W he would have thought that before the start of the season. McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button lead the world championship after eight races. Instead of noise, there is harmony in the McLaren-Mercedes team, although the two champions are as different as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. And as you know, there was a big scandal 21 years ago.
If we are already looking back at the past, certain things in common with the present come to mind. Hamilton is the senna guy. Always on attack, always at the limit, always with your elbows stretched out. Button is reminiscent of Alain Prost. A tactician with a smooth driving style, one who can read a race like others can read a book.
Button commitment caused a stir
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh knew what his job was last December when McLaren announced their England team. 'In England the expectation was that Hamilton Button would hit the wall. And nobody could imagine that the two would last long together.' The British daily press in particular sensed scandals and Zoff in the team of perfectionists. You have been disappointed.
So far it has been surprisingly quiet. When you see Hamilton and Button in the paddock like that, you start to believe that harmony is not played. The two stick together more often than Vettel and Webber, Alonso and Massa or Schumacher and Rosberg. 'There is a lot of mutual respect, openness and honesty,' says Whitmarsh, describing the basic parameters of a hitherto problem-free relationship.
Buttons charm goes down at McLaren
The great merit that Both superstars get along, Whitmarsh attributes to the newcomer Button. 'Lewis grew up with us. The team has known him for twelve years. When Jenson came to us, he was incredibly humble. He won the team over with his charm, and Lewis noticed that too.' Button doesn’t offer his colleague who is five years his junior to attack. He can live with defeat, even if it annoys him secretly when the other is faster.
'You just have to look into their faces after each training session and you know immediately who was slower,' says Whitmarsh, laughing. Both have ambition, Hamilton probably more than Button, whose will to win should not be underestimated: 'Jenson absolutely wants this World Cupwin. But he doesn't take this will to the outside aggressively. 'Five years more wisdom pays off.' Jenson is very self-confident. He knows how good he is. '
Hamilton surprised by buttons speed
According to Whitmarsh, it was clear to Hamilton before the start of the season: I would clean this button off as the defending champion Won two races in Melbourne and Shanghai, so there was great confusion on the other hand. Hamilton suddenly realized that others can drive fast too. Which, in the opinion of Whitmarsh, had positive effects for Hamilton. 'Lewis understood that he was can learn from Jenson how to keep track of the race. What information is fed to the engineers while driving. '
Button also benefits from the internal duel.' There is no better overtaker in Formula 1 than Lewis, 'says Whitmarsh.' Nobody has as much feeling for it what happens to his car and the cars around it. '
McLaren peace always in danger
Whitmarsh knows that peace can be deceptive. He balances on a narrow one Grat with his two top drivers from England. That is why McLaren wants to do without stable management in the future. First, because it corresponds to the philosophy of the house. Second, because that could lead to faults among the drivers. 'We can't possibly say Lewis or Jenson that they have to back off. Stable management would only create unrest. '