There is an increasing feeling in the F1 paddock that Jenson Button is taking up the mantle as McLaren’s team leader.
When the 2009 world champion joined the famous British team last year, many observers likened becoming Lewis Hamilton’s new teammate to stepping into the “lion’s den”.
But Hamilton has had a troubled 2011, with Button nine points ahead of his countryman in the points standings.
Button is quoted by the Telegraph as claiming he is driving better now than he did when he won the title at Brawn in 2009.
“It is to do with confidence after winning the world championship,” said the 31-year-old, “feeling the team around me and being in a good place off the circuit.
“I took my engineers and mechanics out for dinner on Saturday night in Italy. It is not for a competitive edge over Lewis’s side of the garage, it was to pay them back for all the hard work they have done,” he added.
Button also said he is playing a solid role in the development of McLaren’s 2012 car, “and they are really listening to what I have to say”.
“Every time I drive the simulator we test something that I specifically want.
“I don’t think I am having more of a say but I think they are listening more, which is nice,” he added.
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