Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were teammates at McLaren for a few seasons, and the two drivers were among the best Formula One racers in the world.
But they didn’t particularly get along while they were teammates, and they were actually closer to rivals than they were anything else. An excerpt from Button’s new book, “Life to the Limit,” appeared in the Daily Telegraph, and Button claimed that Hamilton’s behavior was “weird.”
The two were racing in Turkey when they almost had a collision, and Hamilton was displeased when Button passed him when he thought they were holding position, and he confronted Button about it after the race.
“Personally, he was fine with me, but you could just tell he was a little bit peeved,” Button said. “I don’t think that I was to his taste, if I’m honest. And things took a bit of a turn for the worse in Turkey, when we almost had a collision that led to a minor falling-out between us.
“On the podium there was what the media called some ‘frosty’ body language and a ‘muted’ celebration. In fact, he came straight out and asked me about it: “Did you pass me against team orders?” said Button.
“He was the winner. Jesus.
“No,” I told him, “I did not pass you against orders. I was never told not to pass you.
“That sent him off thinking that the team were taking my side against his, though he never did explain why they would want to do that, given that we were on course for a one–two and, apart from our respective race engineers, nobody in the team would give a flying f*** who came first and who came second.”
Eventually, Hamilton changed teams and moved to Mercedes, and Button said it was a shame because he enjoyed their rivalry.
Button has one championship in Formula One (2009), while Hamilton has three (2008, 2014, 2015).
The strain on the two driver’s relationship isn’t totally surprising considering they were also competing with each other. It’s a tough position to be in to support and compete against a teammate each week.