McLaren Backs Both Drivers but Can Jenson Button Actually Beat Hamilton?

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIJuly 20, 2010

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JUNE 27:  Race winner Sebastian Vettel (C) of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium with second placed Lewis Hamilton (L) of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes and third placed Jenson Button (R) of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes following the European Formula One Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit on July 27, 2010, in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images)
Andrew Hone/Getty Images

McLaren has confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will not be favored in his bid for a second drivers title.

With Jenson close enough in points, the team feels that both drivers are permitted the opportunity to put their best foot forward. They expect Jenson Button to up his game as the show heads to Germany this weekend.

So it would seem that McLaren are preparing to let their guys fight it out for the championship despite rumored tensions within their own camp and the visible issues at the rival Red Bull team.

The more important question, however, is whether Jenson Button can actually take the fight to Lewis Hamilton?

Let's get things straight—Jenson has performed miles better than we all assumed he would. Before the season opener in Bahrain, we expected a lacklustre follow-up to his title-winning season. We thought Hamilton would surely dominate.

Sadly, he has not gained a race win in dry and normal racing conditions, but the two wins to his name meant that his six triumphs at Brawn were not to be his last.

In Turkey, Jenson then proved that Hamilton should not rest on his laurels. He showed Lewis that he, even as a teammate, will not surrender his crown lightly.

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Yet, I cant help but think that for anything Jenson does to attempt a challenge, Hamilton will just go one better.

Lewis just seems to have a bit more ability and pace beneath him.

Imagine yourself in a 100m sprint and your opponent builds an early lead. The rest of your race leaves you both finishing at a relatively equal speed. Consequentially, for the second half of this race you can push as hard as you like, but, for the most part, nothing will ever come of it.

All Button may see for the remainder of the season is the back of Hamilton's rear wing. Button's main issue is qualifying. If he does not improve his speed over one lap, then he will not enable himself with a proper challenge.  

Button did indeed drive like a superstar in Great Britain. Yet he would not have had to drive so aggressively had he managed to stick McLaren in at least a top ten position for the starting grid. Damage limitation often becomes too much of a feature in Button's career.

The full package is just not there at this moment in time. Despite drastic improvements, you feel that he still cannot be considered as Hamilton's main rival. That accolade has to go to either of the Red Bull drivers.

They are both proven race winners this season in usual racing circumstances. They have also outperformed Hamilton on various occasions.

As long as no further echoes of their Turkish collision come into fruition, Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel are the ones on whom Hamilton will keep a closer eye.

Optimistically thinking, Button can take the title to the wire with Hamilton. He can engage the audience and draw them to his challenge more often if he can produce us with glimpses of dominance over Lewis Hamilton.

Until then, he may remain a not so distant, but still inferior teammate.