One Formula One driver’s merry-go-round is another’s roller-coaster, at least for McLaren’s world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
Button felt he had stepped back on board the former with second place at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, while Hamilton, winner of the previous race in Belgium, plunged where he had hoped to soar after retiring on the first lap.
Both remain firmly in contention, even if Hamilton ceded the overall lead to Red Bull’s Mark Webber, as the championship boils down to five drivers fighting an epic battle over the five remaining races with five points between the top two.
“Every race we go to now people are going to be looking at qualifying, the end result of the race and trying to understand which direction it’s going to go,” Button said.
“It’s pretty complicated, exciting, good for the sport. We’re all out there to win this championship, but the people who don’t win it are going to get a lot of respect this year for being part of that challenge — hopefully I won’t be one of them,” the 30-year-old added.
Button finds himself in a very different position to last year, when he won six of the first seven races with Brawn and clung on to take the championship.
Last season he would not have been able to fight back had anyone been able to overtake him in the standings but this year is very different.
While Hamilton left Monza kicking himself at his mistake, his relaxed team mate could only sympathize while enjoying his own good fortune.
“I don’t feel like I’m under any pressure at all, it’s quite weird,” Button said.
“I’m just going to every race enjoying it,” he said.