After a strong showing in the 2012 season, Jenson Button found himself just 2 points shy of now-ex team mate Lewis Hamilton at the end of the season, which is an impressive feat for someone who completed the season in a somewhat anonymous fashion.
Jenson started 2012 in the best possible way, stealing the lead and victory from his team mate at Australia and following this up with a 3rd place at China to sit in second place in the championship and look to be one of the main contenders. However difficulties with new updates and his driving style meant that in the 6 races that followed this he achieved only a best position of 8th place and dropped out of contention for the title. He bounced back from this to be one of the best points scorers in the second half of the title but the damage was already done.
Jenson is typically at his best when he can get the car setup completely to his liking, that being extremely neutral and stable, he is constantly the most picky when it comes to car setup but as his performances at the start of 2009 showed and most recently at Spa have confirmed, when he gets the car to his liking he is simply superb, beating even Lewis Hamilton in the process.
Jenson has alot of reasons to feel positive about next year. While the attention may have moved to Sebastian and Fernando for the title fight, McLaren this year had the best overall car, reliability not withstanding and finished the season with two wins and what would have likely been a third at Abu Dhabi if not for Hamilton’s failure. This is the first time in quite a few seasons McLaren have had the performance edge on Red Bull and also for the first time in recent history Button will have the car development and design tailored to his style, Perez would have had next to no input in the 2013 car.
If anything the time Jenson and Lewis spent together showed that in the right circumstances that Button can be a match for arguably the best driver in the sport and over three years as team mates it was actually Jenson who had the most points overall, although that had alot to do with Lewis’ non-finishes this year. One things for sure, with the unofficial team leader role, the car that was the class of the field and Jenson’s reliable, fast and secure driving style, he is a strong tip for the 2012 WDC favorite, if not a slightly outsider choice.