So what to say right now. I don't want to extrapolate on this race. I'm not too disappointed, like I said yesterday:
I still expect Hamilton to finish in front of Button tomorrow actually. Hamilton might be grossly penalized but at least he still has actual pace to use tomorrow.
(Was called an idiot
for that, but in fact it was one of those rare moments where my pessimistic expectations turned into reality.)
With colder temperatures I don't expect anything from Button. ..-.. With a fortunate race he might get a point or two, don't expect much more as there's no reason to do so.
As pointed out by Disgrace here(great thread btw but I prefer to post in general here)
, performances like this have happened plenty of times to Jenson before, it happened today and it will keep happening because there is no solution for this problem. It's purely Jenson and neither McLaren nor any other team will be able to help him with this. Despite following his career for almost 10 years now, I didn't particularly notice this problem either until 2009. I used to think it was a car issue that Brawn GP was not able to tackle because of the limited resources. With McLaren in 2010 I figured they didn't have enough data of him and that the team in general was too static to form a solution around him. During the past few years I've come to realize this is actually just wishful thinking and that in reality it's probably better to assume this is Jenson. He'll keep having weekends in which he'll struggle so much it looks like he's driving a different car, while giving all his detractors a shot at complaining more about Jenson's complaining than Jenson actually complains.
That said, during the race today I was initially glad that his start was good and that he seemed to be able to keep up with Rosberg and Vettel. Soon I realized however that Rosberg's team outsmarted him on strategy, that Vettel had more pace in hand and that Button suffered from an earlier tyre drop-off than the cars around him. When McLaren were talking on the radio about 'Plan B' I was wondering what the heck that might be, and awesomely enough it meant a stint on soft tyres stuck behind Rosberg. Obviously they meant for him to overtake him, but this was also where the problems kicked in, (Jenson:"As soon as I get close to someone, I cannot keep the temperature in the tyres
(Sepang déjà vu)). I knew his tyres would die instantly and that this was his race. Also made it possible for Lewis to leapfrog him later on, and that Jenson's stints were far too short to make a 3 stop work well. Overall, the performance difference was obvious, in particular how Lewis managed to keep his tyres in good shape. It's a setup issue based on Jenson's incompetence to handle a unbalanced car. This doesn't only affect him directly, but also indirectly through the tyres. It might be completely different at Monaco again, there's no way of knowing. It's hard to support a driver like this, Jenson has had his good streaks lately, start of 2009 and end of 2011 in particular, but right now he's on a streak of 2 very poor performances and he has to get out of this. What's keeping me from utter depression and/or suicide is the fact that F1 right now is enjoyable, there's no dominance whatsoever, and there's a reasonable chance someone else than Vettel can become World Champion this year.
Also I'm a bit worried about his change of braking material during the weekend. Jenson chose this in an attempt at improving his tyre handling, but on the long run I doubt it's good for him and even this weekend he only really went downhill whereas on Friday he still looked sort of ok, especially on the option tyre. I assume he won't keep this for Monaco, but I'm afraid we won't really get any info on this and that he will keep it. Perhaps I should ask TheFifthDriver on this come Monaco.
Lewis was aggressive yet controlled, his fans can be proud, and like I expected he did not freak out like a year ago when put in this position. I can only give him a 9 for his performance, while for Jenson it's somewhere between a 6 and a 7 depending on the degree in which I hold Button accountable for these issues he's having.