Jenson Button won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Since then, however, his season has gone steadily downhill. Four finishes outside the points in eight races makes for a pretty miserable season so far, considering that Button was runner-up in the 2011 World Championship.
On Sunday in Valencia, his poor form continued. Button qualified a disappointing ninth and finished eighth, never looking particularly competitive throughout the race. He was a little unfortunate, in that he made a pitstop just before the safety car came out which cost him some positions, but a much higher finish was probably not on the cards anyway.
By contrast with Button’s Valencia performance, Lewis Hamilton put the other McLaren on the front row of the grid, and then drove a steady (albeit not markedly quick) race to run third until he was unceremoniously shoved into the wall by Pastor Maldonado with two laps remaining.
As an indicator of the difference in performance between the team-mates, Button was four tenths off Hamilton in Q3 of qualifying, and their fastest race laps were eight tenths apart, with Hamilton again on top. Eight tenths of a second difference in the same car is enormous. Button will not be happy to be so far off the pace.
The next race at Silverstone is Button and McLaren’s home grand prix. He will be looking to up his game significantly in front of the British fans. McLaren will likely bring a decent upgrade to the British Grand Prix, which should also help matters.