- McLaren news
Button - 'We all want to beat our team-mate'
As the dust settled on the Indian Grand Prix, the post-race attitude of McLaren's two world champions spoke volumes as to their current states of mind. After a brief chat for TV, Lewis Hamilton headed straight to the airport, reflecting on another forgettable weekend. Jenson Button, after his sixth podium in seven grands prix, laughed and joked with the media into the evening.
However, for the first time, Button admitted he was enjoying his dominance over his team-mate. When he joined McLaren at the start of 2010 it was widely believed he would wilt in the shadow of Hamilton and that he was recruited as a definite No.2 to the 2008 champion. But over the last two season Button has impressed everyone with his on and off track performances while Hamilton has seemingly lost his way.
As has happened most weeks, Button's discussions with the media inevitably turned to his team-mate. But when asked to analyse where things went wrong for Hamilton in India, Button fired back: "I don't give a f***."
It wasn't a angry response, just one which highlighted frustration that Hamilton's problems were overshadowing McLaren - and Button's - resurgence.
"If you have someone like Lewis, who is bloody quick, it means a lot when you can finish in front of him, yes," Button said. "He is also another world champion, so he is no slouch.
"We all want to beat our team-mate, whatever we say. That's the way it is. We have the same equipment. It is a real challenge to beat him, but that is the challenge I wanted when I came here. I wanted to find out where I really stand compared to Lewis. I have had better races than Lewis in the second half of the season, but he has had phenomenal races when I have not been able to touch him.
"Lewis will be strong next year. Sometimes you wish he wasn't that quick but it is competitive. He will definitely be there next year, no doubt, and we will have good fights and you will have two Brits fighting it out for the championship."
Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren boss, admitted Hamilton's loss of form was not helped by his being repeatedly bettered by Button. "If you are honest, the first driver you want to beat is your team-mate," he said. "Lewis is the great exciting driver he is, but he will not like being beaten by anyone. Least of all by Jenson."
Button's performances have not gone unnoticed with one outsider, however, with Flavio Briatore - the team principal who fired Button from Renault - admitting his previous opinion of him was incorrect.
"I was quite wrong about the English driver," Briatore told La Politica nel Pallone. "He has been the real surprise this year. He worked for us and I would never have guessed he was so good."