• Button needs to regain championship momentum
• Driver wants to regain initiative, says McLaren team principal
Jenson Button is up to the challenge of ending Lewis Hamilton’s recent charge, according to McLaren’s team principal. Martin Whitmarsh is in the fortunate position of having his two drivers out in front in the fight for the world title, with Button 12 points behind Hamilton.
Button, the reigning world champion, has been out-qualified by Hamilton, the 2008 title-winner, in the last six grands prix, and finished behind the 25-year-old in the last five. The momentum may be with Hamilton going into Sunday’s German grand prix, but Whitmarsh does not believe Button will continue to let him have it all his own way.
“Jenson is second in the drivers’ championship, has had two great wins this year and has proven he’s a great racing driver, a great reader of a race,” said Whitmarsh. “For someone to recover from 14th to fourth [as Button did at the British grand prix] shows he is a phenomenally quick and adept racing driver, and also has a lot of determination. I’m sure Jenson hasn’t given way to Lewis’s charge for the championship.
“He will want to win this weekend, to move that momentum back in his favour, and that’s just how it should be.”
Whitmarsh is also refusing to consider the notion that the championship has become a two-horse race between McLaren and Red Bull Racing.
In the constructors’ standings, Ferrari are 113 points behind McLaren, while Fernando Alonso is the Maranello marque’s nearest challenger to Hamilton in the drivers’, but 47 adrift.
Whitmarsh, however, feels neither Ferrari or Mercedes GP should be discounted when there are still 225 points to play for.
“Experience has told me you can’t write them off,” added Whitmarsh. “Ferrari are a strong team, technically capable, have fantastic resources and they’ve one former world champion and one other top-flight driver [Felipe Massa].
“Similarly Mercedes have one former multiple world champion [Michael Schumacher] and a very good driver in Nico [Rosberg], so I think it’s too early to write them off. Red Bull clearly are the principal challenge at the moment, but I don’t dismiss the others.”
As for the destiny of the titles, according to Whitmarsh that comes down to a simple evaluation.
He said: “It will be won by the team that either makes least mistakes or more probably the team that continues to develop its car at a faster rate than its principal competitors.”