With the Formula 1 season over and the spate of interesting stories subsiding, it was a relief to have David Tremayne’s Jenson Button interview land in the Motor Sport office.
He interviewed the 2009 World Champion for our February issue (out on December 30) and Button was remarkably candid about his relationship with team-mate Lewis Hamilton and the other drivers on the grid.
“Lewis is tricky,” Button admitted. “It’s always tough to race your team-mate. Even if the balance of the car is not 100 per cent, the way I like it, Lewis can be very quick. I need a car that is more stable. When the car isn’t right it makes me work very hard as a driver to get the car I want. In that respect Lewis is very strong.
“I’m a straightforward person, I think. I don’t take any sh*t. I know that if something bothers me I have to get it on the table, that’s important. I don’t hold back and I say what things I have to say face-to-face and not through other people. As far as things with Lewis have been concerned, I apologised to him during the break in Canada [after their collision in the Canadian Grand Prix], and in 2010 there was only one time we had words and that was in Turkey. I said something to him as soon as I got out of the car. We resolved those issues immediately, and we moved on.”
Button – who many people are saying drove better this year than he did when he won the championship in 2009 – is adamant that Lewis isn’t the most aggressive driver at the front of the grid. That particular accolade goes to a certain Australian.
“Mark [Webber] doesn’t give you a millimetre more than you need,” Button says about the Red Bull driver. “He’s the toughest nut, and he takes more risks than the others.”
Of course, like many others on the grid, he has a huge amount of respect for Alonso. “He is very intelligent, a real thinker,” he said about the Ferrari driver. “And he’s been around so long and seen so much that beating him is very tough, but he’s fair. He’ll push to the limit, so when you are able to come out on top after a fight with him, you really enjoy it.”
Button has had a stellar year at McLaren and provided he has a car in 2012 that is not only competitive but also suits his driving style, he will remain at the front, challenging for wins.