Mid-Season Review: Button vs. Magnussen


Ahead of F1's return to action at Spa we're taking a look at how the drivers are faring against their team-mates. Next up, fallen giants McLaren.

A season of mediocrity has befallen McLaren once again after the false dawn that was Australia. Despite being powered by the all-conquering Mercedes engine they are usually the slowest of the likewise-powered cars, leaving them mired in the midfield.

There have been flashes of the powerhouse team we all know and love, but they have been few and far between. Again, the focus has shifted to "next year" and "the future", but eventually these times arrive. The results will need to as well. 

Jenson Button - Highest grid: 4th. Highest finish: 3rd

Questions surround the future of the 2009 World Champion and it's hard for the Brit to answer his critics in such a Jekyl-and-Hyde car as the MP4-29. For every result like the ones he managed in Canada and Great Britain - both courageous 4th places - there are races like China and Spain where McLaren, and Jenson, were completely anonymous.

A team in turmoil needs cool heads, and there's few cooler than Jenson. He's getting a hard time from Magnussen, which is exactly what the young Dane is there to do, but Button is delivering dogged, efficient performances like we all know he can. 

Kevin Magnussen - Highest grid: 3rd. Highest finish: 2nd

Taking that stunning debut aside, and Kevin Magnussen has had a season that most rookies would be satisfied with - strong points finishes coupled with harnessing the raw talent that got him the seat to begin with. While there have been several errors that could have been avoided, like his string of collisions with Kimi Raikkonen and his involvement in Felipe Massa's roll in Germany, there resides in Kevin a brilliantly fast Formula One driver that is giving a World Champion cause for concern.

He'll need to work hard to make sure that second place in Australia isn't the benchmark to which his whole season is based upon. It's still a mightily impressive achievement, but careers are not reflected in a single race result.

Verdict: Experience overcomes the exuberance of youth in this case to see Jenson come out on top, but Kevin is a lot closer than many thought possible.