2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button recently spoke about all the teammates he has raced alongside. Since his debut in 2000, the British driver has come a long way and eventually won the title in 2009.
Button has partnered a number of drivers in his heyday, including Jacques Villleneuve, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. However, he confessed that from a technical standpoint, none of them could hold a candle to Rubens Barrichello.
Button and Barrichello partnered each other for four seasons with a works Honda team. Later on, when Honda left, they teamed up again at the newly-formed Brawn GP team. It was with them that Button won the world championship.
A year later, Brawn was bought by Mercedes and Button switched to McLaren, partnering Lewis Hamilton. After Hamilton left in 2013, Fernando Alonso joined in 2015.
Button admitted that Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso ranked highly among his 13 team-mates in F1. However, in the technical department, Barrichello’s knowledge ruled the roost.
Speaking to F1’s ‘Beyond the Grid’ podcast, Button said: “I don’t know what ‘best team-mate’ means really.
“Fastest teammate would be Lewis and team-mate that was strong in every area would be Fernando.
“They all had weaknesses, as I had weaknesses, but they were both drivers that were remembered for their extreme talent and for their championships.
“The team-mate that I felt technically was above the rest, head and shoulders above the rest, would be Rubens – [he was] very talented when it came to setting up the car, I learned a lot from him.
“The one that surprised me the most was probably Checo [Perez], his speed and how on certain days he could be very quick.
He noted that in Sergio Perez’ case, he struggled at circuits that had front limitation, while the opposite was true for circuits that had rear limitation. The 39-year old admitted that he was surprised by Perez’ pace on circuits with rear limitation.
He concluded, “There’s many drivers that had talents and skills that stood out, [but] there’s not one really that I would say, ‘He (Barrichello) was the best by far’.”