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Beleaguered Button needs to get back on track

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Andrew Benson | 17:00 UK time, Sunday, 30 August 2009

Jenson Button will have left Belgium a relieved man on Sunday night after he yet again escaped from a poor weekend with minimal damage to his championship lead.

After a qualifying a quite dreadful 14th, the Englishman expected his title rivals Rubens Barrichello, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel to make up some serious ground.

Instead, Button's team-mate Barrichello - who had qualified 10 places further up the grid - clawed back only two points. The Brazilian is now 16 points behind Button with a maximum of 50 still available.

And while Vettel finished third, that served only to leapfrog him ahead of Webber into third place in the championship - still 19 points off the lead. Webber, whose hopes of a strong finish were hit by a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release from a pit stop, finished ninth, out of the points.

For Button, it could have been so much worse.

He was always going to have a retirement at some point or another this season, and it came on the first lap at Spa as he was tipped into a spin by Renault new-boy Romain Grosjean. As Button himself pointed out, if you qualify that far down, you are always more likely to get caught up in trouble.

By then, though, Button had already received some good news. Barrichello - who was starting fourth, 10 places ahead of Button - had crawled off the grid and was down to 15th by the end of the first lap. From there, he did well to score some points.

But hot on the heels of Button's relief that his rivals seem incapable of capitalising on his problems, there will nevertheless be a deep concern that the wheels are coming off his title challenge and that he appears to be able to do nothing about it.

Button's six wins in seven races at the start of the season seem a very long time ago. Spa was the fifth consecutive race in which Button failed to finish on the podium. And, with the exception of the European Grand Prix at Valencia the previous weekend, the Brawn car has been off the pace of the leaders at all of them.

It is no more than good fortune that in that time not one of Barrichello, Vettel and Webber has put together a concerted assault on his lead. Rather, they appear to still be scrapping for primacy among themselves.

Sooner or later, though, that will surely change unless Button can find his form, and right now that looks like a distant prospect.

buttongettycar595.jpgButton had his fifth poor race in a row in Belgium at the weekend

Team boss Ross Brawn said after the Belgian race that he was optimistic the cars would be quick at the next event, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza - the track demands good braking and traction, which are strong points of the Brawn car.

Whether that would necessarily mean a return to the front for Button is another matter. Brawn were on the pace in Valencia, after all, but Button finished only seventh there while Barrichello won.

The reasons for the 29-year-old's slump are complex and multi-faceted.

Prime among them, it seems, is the way the Brawn car works its tyres. It is very gentle on them, which was an advantage at some of the early-season races, but has been anything but more recently.

After winning the Turkish Grand Prix on 7 June, Button struggled in Britain and Germany where, in the cool temperatures, his car could not heat up its tyres enough to get them into their operating range, causing a catastrophic lack of grip.

Brawn were expecting things to go better in Hungary, where it was hotter, but they again suffered the same problems and by now there were the first signs that the frustration was getting to Button. "How," he was heard saying on the radio during the race, "can this car be so bad at the moment?"

After that race, Ross Brawn admitted that the team might have lost its way and promised an investigation. They arrived for the next race in Valencia hoping they had found the solution. But while the hot conditions in Spain meant they had no problems with their tyres, they have re-emerged in Spa again this weekend.

Button is affected more by this phenomenon than Barrichello because his silky driving style is easier on the tyres.

Button's failure to join his team-mate at the front in Valencia, though, was nothing to do with that. It was caused by the second of the problems afflicting him - his own mind-set.

Button himself denies he is suffering from 'title tension' but most observers would disagree. In Valencia, the man who had until then been virtually flawless made a mistake in qualifying and lined up only fifth. He was then caught up in a couple of early tangles, and was down in ninth by the end of the first lap.

Shortly after arriving at Spa on Thursday, Button had a bit of a row with the British newspaper journalists when he was interrogated about his poor run of form. The questioning was designed to provoke him, but the serene Button of earlier in the season would not have taken the bait.

Even Button's team boss intimated on Sunday that Button was feeling the pressure.

"There's a lot of pressure on drivers," Brawn said. "This is pressure he's not had before and he's got to get used to it, but he's handling it well."

The third reason for Button's backwards progress is the development rate of the other teams. Brawn started the season with an advantage of close to a second a lap over the rest of the field. If at that point it looked as if they would walk the championship, the others were always going to close the gap. The surprising thing has been how dramatically they have done so.

It is always the case that the team that starts a season with the best car can make less progress because they are closer to the ultimate potential of the rules. But usually when a team starts with that big a performance advantage, it is not closed as quickly as it has been in this case. And there are those who wonder whether that is related to the fact that Brawn, whose car has no sponsorship on it, are juggling their resources more than other teams need to.

It is well known that they have enough money to last this season - and team insiders insist they have found sponsorship for 2010, although they will not say where it is from. But that is not necessarily the same as having as much money as, say, McLaren or Red Bull.

Looking at all that, it is easy to see how Button might be feeling a bit a beleaguered. But perhaps he should take a step back for a minute and look at the reality of his situation.

Despite all his problems, Button still heads into the final five races of the season with a 16-point lead over a guy in the same car - and a 19-point lead over a man who, despite having a quicker car, has managed to close that gap by only seven points in the last four races.

That in itself should be enough to give him the tranquillity he needs to approach the denouement of the season in the right frame of mind. Looking at it like that, in fact, you could even be forgiven for thinking that it is Button's destiny to win this championship.

But Button has been around far too long to be thinking like that. He knows the championship is there to be won - and that there is a long way to go before that happens.

He also knows that if he does not get himself together sooner rather than later, the title that seemed to be his for the taking could slip through his fingers.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Please can someone tell Jenson to wear the crash helmet he started the season with. Seems to me that things started to go pear shaped when he wore his new 'push the button' helmet at Silverstone!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Poor Jenson. I hope he pulls it together soon, because even if he wins the championship he'll be derided for it unless he finishes strongly.

  • Comment number 3.

    unless i am somehow wrong?...how did button officially finish above hamilton when he crashed first and finished a few meters behind him?...yep just saw the replay and hammy passed him!

    BBC results show hamilton finished 19th and button 17th.

    if this is true then i am in the conspiracy camp as i thought it was always distance that decided the result....apart from the checkered flag :)

  • Comment number 4.

    He is wearing the helmet he started with!

    Poor guy though. He really deserves everything this season. Hope he can claw it all back.

  • Comment number 5.

    Things might not be going so well for Jenson at the moment, but they're pretty entertaining for the neutral fan. We've had six different winners in the last six races, and I'm not sure of the last time that happened, or indeed if it ever has happened before. We were pretty close to getting a new team winning today as well. Each race is utterly unpredictable (as Jonathan Legard will attest to), and it seems like the title might go right down to the wire, which is fantastic.

  • Comment number 6.

    I tried to find out what the record for the highest number of different winners in consecutive races is, and I'm pretty sure it is NINE. The record was set between May and August 1982, by Riccardo Patrese, John Watson, Nelson Piquet, Didier Pironi, Niki Lauda, René Arnoux, Patrick Tambay, Elios de Angelis and Keke Rosberg. Arnoux then broke the chain by winning again at Monza in the next race.

  • Comment number 7.

    Button's wins at the start of the season were entirely down to other teams having bad cars. Now that they have improved, Button has returned to the mediocre form and results typical of his whole career.

  • Comment number 8.

    Button was really lucky today to get away with a good lead. He'll probably win the title after today, but I still really want Rubens to win.

  • Comment number 9.

    @ aonbt1,
    The result is probably just taken from the last timing point the cars passed.
    I don't think there is any conspiracy going on, especially over classifying 17th-20th places!

  • Comment number 10.

    Fact is, if Button does take a look at where his is, it should take the pressure off because what he knows now is, all he has to do for the remaining races is make sure he drops no more than 3 points a race to Barrichello.
    Somewhere this season, it had to go wrong for Button. That was inevitable. Even Michael at his best had bad races where he didn't finish.
    It is this sheer unpredictabilty of motor racing that makes it so fascinating.
    As for this luck theory, if anyone is going to use that on Button, how about the other side of the coin. "Aren't Vettel and Barrichello lucky Button has had some bad races, otherwise he would be out of sight by now and their challenge would be over".

  • Comment number 11.

    Button was unlucky today but when you qualify so poorly, relative to your team mate in the same machinery, this is always capable of happening.

    This is a very strange season, vintage only for its unpredictability.

    I don't think any of the contenders are top quality. It lessens F1 to see these 2nd tierers stumbling towards the crown, none of them good enough to seize the moment.

    Personally I can't wait until 2010 when the cream of the driving talent once again rises to the top and the natural order is re-established.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm really starting to grow tired of this notion that Button's last 5 failures have all been down to the car and its problems with the tyre temperatures, as illustrated here again with the line "with the exception of the European Grand Prix at Valencia the previous weekend, the Brawn car has been off the pace of the leaders at all of them."

    Sure the Brawn hasn't been as dominant as in the early season races but it has not been 'off the pace of the leaders' as much as the media are making out - correct me if I'm wrong but did Rubens not qualify second at Silverstone before finishing third? Again at the Nurburgring, he qualified second and looked good for a podium but for the problem at his pit stop. In fact the only race where neither driver has been able to optimise the car was Hungary, the other four poor results for Button were his own doing because quite frankly he is not championship material.

  • Comment number 13.

    Spare a thought for Force India. They were denied greater points and glory again today and by whom?

    Raikonnen again!

    I'll bet Fisi uttered some choice words in Italian as the Finn flashed past pressing his magic button.

    He's not very 'appy I'll bet, 2nd place notwithstanding.

    P

  • Comment number 14.

    How sad that all you bloggers are on Jensons back. His driven a dog of a car for 2 seasons and has maximised the potential of the Brawn to great effect over the first 7 races this season. Everyone thought he was the new Schummi, now that the pressure has been cranked up and his had a couple of poor races you're all on his back, how very typically British, knocking a man once you've built him up!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    Who's Les Combes?

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm not sure how people can say Jenson is not championship material. He has won 6 races so far, Vettel is next in line with only 2 wins. If Bernie had got his way with the medals system Jenson would have the title wrapped up already, unless Vettel could manage to win all of the last 5 races, which seems unlikely.

    Fortunately for the sport, that isn't the case and he championship fight will continue for the rest of the season. People complain when one driver dominates the season, then people complain there is no one good enough when there are many contenders, make your minds up.

    I dearly hope Jenson regains his form and wins the title, if not it would be lovely to see Rubens win a championship. Bring on Monza!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Maybe I'm the only one, but I don't think that 6th, 5th, 7th and 7th are failures. Before today, he'd scored points in every single race this season. Yes, his results in recent races haven't been as good as at the start, but to brand top 8 finishes as failures seems very harsh. So you'll forgive me if I don't join in the let's-bash-British-sportsmen-for-every-single-performance-that's-less-than-fantastic, which seems to be a favourite hobby of many people on these blogs.

    Incidentally, Squires, last season Lewis Hamilton finished out of the points 4 times, Massa 5 times and Raikkonen 6 times. Presumably none of them were championship material either then? Also, so it was Button's fault that he was hit from behind in the Belgian Grand Prix then?

  • Comment number 18.

    Jenson Button may well be feeling the pressure of leading the Formula One World Championship, but he has a relatively good grasp of that number one spot, so he's got to get a proper grip if he's to emulate champions of the past. Which, at the start of the year, he looked fully capable of doing.

    Luckily for him, Red Bull had a less than sparkling race yet again, and Barrichello had the most dreadful start ever. Those guys must be seriously kicking themselves after letting another tantalising chance to close Button's lead down slip away.

    As exciting as this race was, and my word I really enjoyed it, it also shows how much of an interference KERS is. Had Raikkonen not had his little button to press, Force India may well have had that elusive first victory.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hear hear. Also Jenson had got up to 11th before he was knocked of the track. Rubens Was 20th after the start and finished 7th, so who knows where Jenson would have finished if he had be given the chance.

  • Comment number 20.

    Tomaths is spot on.
    Glad some people on here have sense. JB is obviously championship material, points in every race but today, and knocked out by a rookie is not his fault. Both JB and Lewis were on for points today (low points of course). Lets hope JB can get back to the front soon and shut a few people up. Lets hope it's in Monza.

  • Comment number 21.

    I currently living in the US, but I told everyone who would listen to me in UK that changing his helmet was a mistake to make @ Silverstone - he's had bad results everytime he's done it!
    I really like Jenson and I'm very proud to be British but if he was Kimi we all be saying that he's lost interest
    I still believe and I think he just needs one good result to get back on line

    Come on Jenson I really want to upset my American neighbours by waving my St Georges Cross underneath their noses - mind you they'd only think I was something to do with the red cross...

  • Comment number 22.

    cyclonetog :D

    just joking about the conspiracy,but come on hammy definitely got further down the track than button,so did someone else too!

    9th to 20th bragging rights only! :D

    and hats off to fisi :)

  • Comment number 23.

    Slightly off topic. Can someone explain to me how, right at the beginning of the race, Raikkonen can bolt down the run-off area overtaking about 5 cars, then return onto the track in a manner which almost immediately resulted in a coming together with another car ... and then just carrying on with everyone appearing to be "okay" with this ? Does KR have special dispensation to make/take his own route round a circuit ?

  • Comment number 24.

    Please can someone tell Jenson to wear the crash helmet he started the season with. Seems to me that things started to go pear shaped when he wore his new 'push the button' helmet at Silverstone!!

    hahaha took the words out of my mouth, i suffer from OCD and it drives me made to see people changing a winning habit, now i know most of you think its ridiculous and makes no difference but its driving me crazy!! I think the challenge now will come mostly from Vettel, Rubens was slightly unlucky today but if any of the other contenders are going to snatch the crown then my money would be on Vettel, anyway should be interesting especially with the wonderful Suzuka finally back!

  • Comment number 25.

    Like many good drivers when given a great car Button won races, but unlike the great drivers when the car gets difficult Button has no way of driving round the problem. He can only drive one way and that is that.

    It is this trait that is costing him points right now and if he doesn't find a way round it he faces losing the championship.

    Just for a minute put Michael in that Brawn. He would find a way to make the tyres work harder without compromising his speed and would be bringing it home 2nd, 3rd and 4th every race. That is why he has 7 world titles and Button has none. The difference between the great and the good.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    personally im not surprised hes starting to crack, who wouldnt when the entire british media is watching every move. if the media backed off and gave him some space he may be able to return to form.

    oh and despite hamilton crashing after and finishing infront of button, the results are based on the previous lap position or in this case grid position, button was ahead on the grid so he has higher position.

  • Comment number 28.

    Jenson is a brilliant smooth driver. He just needs the right conditions to optimise his lead over the others.Today I was amazed and glad that Fisichella managed to hold onto the ferrari.Fisi should have won. Button has the courage.nerve and the car to win the championship and I will put my money where my mouth is.Come on Jenson,Win the championship for us as the big mouth Scot Coulthard could never do. He did not have the killer instinct that other former world championship winners have had.

  • Comment number 29.

    Button has shown how over rated he is. He's just like Mansell, moaning about the car not right, complaining about oversteer.

    Remember Australia 2006 when JB lost the lead mainly due to losing heat during the SC periods. He was useless at keeping the tyres warm. Honda spent a month investigating the problem and found nothing wrong with the car!

    Fast forward to Germany 2009 and again he was useless and getting heat into the tyres. Rubens drove straight down the straights whereas Button weaved about like an idiot.

    Button is far too reliant on his infamous oh-so-silky-smooth driving style. He needs lessons from Alonso on how to heat up tyres.

    Tomaths - despite Button's nearest rivals not making the most of their oppurtunities, scoring in the points is arguably a failure because in that time since JB has been off the podium but apart from Hungary and without the faulty fuel rig, Rubens has been the better driver at adapting to the car.

  • Comment number 30.

    What I find interesting about this year's championship is that those drivers with the potential of winning it haven't taken the mantle.
    Without Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen in the running this year the drivers left are flapping at the prospect of winning the coveted prize - none involved of course have ever won the driver's title.
    I question whether we will actually have a worthy Champion for 2009.
    I still believe it's Button's to win but if he finishes the season in the manner so far of eaking out points will we respect him for tripping for half a season towards the winning line?
    The Red Bulls have to get their act together and fast. Webber needs to stop being over-bullish and Vettel has to somehow nurse his engines more.
    Barrichello is so frustrating to watch sometimes - why can't he work out his clutch??
    It's this lack of consistency from the main players that will hand over the title to Button instead of it being won through the intense pressure of winning races, being on top of your game, the difference in nailing the qualifiers when it matters instead of being mid-grid and in constant danger of being caught out with an accident.
    We are discovering the fine margins and percentage points between those who make it to Formula 1, those who win races in Formula 1 and, most difficult of all, those who can actually win the Formula 1 Championship. That's what makes Alonso, Hamilton (and Raikkonen -although I believe Alonso and Hamilton canceled each other out to hand it to him) Special.
    So I beg the question - are Button, Barrichello, Webber or Vettel worthy of being a Champion? are they Special?
    It's not about having the fastest car - it's getting the best out of a competitive car CONSISTENTLY.
    It's all in Button's hands - he's been fortunate that the rest have not capitalized on his slump. Now he has to turn on the style and romp away with it.To be worthy.

  • Comment number 31.

    The Curious Case of Jensen Button, he started the Season extremely fast & just gets slower & slower until................

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm British, in the last 2 years I supported Hamilton, this year its Button. Re. 'championship material', was Hamilton when he drove into a Chinese gravel trap, was Alonso when he spit his dummy out in Hungary, was Schumacher when he dove into Hill, Villeneuve, Monaco wall, Monaco Hairpin etc etc.They won, so they are!
    Fact is, there's 20 (19) of the worlds best drivers out there some will have good days (& cars) some won't. I want Jenson back on form and I want to stop reading regurgitated opinions & pot psyschology from media hacks (& bloggers) who know nowt.
    Come on Jenson. I'm shouting for you.

    PS. To the detractors of Mansell, just take a look at some old GPs for some fantastic Mansell entertainment -Just avoid the interviews at the end.

  • Comment number 33.

    32 'Comments' above, most of them ill-informed, prejudiced or simply daft.
    Thank goodness for katoom8. An almost lone voice of sense, fairness and reason.
    Jenson is, was and will be one of the best drivers of his time. In the Prost tradition, although not yet quite there with Alain.
    Fastest? Raikkonen - when he wants to be.
    Greatest? Alonso - when his mindset is straight.
    Best? Probably Jenson.
    More comments from other 'experts' will no doubt follow............
    PS He also seems to have grown up into rather a good bloke.

  • Comment number 34.

    Jenson has won 50% of all the races so far this year. By any other standards he is "dominating" the season. Vettel is the only other driver to have won more than once. Jenson needs a couple of podiums ahead of Red Bulls and Barrichello and the title must surely be his.

  • Comment number 35.

    Jenson will end up winning the championship this year. But it will still be open when the final race comes up in Brazil.

    I'm perhaps too old and cynical for F1. I find it just too convenient that this season, yet again, an early lead for one of the drivers/teams is pegged back during the second half of the season so it all comes down to the final race. Mysterious lapses of form, crashes, breakdowns and the "we were off the pace today" excuse.

    I think they're just terrified of a re-run of the season when Schumacher had it won by half-time, and they lost the TV audience for the second half of the year. Can't afford that to happen so a deal has been stitched up; Jenson will have the title but he has to let the others catch him up first. Oh, and let's have a few great performances for all the back markers so we can keep their sponsors interested for 2010.

    I don't much like what's happened to footie but at least it's a sport and a business. But F1 feels like a business pretending to be sport.

  • Comment number 36.

    aonbt1 wrote "if this is true then i am in the conspiracy camp as i thought it was always distance that decided the result....apart from the checkered flag :)"
    The result is decided on whole laps, and positions crossing the start/finish line. If two cars retire on the same lap then the positions will be decided on the order they last crossed the finish line. Lewis was behind Jenson at that point. (They have to have a fixed point - you cant have stewards coming out to the crash site to measure who landed up the furthest down the track :-) )
    In the end it doesn't matter - 17th DNF, 19th DNF what's the difference, why would the conspirators bother???

    I was more disspointed that once again we were denied Jenson vs Lewis, even if it was for lower places.

  • Comment number 37.

    A lot of getting at Jenson here...why? He won 6 of the first 7 races, finished ahead of his team mate in 2 of the next 3 and then crashed yesterday because someone ran into him. Valencia was his mistakes no doubt about that but no one is perfect. On saturday he qualified badly because he had the wrong tires on. Yeah he has had 5 bad races in a row but there have been a lot of factors there out of his control. If you take the results of the first 12 races without knowing the order in which they happened, he is doing fantastically well. As for comparisson to previous champions, the last 2 years we've seen champions winning 6 and 5 races respectively. Jenson has already matched that. Who says Hamilton is a better driver? Be fair to him, he will win this title and deserve it.

  • Comment number 38.

    katoom8 wrote "PS. To the detractors of Mansell, just take a look at some old GPs for some fantastic Mansell entertainment -Just avoid the interviews at the end."
    not sure how Mansell came into it, but I agree. He lit up the track and did what seemed impossible, but then was impossibly boring in interview. When Lewis burst in the scene in 2007 (for those who hadn't been amazed by his antics in GP2) he brought the same kind of excitement, and overtaking when everyone moaned it was impossible.
    This year has been great to watch someone who has laboured in poor cars for years finally show his true form. I'd love to see him pick up his form again and not just scrape the title.
    For me it's not who is winning, even if they are British, It's about new and exiting things happening on track, great driving by whoever, and close racing.
    PS well done Force India - if it wasn't for the KERS getting Kimi past, Fisi would have run away and hidden!
    Fisi is another driver who never reached his potential - yet. He was overshadowed by Alonso in 95, and then disappeared. Maybe there is more to come ??

  • Comment number 39.

    23 - kwikautoq - Kimi was forced out of the track and he went off to the safety area (had he continued on his usual racing line, a crash would have ensued). He did not cut any corners. Perhaps that would explain the lack of punishment?

    I hope Button or Barrichello start winning some races again. Would be a shame if the championship was won by early season races with a car that at the second half of the season is off the pace. Of course all races count as much, but it would remind me of Alonso's second championship when he and his Renault were not the fastest pack at the end of the season anymore - seemed somehow wrong that he still won it by defending an early lead rather than by consistently winning.

    Well done Fisi and Kimi (team mates in Monza?)! Who said Kimi has lost interest? He has been giving it his best all this time, just that his car has not allowed him to shine until now (and it's still not the fastest car out there!).

  • Comment number 40.

    wc5849 - so what factors, other than tyres and punted out of Spa, have been out of Button's control? In that 5 race period, Rubens - his team mate, with the same flawed tyre issues - has been the better driver.

    That is not WDC material.

    This is the same Rubens who could only beat Schumacher on the odd occassions; Alonso was beaten by Fisi twice in 2005 and twice in 2006; Hamliton was equal to Alonso in 2007 but comfortably beat Kovalainen.

    By this logic Button should be bettering Rubens by a mile but instead we've seen he's not quite the top rated/WDC driver some people claim he is.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think the biggest problem for Jenson is his own mindset, not the car. At the beginning of the season he was relieved just to be competing - he felt lucky to be there. This gave him a care-free, 'let's give it a go' attitude, which I think translated into relaxed, positive driving. Now he's actually got a chance of winning the championship, this possibility seems to be playing on his mind. He's no longer care-free, but cautious. He doesn't feel lucky anymore, only unlucky, and the 'let's give it a go' attitude has changed to a 'let's not do anything stupid' tentative approach. Jenson needs to challenge the other drivers to a game of 'catch me if you can' not 'I'll hide you seek'.

  • Comment number 42.

    Barry is my tip for the championship, It's squeezy bum time for JB!

  • Comment number 43.

    REF 33
    You'll find the "Fastest" in Spa was Luca Badoer.
    Not one driver in the current crop can be deemed "Greatest" - far too early and insulting to Champions gone by.
    The "Best" won't be Button if he carries on the way he is...
    I find criticism on the psychological issue utterly surprising.
    Most, if not all levels of competition, have ALL to do with psychology!
    and REF 38 on Alonso - He still had a competitive car (not the fastest for sure) yet KNEW how to use it do defend his lead and points tally. Button isn't defending anything at the moment, and is lucky so far that others in contention are tripping up.
    I wouldn't wish on anyone partner Alonso or Hamilton in their respective team - it's a bit like Tyson Gay joining Usain Bolt for the 100 metres. You know he's good, yet will look utterly ordinary against the best there is...that's why Fizzy fizzled out alongside Alonso (Ref 38).
    I can't say the same for Raikkonen and it's too early to say for Vettel.
    A sport where you have two in the same team yet only have one winner can only lead to one thing.Button's too cool for me - needs to say a few bruising things to Barrichello.
    As Barrichello "philosophically" said after Spa- "we love each other off the track but we hate each other while driving." Button will need to start hating more on the track if he wants to be champion.
    He's been very lucky in Spa - his points lead should have been 10/12 going into Monza, and not the 16 he has over Rubens.

  • Comment number 44.

    I do hope Button goes on to win but more and more its becoming obvious that he lacks a certain something ...... a passion, a boldness, maybe a killer instinct.

    And boy does he like a whinge.

    Maybe its just the comparison with that fella from Stevenage that makes Button look so......ordinary.

    Anyhoo I fear if Button doesn't win after having such a superior car he will be remembered primarily for his classic -

    "HOW, HOW CAN THIS CAR BE SO BAD!!"

  • Comment number 45.

    40 - has rubens really been so much better? Button beat him at Hungary and the Nurburgring and could well have done had he not been shunted off yesterday. As for things beyond Jenson's control- the car seemed to be off the pace due to tyre trouble at Silverstone and Nurburgring, the upgrade package for Hungary seemed to have made the car less quick. As I said Jenson was culpable at Valencia where he made a mistake in qualifying and another one at the start of the race and then at Spa he was on the wrong tyres in Q2. My point is simply that we really can't say this is someone choking under pressure, if he fails at Monza then we can think again.

    When Rubens and Schumi were together the team were favouring Schumi. Is it any surprise then that Rubens only beat him occasionally? Apart from that Jenson has beaten Rubens 9 times out of 12 this year. My point about comparissons to other drivers was that Jenson's form so far this year is better than that of the previous 2 world champions.

  • Comment number 46.

    Fansincetheeighties

    thanks for clearing that,someone else also mentioned about crossing the line,as i said before,i thought final position was down to distance completed.

    also why was kimi not investigated after the race?

  • Comment number 47.

    40 - wc5849

    Rubens had the same tyre issues also

    Rubens beat Button in Silverstone.

    Rubens was better than Button at Nurburgring. Rubens lost out due to bad luck via a faulty fuel rig.

    Button beat Rubens in Hungary, fair enough.

    Rubens won in Valencia, where was Button?

    Button was crying like a baby all weekend due to car balance issues whereas Rubens did less crying.

    Tell who's the better driver between Button and Rubens in that time period?

  • Comment number 48.

    What irritates me is the way Finns seem incapable of showing emotion - Raikkonen is invariably so po-faced a la Andy Murray, and Hakkinen was just the same. It really spoils the after-race proceedings when the guys finishing 2nd and 3rd seem so much happier than the bloke on the top step.

    I thought Fisi "made a point" of saying he was disappointed to finish 2nd in the press conference - he seemed very happy in parc ferme and on the podium! He knows he could have done a much better job of the re-start after the safety car, but once he found himself second he was never going to take a risk to pass Raikkonen, A) to make 100% sure that Force India would get a first podium and B) because the car in front is the sister car of the one he hopes to drive at Monza!

    Button's problems are 80% mental - unlike Lewis (who got incredibly stressed anyway towards the end of last year!) he knows that this year is almost certainly the only chance he'll ever get to take the title.

  • Comment number 49.

    So 'Button's problems are 80% mental', tell me Sigmund et al what other gems of F1 psychology have you all?
    I thought F1 was a sport (& business), didn't realise it was spot the driver with the Oedipus complex...
    Any driver that wins a race is great. Drivers that win all the time (Schumacher) engineer a position where they're in the best car and get the best treatment at the expense of their team mates. If not, their team mates get the better of them now and again, and they have off days and great days (where did yesterday come from Fisi?)

    PS. Is it just me or is Eddie Jordan 80% mental... in an annoying way.

  • Comment number 50.

    48 - grimble22350- What irritates me is people like you. I think it's super cool that Kimi is so stoic both in victory and in defeat. A bit like other Finns as you pointed out. Why should we (I'm a Finn too) be like everybody else? Mind you, I'm not saying all other nations and nationalities are the same. I'd like to see a Japanese driver win a GP - perhaps they would just bow like sumo wrestlers and thus avoid showing disrespect for the defeated. Let us be different and enjoy the differences!

    46 - aonbt1 - Perhaps Kimi wasn't investigated because it's not against the rules to avoid an accident by going off to the safety area? Another thing would be to cut corners and gain advantage by doing so. Just a thought - I don't have a rule book to double check this, but seems relatively straight forward to me.

  • Comment number 51.

    Ref post 43.
    I thought it was evident that the fastest, greatest etc. referred to this year's crop.
    Ye Gods, not one driver currently competing or anyone who has competed in the last 12 years would be in the top three of any of those categories - sorry Schumi fans!
    JB will win, will deserve to win and will be an exceptionally good and promotable World Champion.

  • Comment number 52.

    It is obvious to me that Jenson needs to chill out back in Frome.Have a drink with the locals sit in a dark room with headphones on listening to some ColdPlay.Afterall what can he do Ross Brawn if anybody can he can sort out the car.Perhaps at night he does have to kick himself am I really leading the World Championship will I really follow in the footsteps of Hunt Mansell Hill Stewart and Hamilton Blimey I would have trouble sleeping thinking like that!Lets face the facts what does Jenson do best answer drive F1 cars.It is not his fault the Brawn is oversteering we seem to forget the double diffuser gave Brawn an advantage earlier on other teams have cottoned on now it seems every little update added to the Brawn upsets the set up it can't just be the tyres as we have had several hot Grand Prix where the Brawn still looked sluggish!If Jenson is going to win his first Championship it will be won as much off the track as on it let's hope time dosen't run out!

  • Comment number 53.

    No. 52 UNONUMERON
    You make some points there, but they do need punctuating...
    No. 50 ppl752
    How can one tell when you're irritated? you're a Finn!
    Can I just say that Hakkinnen and Raikkonen are great drivers and Kovalainen isn't. I seem to have read somehere that he's a load of old baloney - quite apt really.
    No. 49 Katoom8
    Are you telling me the Id, Ego and Super-Ego are not involved in the schematics of Formula 1? Have you just come out of a rock?
    The reference to the Oedipus complex in Formula 1 would be messy and quite nasty. It would mean the dominant driver in the team somehow having to get rid of the Team Principal in order to "take advantage" over his team-mate...ooer.
    Eddie Jordon is a complete hatstand - and so is Flavio. All mental.Perfick for F1.


  • Comment number 54.

    53 - Kylie_Minogue_knows - What does Kylie Minoque know about F1? Perhaps more than I do?? But what I do know is that Kovalainen has been very impressive in qualifying throughout his McLaren career. Better = faster than Hamilton if you take fuel loads into account. But given that his race days are (almost) always compromised by a worse strategy than Hamilton, it has been difficult for him to shine. Could have done better anyway to be 100% honest, but the fact is that Hamilton gets such preferential treatment that you need to be of Alonson's class to be able to compete and looks like Heikki isn't quite that good. But he deserves a drive. The second half of his Renault year was good too (after a disastrous start).

  • Comment number 55.

    REF 53 & 54

    Class. Good word. Strong word.
    Sterling Moss IS class. Never won the Championship. Button will probably win it this year....does he have more class than Moss? Stewart? Clark? Surtees? Fangio? - don't think so.
    Schumacher - not class.
    But he was the best there was during his time, only because after Senna's death the wake needed to be filled. There was no Mansell, Prost, Piquet, Rosberg in the mix - the umbilical cord linking a generation of drivers to another was cruelly broken at Imola.
    That's why Schumacher won 7.(Only Hakkinnen, after it took him AGES and a helping let-through by Coulthard to win his first race, can he be put up there on equal measure.)
    Doesn't make him the best, or the greatest.
    As for Kylie, I've always said Kovalainen is rubbish, and the fact of the matter that Rosberg is being linked to a move to Maclaren only compounds those sentiments.
    Alonso - class, but temperamental. That's Latin for you.
    The greatest? God no! The Best? not yet.
    He could be all these things. So can Hamilton.
    Please put them in equally good cars next season so we can see the best out there!!!
    It's a good thing Hokie Kokie is Finnish or Vulcan or whatever. Were he to have a drop of Latin temperament (eg. Rubens)in him he'd have drowned in his own helmet with the tears of frustration,anger and embarrassment in the knowledge of his own racing ordinariness.
    ...and about psychology. Can Kylie please explain how driver's take advantage of each other?

    Cheers.

  • Comment number 56.

    I feel everyone is being harsh on Button. In the past 5 races he has beaten his team mate twice so it's not like he has completely gone bad, more than the car has just (as any sensible obsever predicted) fallen off the pace as the season has developed.

    Brawn were never going to be able to match the development of RBR, McLaren adn Ferrari through the season, it was only the head start and massive Honda investment that allowed them to start the year with an advantage, they have neither the money nor personnel to sustain the challenge through an entire season.

    Button did as well as can be expected in the GB, German and Hungarian GPs with 6th, 5th and 7th, matching Barricello's 3rd, 6th and 10th for points. That he could not place higher was due almost entirely to the improvements made by Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams. He should have done better around Valencia granted and should have got into Q3 last week, though I would have backed him to finish 6th or 7th from where he started with that fuel load (probably ahead of Barrichello) had he not had contact on lap 1.

    With 5 races to go I don't think we can expect Button or anyone else to get the Brawn car much higher up the field than 5th or 6th on average, getting another 16 points would be a fair reflection of where the car stands at the moment. That would mean that Barricello, Vettel or Webber would need 30, 33 or 35 points in the last 5 races to be champion. Frankly given that McLaren and Ferrari are in the mix for wins again and Barriceloo has the same trouble with his Brawn I don't see how it could be done unless RBR picks one driver right now to push. Waiting one more race will probably be too late.

    In short I'm not conviced that Button is losing it, he has consistently finished as high as his car will allow him as he has done throughout the last 5 years of his career. The only blemish to that was Valencia, we will never know about Spa.

  • Comment number 57.

    unless i am somehow wrong?...how did button officially finish above hamilton when he crashed first and finished a few meters behind him?...yep just saw the replay and hammy passed him!

    --------

    When you crash on the same lap position is determined by the order you last crossed the line. in this case the order on the grid.

  • Comment number 58.

    23 - kwikautoq - Kimi was forced out of the track and he went off to the safety area (had he continued on his usual racing line, a crash would have ensued). He did not cut any corners. Perhaps that would explain the lack of punishment?

    -------

    He overtook other cars while off the track. that is aganist the rules and he was not punished.

  • Comment number 59.

    REF 58
    Totally agree. Raikkonen gained advantage by having a clear track, and a decent slingshot with momentum to put him in a far more favorable position.

  • Comment number 60.

    I've spent some time reading all the posts, and what occurs to me is that most people think that the performance of the drivers is what matters, when in my opinion what this season demonstrates is that it is the performance of the cars that matters most. At the beginning of the season Button looked like a hero because the Brawn suited his driving style - and he was way quicker than Barrichello, and at the weekend suddenly Fischella looks like he has woken up and delivered a great performance, when really it was the car - great Mercedes engine and a car that works in low downforce conditions. With the exception of Badoer the drivers are all gifted racers, but it is the "package" that matters.

  • Comment number 61.

    not bothered about button especially i'm sure and hope he will succeed,
    very interested in the renault fixing saga no blogs yet, but if you want to start one i don't think renault i think briatore could be wrong but there's history, shcumacher/hill , launch start ecu's , mac doc,s etc

  • Comment number 62.

    48 Grimble33250 - re Kimi
    and C he has a habit of shunting off Force India cars!

 

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