McLaren: Still not time for team orders
25 September 2012 – Martin Whitmarsh insists that both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will continue to race for the world title this year, with the latter is now 23 points behind his team-mate with six races to go. Heading to Japan next weekend, Hamilton is the team’s highest-placed driver but trails Fernando Alonso by 52 points.
Between Japan and the season finale in Brazil, there are a maximum of 150 points on offer, with 25 having been offered for a victory since the start of 2010.
“We’ve got six races left and we know we’ve got a quick car and a strong,” Team Principal Whitmarsh told BBC Sport after Hamilton retired from the lead in Singapore. “We will battle on. Suzuka is a very different circuit, it’s one that we would hope we are going to be strong on, so we’ll keep pushing and see what we can do.”
When asked if Button should now play a supporting role, Whitmarsh replied:
“No. I think, at the moment, the best thing we can do is make sure we develop, keep a quick car, keep calm, keep focussed, keep pushing and both drivers are going to be driving as hard as they can at Suzuka.”
Last year in Japan, Button won his first all-dry Grand Prix from Alonso as Sebastian Vettel finished third to claim a second consecutive world title.