F1 »

Hamilton defeats F1 2010 team-mate Button in Top Gear face-off

It's Lewis Hamilton one - Jenson Button nil ahead of the pair's eagerly-anticipated match-up at McLaren-Mercedes in F1 2010, as the 2009 world champion fails to beat his title-winning predecessor's best lap time on cult BBC motoring show Top Gear
F1 2010 may still be the best part of three months away yet, but Lewis Hamilton has already triumphed in his first on-track battle with new McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Jenson Button – by pipping his compatriot and fellow world champion to the faster time around the Top Gear test track.

Prior to appearing on the cult BBC motoring show again last weekend, Button's previous quickest effort as the 'Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car' had been 1m44.7s – but on a wet track surface, the 2009 title-winner came up just two tenths of a second short of bettering that marker in the Suzuki Liana and, rather more embarrassingly, the same deficit adrift of Hamilton's benchmark set in similar conditions.

Admitting that he had needed to adapt his driving style somewhat, Button lamented the greasy, slippery conditions with which he had been forced to contend – even if he did concede to having practised the track with his personal Bugatti Veyron in the run-up to his time trial.

In a reference to his effusive and infectious Brazilian Grand Prix celebrations, the 29-year-old also joked that 'at least I'm not singing' as he slid his way sideways around the course in a flat-out effort – but it was one that still came up three tenths shy of the best lap time achieved by an F1 driver on the programme, 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell.

The Frome-born ace also went on to chat to outspoken Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson about his fairytale-esque 2009 campaign, from the crushing low of Honda's sudden and unexpected withdrawal to the euphoric high of title glory at Interlagos. And as to his pre-season pay cut, well, he quipped: “Don't feel sorry for me!”

“It was difficult,” Button reflected with more than a touch of understatement. “I had just got back from Lanzarote doing some fitness training and was all ready for the new season, then I arrived at Gatwick and got a message from my manager saying 'it's over – Honda are pulling out of the sport'. That was a really difficult thing to take in, because, you know, we were going to be racing in 2009 and we were going to have a competitive car and the possibility of winning races – there was a lot of work that went into that car, and it would have been an absolute tragedy if it wasn't on the grid.

“There were 700-odd people working at the factory, and they had to scale down the team so obviously there were some redundancies which was tough, even for the people that stayed – but we all gave as much as we could and we all tried to help as much as we could. All I could do was stay focussed and try and help the team as much as I could. That's what we did, and we got through a difficult winter.

“I knew we had built a good car, because all the numbers said so in the wind tunnel, but until you actually drive it, you don't know 100 per cent. We bolted the Mercedes-Benz engine in the back – because obviously the car wasn't made for that engine – and trimmed the chassis down to make sure the gearbox just about fitted, and then went out and tested it at Barcelona.

“After five laps I really felt comfortable in the car, and I came in and said 'guys, this is alright, this is a good baseline, this feels pretty nice' – and my engineer came up to me and said 'Jenson, you are seven tenths quicker than anyone, and they've all been testing for three months'. Seven tenths in Formula 1 is massive, but at every race people were putting on big packages, so for us to try and keep that advantage was impossible.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-24, Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn BGP001, British F1, Silverstone, 19th-21st, June, 2009
Kamui Kobayashi and the Caterham Seven 250R Kamui edition
John Watson driving the McLaren MP4B at the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix, Las Vegas
Guy Moll at the 1934 Grand Prix Automobile de Montreux   [pic credit:Agence de presse Meurisse/Bibliothèque nationale de France]
2014 FIA European F3 champion Esteban Ocon is to test with Lotus F1
12.10.2014- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, the start
12.10.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
12.10.2014- Vitaly Mutko (RUS) Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 celebrates Manufactor title of Mercedes with the team
12.10.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
12.10.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014-  Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 with a fan
12.10.2014- Fabiana Flosi (BRA)
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


keech998 - Unregistered

December 22, 2009 4:51 PM

For those of us who actually watched Top Gear, Clarkson commented on the fact that had Button not been sideways on the last two corners, he would have been faster than Hamilton. Regardless, its what happens in the McLaren that matters, not whom is faster in a Suzuki Liana. Everyone comments on how smug button looks/looked, but Lewis was the same when he won the Drivers title. And why shouldn't they? Their the best in the world.....

carlah - Unregistered

December 22, 2009 2:33 PM

oh good grief! it was a 'run in a cheap car'.. the track conditions were different.. it was a year apart.. etc., etc... we ahve two brit world champs in the same team and we have to start a slanging match?!? get a grip..



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.