Jenson Button vs. Lewis Hamilton: Are They Really at War?

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIJuly 8, 2010

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JUNE 27:   Second placed Lewis Hamilton (L) of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes and third placed Jenson Button (R) of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes celebrate on the podium following the European Formula One Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit on July 27, 2010, in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Anyone not familiar with the sport of Formula One would hear the furor surrounding Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at the moment and wonder when they became a married couple.

The in-fighting, the competitiveness surrounding results, and the rumoured tension between the two; if that doesn't sound like a couple well into their marriage I don't know what else does. To me the scrutiny surrounding their rivalry stems from various areas.

The Preseason Predictions

Going into the season, Hamilton looked likely to dominate. Inevitably, this did not happen and through some luck and a lot of skill it was Button who emerged victorious first.
Hamilton levelled in the number of triumphs, but in each Button had not snapping at his heels.

So you would understand that a former and credible champion like Hamilton could be upstaged and irritated by a driver whom many saw as inferior.

It left us to ponder whether Button was massively improved. Or maybe it just afforded us the opinion that Hamilton was always just a privileged driver in a quality car.

The Ex

We must also remember what happened the last time Hamilton had a teammate who was difficult to comprehend and control. With Heikki Kovalainen as a teammate, Lewis had it easy.

Yet this was after a season with Fernando Alonso where cat fights and dirty tactics became commonplace.

Alonso reacted by impeding Hamilton in the pits and making accusations about the favouritism towards Lewis by McLaren.

Both ultimately lost out, as Kimi Raikkonen stole the title and Alonso exited amongst a mass of turmoil. Hamilton and Alonso had suffered in losing some of their positive reputations.

Could history be repeating itself with the Button-Hamilton partnership?

If Sebastien Vettel or Mark Webber could capitalise on a collection of similar errors then it might well happen.

The Media Stirs

It occurred to me that maybe the media and supporters just want there to be tension. Teammates in battle lead to improved spectacles and dramatic conclusions. No one wants team orders that make the sport irrelevant and deem the partnership pointless.

Yet time and time again we see the media putting a negative slant on a rivalry. They make sure that we begin to see it as one that has the potential to become difficult.

Competitors may actually start to believe it themselves and fulfil the rumours that had previously surrounded them. Once you hear something so many times you would start to believe it.

So could the media be deliberately causing further issues within the Mclaren camp? Possibly so.

At War?

Most certainly Button seems far removed from the behaviour exerted by the likes of Alonso and Schumacher in recent times.

As a duo, Hamilton and Button appear unwilling to cause issues within the team.
Therefore, the pressure building between them, you would think, is just a wildly off the mark theory.

The only validity to the claims of tension between them was born out of the events witnessed in Turkey.

Button seized upon a cautious Hamilton and attempted to snatch a victory in the dying moments.

Hamilton remarked upon his dissatisfaction with these events as he was told by his team to conserve his car and not go full force.

Yet when compared to the disastrous collision witnessed between the two Red Bull drivers, the cheeky move by Button paled.

They instead fought for the win in such an inspiring manner. They avoided a collision and drove with the skill required to warrant a worthy reputation.

Both drivers appear level-headed as a consequence, and as such can bring a great level of control to the situation.

It may boil over as the season progresses. If Button and Hamilton emerge as the two main title contenders then they may be forced into combat. This could only lead to a separation at McLaren.

When a team stands tall together this can be halted, however, and such a battle at this moment seems optimistic from those who believe it.


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