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Schumacher: Button a 'phenomenal talent', can be champion again

As he continues to outperform team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the internecine duel at McLaren-Mercedes, Jenson Button has received high praise indeed from the most successful driver in F1 history...
Jenson Button has been praised as 'a phenomenal talent' who 'can fight for the world championship again in the right car' by Mercedes GP rival Michael Schumacher – as the McLaren-Mercedes star has explained that 'feeling the team around me' and having them 'listen' to him more has been the key to his strong performances in F1 2011.

With six races left to run, Button currently sits third in the drivers' standings – ahead of team-mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton, widely-perceived to be out-and-out the faster of the pair but a man who has been routinely shown up by his fellow title-winner in recent weeks, to the extent that it is the 2009 F1 World Champion who is now being talked about as the team leader at McLaren.

Second place in last weekend's Italian Grand Prix marked Button's third podium finish in swift succession, and indeed, over the last seven races, only Red Bull Racing's runaway world championship leader Sebastian Vettel has triumphed more.

Schumacher – who found himself on the receiving end of some criticism from Button for his on-track etiquette during his fierce scrap with Hamilton at Monza [see separate story – click here] – contends that another title for the eleven-time grand prix-winner cannot be ruled out.

“Even if maybe he is two per cent below the level of his peak, he is still a phenomenal talent,” the German legend told news agency SID, adding in an interview with fashion magazine Vogue: “He can fight for the world championship again in the right car.”

Meanwhile, as he increasingly asserts himself inside the Woking-based outfit, Button has reflected that he is enjoying the significant contribution he is making towards the development of McLaren's 2012 challenger, and that he is driving better even than he did en route to the laurels with Brawn GP two years ago – not bad for a man who many feared had stepped straight into the lion's den in boldly taking on Hamilton in his own backyard.

“It is to do with confidence after winning the world championship, feeling the team around me and being in a good place off the circuit,” the 31-year-old told the Daily Telegraph. “I took my engineers and mechanics out for dinner on Saturday night in Italy. It is not for a competitive edge over Lewis' side of the garage; it was to pay them back for all the hard work they have done.

“[The team] are really listening to what I have to say; every time I drive the simulator, we test something that I specifically want. I don't think I am having more of a say, but I think they are listening more, which is nice.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
09.09.2011- Friday Practice 1, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
09.09.2011- Friday Practice 1, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
27.08.2011- Saturday Practice, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
11.09.2011- Race, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
11.09.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
11.09.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 2nd position
11.09.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
10.09.2011- Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
10.09.2011- Saturday Practice, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
31.07.2011 podium1st Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-26
25.05.2011- Press conference, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02 and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
Peter Gethin sat in his BRM at the 1972 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch
Lotus E22 with Hisense sponsorship
Sebastian Vettel drives the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi - Pic credit: Infiniti
Sebatian Vettel and David Coulthard at the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi - Pic credit: Infiniti
Sebastian Vettel drives the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi for the first time - Pic credit: Infiniti
24.08.2014- Race, Start of the race
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36

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Gaz - Unregistered

September 15, 2011 12:49 PM

Underrated driver. He could have had a lot more wins over the years in the right car. As MS said he may be 2% off his peak but more than makes up for it with experience. Very, very intelligent driver who is mechanically sympathetic with a car. He will win a lot more races if he stays in a competitive car. He is proving it is not always the fastest that wins.

Taz - Unregistered

September 15, 2011 12:14 PM

To have a seven times WDC call you a 'phenomenal talent' isn't a bad endorsement. Twitmarsh better get the tippex out on that cheque he's written :)



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