F1 »

Hamilton: It was me who suggested McLaren sign Button

Lewis Hamilton has revealed that contrary to accusations that he likes to be paired with a driver he can easily beat, it was in fact he who personally suggested Jenson Button as his McLaren-Mercedes team-mate in F1 2010 - but are tensions already beginning to bubble beneath the surface at Woking..?
Lewis Hamilton has revealed that it was he who first planted the seed of chasing after Jenson Button for F1 2010 in the minds of McLaren-Mercedes' management – as he argues that he 'needs' a strong team-mate to help him do battle for the constructors' crown, and expects his compatriot to be 'hard to beat' this year.

After leaving his status as de facto number one at Brawn GP – the outfit with whom he had raced in its varying guises since 2003, and the outfit with whom he swept to world domination in 2009 – to join his countryman at McLaren, many have opined that Button has foolhardily if bravely walked straight into the lion's den in pitting himself directly up against the driver who has all-but made the Woking-based concern his own since debuting in F1 with the team in 2007, who has been supported by McLaren ever since he was first spotted as an eleven-year-old karter back in 1996...and who ominously has never before been beaten by a team-mate over the balance of a season.

What's more, some eyebrows were raised that McLaren had opted to partner up two such fiercely-driven, front-running competitors – and two world champions at that – given the ego-related problems experienced when Hamilton was paired with Fernando Alonso during his rookie campaign in the top flight, and the infamously bitter, acrimonious and ultimately destructive relationship between the late Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost there in the late 1980s.

However, Hamilton has been adamant that he and the team could not have been more welcoming to Button since the Frome-born ace's arrival there late last year – and he has now admitted that the initial idea of recruiting the 2009 title-winner came personally from him, somewhat dispelling theories that the 25-year-old was keen to have a team-mate that he could easily dominate, as had been the case with Heikki Kovalainen over the previous two seasons.

“Something you may not know is that I actually called Martin [Whitmarsh – team principal] and said, 'What about Jenson?'” Hamilton confessed. “That was before they had any negotiations. At the time I was calling them and asking, 'What's going on? I keep reading all these different stories about different drivers. What's happening?' Fortunately, I would be told who they were talking to.

“I had absolutely no input into who they would pick, but I asked if they had spoken to Jenson. Why Jenson? Because there weren't that many drivers the team were able to pick from and he was the best driver available, and they wanted to get the best driver possible. I just wanted to find out because people kept asking me who was going to be my team-mate.

“I was happy with the team-mate I had, but it seemed like they were looking for someone else. I want the best team-mate I can possibly have to score points alongside me. When he's winning I've got to be finishing second, and when I'm winning he's got to be finishing second. I need a team. I can't win the constructors' championship on my own, so I need to have as strong a team-mate as possible.

“You want someone to push you. I had Fernando pushing me in 2007, and at certain points in the year in 2008, I had Heikki [Kovalainen] pushing me. I've no doubts that this year Jenson is going to be hard to beat. His results last year speak for themselves, so in coming here I'm sure he will do a solid job. He is the current reigning world champion, so I personally would never think I could wipe the floor with him.”

“As we evaluated the driver market, which we did over a number of weeks, Lewis was consistently positive about Jenson,” corroborated Whitmarsh. “As I think has been made clear, they have a high regard for each other and are already getting on well.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
29.01.2010 Newbury, England, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes - Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes MP4-25 Launch
Jenson Button (GBR), Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren MP4-25 Launch, Newbury, GB, Vodafone, Mercedes
Jenson Button (GBR), Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren MP4-25 Launch, Newbury, GB, Vodafone, Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren MP4-25 Launch, Newbury, GB, Vodafone, Mercedes
28.05.2017 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
28.05.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
28.05.2017 - Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 retires from the race
28.05.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
28.05.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
28.05.2017 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
28.05.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
28.05.2017 - Race, Mika Hakkinen (FIN), ex F1 driver and Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes
28.05.2017 - Race, Mansour Ojeh, Manseur Ojeh, McLaren shareholder and Eric Boullier (FRA) McLaren Racing Director
28.05.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
28.05.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
28.05.2017 - Race, Adriana Lima (BRA) Model and Carmen Jorda (ESP) Renault Sport Formula One Team Development Driver
28.05.2017 - Race, Eddy Merckx (BEL) and Alain Prost (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Team Special Advisor
28.05.2017 - Race, Alain Prost (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Team Special Advisor

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.

alex - Unregistered

January 31, 2010 1:26 PM

"are tensions already beginning to bubble beneath the surface at Woking..?" No, but you clearly want them to, having tried to pick and desperately work a few stories out of almost nothing whilst deliberately feeding the Trolls for Advertising $$$. As for trying to invent trouble between both driver's fathers, you seem to forget they are old friends, John Button used to build Kart engines for the Hamiltons. If you want to sink so low as to make fun of driver's families, there are some very wierd looking chinny monobrow inbreds lurking around the back of the Ferrari garages these days, kept out of the public eye for good reason....

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

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