Jenson Button win eclipsed by livid Lewis Hamilton's leak

The former F1 champ won well at Spa but fellow McClaren driver is not so popular after tweeting secret telemetry photos

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 September, 2012, 2:37am

There won't be too many drivers walking into the paddock in Monza this weekend with their head held high, but Jenson Button certainly has reason to be bursting with pride and optimism. Given the chaos and carnage behind him in Spa on Sunday, his was the most calm and collected drive of the season.

The Briton hadn't been on pole in 50 races for McLaren, and hadn't headed the qualifying field since Monaco in 2009. Before Spa he was answering questions about whether he was going to be the water carrier for teammate Lewis Hamilton. It will be a little different heading into this weekend. He may still be behind Hamilton in the standings (and two race wins behind leader Fernando Alonso), but his serene "lights to flag" win will surely bring him momentum and galvanise the team.

The same couldn't be said for his McLaren stablemate. Just when you thought Lewis Hamilton had finally matured and stopped being such a stroppy blighter, he manages to alienate the whole team. Mind you, other teams will be lining up to buy him an Italian beer after tweeting pictures of top secret McLaren telemetry.

It's hard to underline just how stupid his actions were. They may just be squiggles on a computer screen to you and I, but telemetry from a car is a treasury of information - especially in the hands of other teams. Other sportsmen have form when it comes to ill-judged tweets, but I doubt the outspoken Rio Ferdinand would ever dare reveal Alex Ferguson's team talk.

His frustration stemmed from a wrong choice of rear wing in qualifying. Button chose the new design and flew. Hamilton didn't and took to his phone to tweet a few choice expressions. In a way it is refreshing. In an age where everything is so carefully stage managed and press officers hover like spectres, the land of tweets circumvents the whole circus and lifts the curtain on emotions (and data).

It can be manna from heaven for fans and journalists alike. But I can guarantee it hasn't gone down well with the team. Even Button sniffed and told reporters he was "disappointed". I wonder how the contract negotiations have gone this week.

Of course Hamilton was in the thick of the action at Spa, although his day lasted just a few seconds of the race. The first corner shunt was spectacular, and then some. It's not often that watching a Formula One crash can elicit a gasp from the armchair fan, but this must surely have been one of them.

Viewing the action replays from the on-board cameras was breathtaking and frightening in equal measure. In a split second, Romain Grosjean's Lotus was flying over Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, whilst tyres bounced everywhere.

The leaps in F1 safety have been sweeping and without them the drivers would not have walked away unscathed. Nevertheless, there was another factor that saved the drivers last weekend - luck. It was a moment of clarity about how dangerous this sport can be, and it may explain the good grace in which Grosjean has accepted his one-race ban.

Of course none of this helps us understand the season any better as we arrive in Monza, the 13th stop in the championship. There is no real narrative, no compelling story to the title race, because no one can work out what the story is.

Perhaps Fernando Alonso's Ferrari will bounce back amongst the Italian countryside and the Tifosi. Maybe the good fortune of Sebastian Vettel from Spa's carnage will gain pace and he will motor towards a third consecutive title. Possibly Kimi Raikkonen will make good on Lotus' claim that their man can come out on top. The problem is, with Kers and DRS and disintegrating tyres, no-one knows (or is brave enough to stick their neck out).

For some, the uncertainty is unbearable. For the rest of us it's a rare luxury.