Button and Hamilton: A Clear Divide

James Rossi@JRMondoCorrespondent IMay 10, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 04:  McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton (L) of Great Britain and Jenson Button (R) of Great Britain walk in the paddock before the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on April 4, 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The inscrutable comparisons between Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were out in force again yesterday after a day of contrasting fortunes between the two British team mates.

Lewis Hamilton was running in a comfortable second position before a wheel rim failure pitched him off the circuit at Turn Three, whereas World Champion Jenson Button struggled all weekend and managed to salvage a fifth position.

If anything, this weekend showed the clear difference between the two drivers.

There isn't any doubt that Mclaren had brought a fast car to Spain, but Button had been complaining of troubles with his set-up and the oversteer that he is notoriously uncomfortable with.

On the other hand, aside from the stunning pace that shocked everyone up and down the paddock, Hamilton had no such complaints and was relatively competitive all weekend. 

After the race, the Frome-born World Champion appeared downcast and let his displeasure at Michael Schumacher's driving be known.

A similar incident occurred when Hamilton exited the pits side by side with Sebastian Vettel, who had to give way to the 2008 champion or risk a collision.

Compare this with Button, who similarly found himself side by side with Schumacher after his sole pitstop, yet the German was able to drive straight around the outside of him into Turn One.

All race long, Button had been up to half a second slower than his team mate, even before he found himself holed up behind Schumacher. 

It was very interesting to see these contrasts played out in front of us. Hamilton managed to break apart the Red Bull monopoly as well as set the fastest lap of the race by almost half a second, whereas Button appeared tentative in his battle with Schumacher and his overall pace was not at the standard that Hamilton set.

The younger Briton appears more able to take the initiative when the chips are down and get things done. 

In some circumstances, Button's more measured and calmer approach may bring him success, as it did in Australia and China.

However, despite being smooth, fast and consistent, he does not possess the aggressive mentality and the necessary spark of magic of his team mate and the clearest indication of this was on show yesterday.

It'll be interesting to see how these very diverse mentalities develop over the course of a full season.


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