Jenson Button has one hell of an opportunity that's just landed in his lap. Next year, he assumes the role of undisputed McLaren number one, and I have a feeling that will suit him down to the ground.
I've got a lot of time for Jenson. He's an easy-going, very likeable guy in a paddock where many of the drivers are not. He's one of the few who commands as much respect for his off-track demeanour and the way he deals with people as he does for his speed and ability in the car.
Despite that, it did surprise me just how quickly Jenson's work ethic and general friendliness won over McLaren and made an impact there.
Button's been man enough to realise that Lewis Hamilton is probably the faster of the McLaren team-mates right now, but that he himself possesses qualities that Lewis doesn't. He has the confidence, for example, to overrule his team on a strategy decision. Remember Hungary last year? Or China?
Jenson's in absolutely the right position to take the team forward. His new team-mate, Sergio Perez, is quick, but hasn't delivered the kind of performances we saw in China and Italy on a consistent basis - certainly not with the regularity that McLaren would expect from a title-challenging driver. I find it hard to believe that Button will be pushed as hard as he was by Lewis.
Only once in my career was I the undisputed number one in a Formula 1 team, and that's when I moved to Red Bull in 2005. I'd been pushed by Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen over the past decade. With that experience I felt ready to be leader, and the comfort I took from being that integral part of the team helped me relax into my driving.
Things that I'd have previously taken time to think about just happened automatically. It gave me more capacity to think about other things in the car - ways of improving the situation I was in at any given time. It helps unlock additional elements of self-performance you perhaps didn't know existed before.
DC doesn't think we'll see too much of this between Button and Perez in '13 © LAT
When you have your team 100 per cent behind you, it lifts your performance levels. I'm talking about no more compromises on developments - if you don't like the balance that new rear wing gives you, it won't get used any more (whereas in the past, if it had made your team-mate two-tenths faster, you'd just have to put up with it).
That's the power Jenson ought to now have, and I don't think we've seen anything like the best of him yet. He's world class, no doubt. He's probably the best on the planet at reading changing track conditions, and he's already a world champion. Anything is possible for him now. But he has to take the opportunity to step up and show everyone what he's got.
Is Massa the man for Ferrari?
I like Felipe Massa. He's a nice bloke. But being a nice bloke doesn't make you world champion material.
Sure, he's lifted his performances recently, and let's not forgot he's won 11 grands prix. His recent form is bound to have raised his confidence levels massively - and all athletes know that once you have that confidence, it has a multiplier effect.
Ferrari has more information to hand than us lot looking in from the outside, so perhaps he's playing a vital role that the rest of us, who only see his race performances, are not witnessing.
The team has shown remarkable loyalty to Felipe, however, if it wants to win the constructors' championship, it needs a driver that can back up Fernando Alonso. And I can't help but wonder if Felipe is that guy anymore.
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