Is Button prepared to be Hamilton’s support driver?
After the Korean Grand Prix the reigning world champion did not seem to want to help Hamilton
All season long the pundits who boldly predicted a fall-out in the McLaren garage between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have been proved wrong, but after the Korean Grand Prix the first signs of stress may be showing.
While Lewis Hamilton finished second in a thrilling race his team mate Jenson Button, the reigning world champion, was a woeful 12th and now as little or no chance of retaining his crown. Hamilton, on the other hand, kept his season alive and is still hot on the heels of championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. He trails him by 21 points.
But Button did not appear to be overly supportive of his team mate after the race. In the immediate wake of the Grand Prix he appeared to accept that his challenge was over - he is 42 points off the lead and with only 50 points left to race for. But when he was asked later on if that meant he would now concentrate on helping his team mate Hamilton he dramatically changed his tune
Button said: "If mathematically I couldn't win the championship then yes, I would help Lewis. I said that the championship was over – we say a lot of things in the heat of the moment and I don't stand by that now."
Whether or not he was motivated by a desire to avoid a row over team orders or a belief he can still win the title remains to be seen - but his comments could be interpreted as a sign that all is not well between the two drivers and Button is not keen on the idea of playing second fiddle to his team mate.
However, all previous predictions of hostility between the drivers have come to naught, and it could be that Button was just disappointed with his performance.
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said that tactics for the final two races of the season had yet to be decided. "Lewis is clearly in the hunt and mathematically it's still not impossible for Jenson, but it looks quite tough. We'll talk about [Button helping Hamilton] before we get to Brazil," he said. ·
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