Jenson Button in many peoples opinions has shot himself in the foot. In a better car he could defeat better drivers from other teams. Yet in an equal car it was not always proven to be the case.
Ralf Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella and Rubens Barrichello have all shown on occasions that Button can be comprehensively outclassed by a teammate.
That, sadly, is our resultant vision of Button, but one that is backed up with countless seasons of misadventure and an overall performance that left him lagging.
So what was he thinking when he decided to partner Lewis Hamilton at Mclaren? Does he really believe that he can defeat Hamilton purely because he had a wonder season in a Brawn car that for the most part destroyed the comparative performance of the Mclaren and all other teams?
It is a harsh reality that may be disagreed with, yet his early preseason testing is showing that Button is running a high risk of damaging his current impressive reputation if he does not equal Hamilton’s pace from the outset.
Hamilton is, after all, one of or if not the best rookie to have ever graced the sport and last year he added the essential skill of consistency to his impressive array of talents. That is of course if we forget his indescretion in Italy, but we knew that after his second half of the season Lewis was the most capable man on the track.
Button will need to reflect on this notion and use this to inspire his on track showing.
Heikki Kovalainen on the other hand has decided upon the returning Lotus team to continue his career. Away from the massive expectation that comes with driving for both Mclaren and Renault in the modern era he may seize an opportunity to suceed.
This opportunity was not one that with his statistics could be achieved at Mclaren or Renault.
His team mate Jarno Trulli is a credible partner none the less. Although not as wonderfully magnificent as Lewis Hamilton, Jarno is accompanied with consistent results and various podium finishes including a deserved solitary win in Monaco 2004.
To his detriment though, he is drawing towards the end of his illustrious career, and sadly we also know that he lacks the additional something that Hamilton possesses.
His inability to back up qualifying pace in race day conditions does not allow him to be as highly regarded as Lewis or the likes of Alonso or Raikkonen.
Yet Trulli is indeed capable of destroying Kovalainen on more occasions than not although the gap between himself and Heikki doesnt come close to the expected gap we may seen between Button and Hamilton.
We can hope that buoyed by his title winning season, Button will pull out all the stops in his defending campaign. If he does not it will not be clear where his continuing career will lead him to.
To expect him to remain at Mclaren long term if he cannot provide a respected comparison to Lewis’s pace is a naive train of thought. So the heat is well and truly on.
Kovalainen is not off the hook either. If he partakes in a fourth season of limited success he may not be given a fifth, so he will need more fire in his belly if he is to continue acquiring race seats.