Jenson Button Asks McLaren to Extend His Contract After His Spa Performance

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIAugust 30, 2011

SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM - AUGUST 28:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren drives during the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of Spa Francorchamps on August 28, 2011 in Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Lars Baron/Getty Images

The Metro has reported today that McLaren driver Jenson Button has demanded a contract renewal from the team. Such a request is founded on the confirmation of Red Bull, Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton's drives for the 2012 campaign. 

It has been a topsy-turvy career for Jenson, but I can't help but feel that he is now driving at his peak. Whether this is a good thing depends upon your expectations of the driver.

On the one hand, you have to question whether he can be a world champion again. Unless he finds himself in a similar position to that which he had at Brawn, you could deem this prospect unlikely. 

Red Bull and Ferrari will not allow themselves to be defeated so easily again. More importantly when your team mate is Lewis Hamilton, and not Rubens Barrichello, the threat possessed from within your own team will ensure you won't have that potential dominance. 

Yet, on the other hand, Jenson is now proving himself. He is showing consistency and level of aggression that is not only a massive improvement from last season, but also looks to be a career-defining campaign against the back drop of years of mediocrity. 

When he decided to switch to McLaren the expectation was set that he would be driver number two for the team. I have to admit that he excelled in this role to the point where he challenged Hamilton's status as lead driver. 

He couldn't beat his teammate over a whole season last year but this time he can. He has found his foot hold within the team and he is out to win. 

With his two victories in variable weather conditions you could be thinking he was a one trick pony. Yet his 13th to 3rd revelation at Spa further highlighted his growing ability to achieve. 

If you had said to anyone in March that Jenson Button would hold the record for the most overtakes this far into the season you would have received some perplexed responses. 

The nice guy of Formula 1 was never known for his aggressive passing nature, but more so for his controlled and slick driving. He was, at one point, in danger of being a replicate of fellow Brit David Coulthard— someone who was easy to watch and would forge a respectable career, but enacted little iconic status. 

There is no denying that Jenson failed to deliver in his forgettable years at the likes of Honda, Benetton and Williams. He could not outperform a midfield paced car and was often outclassed by his more experienced teammates. 

Maybe it just took him longer to realize his full potential and to discover what dizzying heights his career could take him to. Six wins in the first seven Grand Prix with Brawn now appears as a just reward for a driver who is only now showing what he can do. 

In years to come he will never be remembered in the same respects as Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher. Yet should McLaren complete the deserved deal to keep him in the team, he can build a legacy as a driver who not only gained plaudits for his typically 'English' driving style, but also as someone who, on a regular basis, was able to compete with the world's greatest.