Teamwork holds key to title, says Button

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With the most keenly-anticipated British double act since Graham Hill and Jim Clark teamed up for Lotus more than 40 years ago only three days short of their first race, Jenson Button has underlined the need for him and Lewis Hamilton to work together if one of them is to claim a second world title.

The last two world champions today begin their final preparations for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the opening race of the new Formula One season, as McLaren team-mates amid intrigued scrutiny as to how their relationship will pan out.

"It's interesting working with Lewis, because you never know what to expect from the outside," said Button last night. "But it's been really good working with him, we get on really well. We have the same goal [to win the world championship] and for either of us to achieve that we have to beat the other one – we know that.

"But the important thing is that we share information. You haven't got a chance if you don't work together as team-mates. It's so competitive now in F1, especially this season. You've got Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, ourselves McLaren, it's going to be a very tough season – if there's any slip-up or disagreement between team-mates it will be very difficult to be at the front fighting.

"We both want to fight for the world championship – to do that we have to work together. He's an exceptional driver, he has achieved a lot in the sport in such a short time, so it is very interesting to work with him and I hope it's the same for Lewis. We have a lot of useful information to share, good and bad, from our careers, so it should work well."

Button last night won the Breakthrough of the Year honour at the Laureus World Sports Awards, collecting the trophy in Abu Dhabi before making the short hop down the Gulf to Bahrain. "I like that, I'm 30 years old and I'm a breakthrough sportsman," he said. "I've had a shave and everything. Tom Daley [another of the contenders] is half my age!"

Brawn, whom Button helped to the constructors' title last year, took the Team of the Year award. The sprinter Usain Bolt retained the Sportsman of the Year title after his record-breaking displays in Berlin last summer.

"2009 was an exceptional year for me, and for the whole of the [Brawn] team," added Button. "After the winter that we had we didn't think we'd be racing so to be here now as the F1 world champion – and to have won this award – it really does round off a very special season for me.

"It closes off the 2009 season, that's the only thing. Tomorrow 2010 starts for me and I think it's going to be a belter of a year. With the new regulations, we don't really know who is the quickest team as we go to Bahrain. It's a great position to be in for the sport."