosberg, Hamilton would have caught him first) (5)
    Bahrain: Button retired, Hamilton had two botched pit stops. Without problems, they would have finished 5 and 7, rather than 8 (0)
    Spain: Hamilton lost his pole position. Difficult to say what he could have done from pole, but a podium seems the least (15)
    Valencia: Hamilton was put out bu Maldonado, but where would he have finished? Let’s say 6 behind MAL, MSC, WEB (8 + 2 = 10)
    Germany: Hamilton’s puncture cost him a good points-scoring finish, let’s say P5 (10)
    Belgium: Hamilton taken out by Grosjean; he started 7th, so let’s say he finished there (6)
    Italy: Button retires from P2, (-18)
    Singapore: Hamilton retires from the lead (28)
    Japan: very difficult to say where both would have ended up without their problems, especially as Hamilton’s problems began on Saturday
    Korea: the same. Without any problems, Hamilton would probably have been ahead, though impossible to tell by how much.
    Over 2012: 56 points lost to Hamilton
    2010 – 2012: 61 points lost to Hamilton

    I hope I haven’t made any glaring oversights, I’m typing this in a hurry.

    1. Hamilton wouldn’t have even been fighting with MAL if mclaren hadn’t screwed his stop up (valencia 2012). I’d argue he was good for a win or podium before that

      1. You could start a whole website on the IF’s there’s been in F1 over the years. For example, IF a driver always started on pole, he’d be unlikely to be involved in overtaking accidents. Or another one, IF Hamilton had gone a bit wider at that corner in Valencia with Maldonado, he may have got a podium position, of IF he’d let Maldonado through, as Alonso would probably have done in that situation, he’d have scored some points instead of a DNF.

        1. I refuse to believe for a second that Alonso would ever just let another driver through when it was possible to defend from them (in Canada it wasn’t)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  36. MrLovaLova

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Jason

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Just my tuppence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Also things like longest stints on tyres….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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