4 September 2012
Button 'disappointed' by team-mate's Twitter 'leak'
Jenson Button insists that he will not allow his team-mate's Twitter 'leak' to affect McLaren's F1 title pursuit.
Jenson Button has admitted to being frustrated by McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton's decision to 'tweet' pictures of aero data after struggling in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, but insists that it will not drive a wedge between them.
The week started with Button being asked whether he would be prepared to play rear gunner for Hamilton's championship bid - a suggestion he dismissed while he still had a chance of his own - and ended with the 2009 world champion winning comfortably from pole while Hamilton was wiped out in an accident at turn one.
Despite the latter's obvious displeasure at having his race cut short, the real controversy emerged on Saturday night, after it was confirmed that Hamilton has used his popular Twitter feed to try and explain the difference between his qualifying effort and his team-mate's pole lap. Some comments clearly borne of frustration made no secret of his state of mind, but no-one could have expected images of data traces to follow, showing the differences between his set-up and Button's, including a comparison of ride height figures - something teams try hard to keep hidden.
The posts were quickly removed, with Hamilton claiming that he had wanted to rephrase some of his outbursts with more appropriate language, but the damage had already been done, with the ability to preserve screen contents ensuring that the telemetry data made its way into enemy hands. While the team insist that its rivals would learn little from the images, Button admitted that he had been dismayed by Hamilton's actions.
"I'll say I'm disappointed," he told reporters, "We work so hard to improve the car and keep things like that private, but it's done now. I don't think it's for me to be angry with Lewis because it's not a personal thing.
"The bit about him losing six-tenths on the straights isn't the bit that's important to me, because he should be gaining it back in the corners he's got more downforce on - and I was eight-tenths quicker in qualifying anyway. It's more the information that we work so hard to keep secret and private - that's the thing I didn't want to see on Twitter."
Button also insisted that the issue would not add extra spice to his pursuit of the title, having closed to within 16 points of his team-mate - who continues to negotiate a new contract - as they head to this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.
Before [Spa], I was so out of the picture, but one race can really turn things around," he pointed out, having taken 25 points out of the previous deficit with his victory in Belgium, "I'm 16 points behind Lewis now, but, you can't think 'I've got to beat him again in the next race'. You can't start picking people you want to beat, you've just got to go out there and get on with it, get your head down and try to win..."
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