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The not-so-odd couple

Martin Williamson July 10, 2010
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Much of the build-up to the British Grand Prix has surrounded the battle between Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and whether the pair of them will pretty much declare open war on each other at Silverstone.

Ever since Button signed for McLaren at the end of 2009 the media has been eager to portray him and Hamilton as being unlikely and unmanageable team-mates. It would not take long, so the stories went, before the pair of them were at each other's throats. But it hasn't happened.

Sometimes two big names on one team doesn't work - big egos, bigger expectations and the thorny gorilla in the room of who is the No. 1 usually come to the surface. Even when things start out all sweetness and light, it can quickly go wrong, as was the case with Senna and Prost.

But equally, it can work. Hamilton and Button have something in their favour in that they are both the same nationality, and so there is less scope for cultural misunderstanding. They also bring different strengths to the team. Button, for example, is helping with McLaren's development programme and that benefits Hamilton. Perhaps most importantly, those who see them day in, day out, report they actually get on as individuals.

There will be tougher times ahead for sure, and come the end of the season McLaren will have to make a tough choice if one of their drivers has more chance of the title than the other. There will also be moments when they can't stand the sight of each other. That's the case with even the closest partnerships.

Those wanting to write about a simmering mutual dislike between Button and Hamilton would do well to look elsewhere for now ... perhaps Red Bull or Mercedes where acrimony resulting from intra-team rivalry is close to boiling point.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA

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Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA Martin Williamson, who grew up in the era of James Hunt, Niki Lauda and sideburns, became managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group in 2007 after spells with Sky Sports, Sportal and Cricinfo