Button backed to find Hamilton response

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh, is convinced Jenson Button will meet the challenge of ending team-mate Lewis Hamilton's recent charge. Whitmarsh is in the fortunate position of having his two drivers out in front in the fight for the Formula One world championship, with Hamilton 12 points clear of Button.

The reigning world champion, though, has been out-qualified by the 2008 title-winner in the past 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 in the British Grand Prix] shows he is a phenomenally quick and adept racing driver, and also has a lot of determination. He will want to win this weekend, to move that momentum back in his favour."

Whitmarsh also dismisses the notion that the championship has become a two-horse race between McLaren and Red Bull Racing. In the constructors' standings, Ferrari are currently 113 points behind McLaren, while Fernando Alonso is the Maranello marque's nearest challenger to Hamilton in the drivers', but 47 points adrift. Whitmarsh, though, feels neither Ferrari nor 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."