Jenson Button has admitted he is happy to have won the inter-team battle at McLaren in 2011. After his critics said he was entering the “lion’s den” at the British team by pairing with Lewis Hamilton last year, Button has become the only driver in his teammate’s F1 career to beat him in the end-of-season points standings.
“It’s great to get more points than a teammate who is so competitive,” he admitted after sealing the achievement in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, despite Hamilton winning. “You have to win races, you’ve got to get more points than your teammate, consistently do a good job on race weekends.”
The duo are now tied on wins in 2011 with three apiece, and one race remaining in Brazil next weekend.
“I know them both well enough that they will want to be the driver who comes out of the year with four wins,” said their team boss Martin Whitmarsh.
But for the second time in recent days, Hamilton disagreed with his boss.
“That’s not the case,” he insisted. “We both want to win, but it doesn’t matter whether he gets it or I get it. We still end up on a high. That’s my view.”
And as for the inter-team battle, Hamilton added: “For me it’s irrelevant if he (Button) has finished ahead of me because we want to win the championship.”
Instead, he hopes to bounce back from his personal problems in 2012, by reinstalling a comfort “bubble” around him at grands prix in the form of his mother and brother.
“It was great having my mum in Abu Dhabi,” said Hamilton. “It is difficult with my brother because he is racing all the time, but I would like to have him here more often.”
Former McLaren driver and lead BBC commentator Martin Brundle admits he is not sure why that is so important to Hamilton.
“Frankly, I don’t understand this concept that family and friends can or should make a difference to your on track performance,” he said, “but I’m from a different generation and I never experienced the spotlight and pressure that the likes of Hamilton do.”