Jenson Button – Lost in translation?

F1 2010 - Rd7 Turkish GP - Hamilton wins in McLaren 1-2

There is much to say about the inter team fractions at in the Red Bull team post the Turkish Grand Prix,  but the other talking point was the on track battle between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button which despite there being no tangible accident poses a similar threat of self-destruction within the team.

Despite Hamilton taking his first win of the season, he looked angry and forlorn as he got out of the car and went through the podium ceremony.  It was clear this was a thoroughly angry and slightly paranoid Hamilton and he was not sure where to point the blame – Button or the team.

The incident involved took place over 4 corners between lap 48 and the first corner of lap 49. Hamilton had been told on previous laps that both cars were being ordered to save fuel.  Most of the F1 world took this as an indirect rule to not overtake each other, but it seems one party didn’t understand what that meant and information appearing today seems to indicate that Hamilton was right to feel aggrieved.

Almost unbelievably after the Red Bull drivers going toe to toe, we saw the Mclaren drivers in the same situation. Button seemed to take advantage of Hamilton slowing up the pace to launch a surprise attack on the his team-mate.

Credit where credit is due, both drivers managed to keep it clean, but it was certainly touch and go at turn 1 on lap 49 where Hamilton threw himself in to the corner 3 quarters of a car length behind Button and risked Button turning him in and taking them both out.

The question begs why was Button attacking Hamilton?

Was he unaware of the order to save fuel and to understand what most saw as a coded message to hold positions, or was he aware of the order and tried to get one over on Lewis by playing on the trust for the team Hamilton has?

Without the information from Button’s radio it’s not clear how the message was given to Jenson before his attack on Hamilton for the lead.  What we do know is that Hamilton clearly asked the team for clarification that Button would hold fire and not attack Lewis for the lead.

We could point the finger at Button’s race engineer for perhaps not making the message clear, but I feel the blame here is at Button’s door.  He would have been told about the need to save fuel, even if or perhaps neither driver needed to save fuel, any F1 observer would have understood the message as the race is over, hold you position and bring the car in.  Button seemed to pump up the confidence to go over and above the communication from this team.

Hamilton, who has been caught out more than once this season by the directorship of this teams information was right to look a bit peeved. He had been told that no attack on him would happen, and against all expectations he had to roll his sleeves up and aggressively force his own team-mate out of the way in order to take the win.

Questions should be asked of the team as to why Button performed his attack on Hamilton.  I have heard Button say that he was told to save fuel, but had no idea as to how much he needed to save.

Martin Whitmarsh needs to explain this to Hamilton and if there is a fault in the lines of communication, he needs to get that sorted.  If the boot had been on the other foot Button would have started to feel the team was lying to him in order to help Hamilton, and I am not saying Hamilton is starting to feel paranoid, but you would understand why he perhaps in a little nervous or unsure of the directorship and control the Mclaren management have and seem to make Hamilton’s races harder than easier.

This could be damaging in the relationship between Hamilton and Button, but if one person is likely to lose respect for what he did, it is most likely to be Jenson Button.


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