No parting gift for Hamilton as Button beats him to British Driver of the Year award
10:48 GMT, 4 December 2012
Jenson Button was last night named British Driver of the Year beating outgoing McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the prestigious Autosport award.
Hamilton, who joins Mercedes in a controversial three-year deal next season, ended his McLaren career with more points, victories and pole-positions than his team-mate this term.
But it was Button who scooped the award for the third time in four years, seeing off competition from fellow F1 racers Hamilton and Paul Di Resta as well as Dario Franchitti, who won the Indy 500 for a third time this season, Touring Car Champion Rob Huff and DTM runner-up and McLaren reserve driver Gary Paffett,
Winner: Jensen Button has won the award for a third time in four years
TALE OF THE TAPE
Pole positions 7
Pole Positions 1
Button, who benefited from Hamilton’s retirement in Brazil to win the final race of the season, said:
‘It has been a very up and down year for us, but [winning in Brazil] was a great way to end the season and hopefully for all the guys working that’ll be good for 2013.’
After a disappointing season in 2011, Hamilton bounced back this term to enjoy arguably his best season for McLaren during his six-year spell with the British outfit.
But he was unable to mount a title challenge after retiring from the lead of three races at Singapore, Abu Dhabi and in Brazil, while a pit-stop gaffe and fuel error cost him big points at the Bahrain and Spanish Grands Prix.
Praise: Lewis Hamilton was backed by Button even though he is leaving for Mercedes
And Button, who will be joined at McLaren by Sergio Perez in 2013, was quick to laud his outgoing team-mate after accepting his British Driver of the Year award.
He said: ‘For me the excitement of going to McLaren was obviously in racing for the team, but it was also racing against Lewis. He’s unbelievably fast.
‘I love the role of being the experienced driver and that is definitely the case next year – I think I am the most experienced guy in F1 next year. Really looking forward to working with Checo [Sergio Perez] next year too, he has shown great speed and seems like he wants to learn, so it should be good fun.
‘I think this year we’ve shown there is a real heart to this team. They are so passionate about motor racing, they’ve been around for decades and achieved so much. They are very professional but they also have a lot of fun fighting for victories. It’s a big family and I didn’t expect that when I got there.’