They may have a special bond thanks to their F1 world championship-winning 2009 adventure, but Ross Brawn believes that Jenson Button's switch to McLaren has benefited more than just the 2012 runner-up.
Much was made of Button's decision to join McLaren as team-mate to fellow countryman Lewis Hamilton, with sceptics convinced that he was walking into a lion's den with Hamilton ensconced in a squad largely built around him. However, although Hamilton had the upper hand in 2010, Button established himself as team leader last season, finishing the year as chief pursuer to Sebastian Vettel and the first team-mate to beat Hamilton since he broke into F1 in 2007.
However, as much as proving that he was worthy of his place at F1's top table, Brawn believes that Button's emergence has also had a beneficial effect on Hamilton, despite the 2008 world champion enduring a troubled campaign brought on by off-track distractions.
"I think, with Jenson, Lewis has seen someone who is maybe not as ultimately quick as him, but someone who is able to apply himself more effectively," the Mercedes team principal told Britain's Daily Telegraph
newspaper, "And that is a very strong combination. Jenson is a very intelligent guy... very, very quick, but really focused on his racing - and that is good for Lewis. Jenson sets his car up well, is totally focused during practice and has the right priorities and that's a big help. I think Lewis can learn a lot from how Jenson works."
If Hamilton has indeed learned from observing his team-mate last season, Brawn believes that he can be a factor in the championship battle in 2012.
"Lewis has raw speed but, on his own admission, he didn't have the best year last year," the former Williams and Ferrari designer noted, "I think he's intelligent enough to realise that didn't work out and to work to improve his own performance, because he has huge speed and huge talent. Certainly, Lewis has to do his own thing and it'll be fascinating to see how he does this year, [but] I think he'll do a great job."