Is Vettel really doing a Button (2009)


I have read in many posts that this season is very similar to 2009 and how Vettel's results match those of Button. However, although both had brililant starts with 6 wins early on, Button just dropped off afterwards with no podium until the last last race, when he had won the championship. I dont recall the exact results but in a post there a comparison of his and Barichello's results, quali and race and there was a huge difference. On the contrary, Vettel, since his 6 wins has managed two 2nd and a fourth. So does anyone else think he would fall off, or continue his consistent run and notch more race wins, particularly at circuits like Singapore and Suzuka where he excels.
The 2009 results can be seen here:

In the last 5 races Jenson managed 2 podiums and finished ahead of Rubens in 3 of them.
In the last 10 races the results were split evenly with each driver finishing ahead of the other 5 times.

The situation is slightly different as Brawn had no money to develop the car throughout the season so were caught quite quickly by the other teams.
Although McLaren and Ferrari have closed the gap to Red Bull this season, they are still very competitive and in with a chance of winning each race.
I don’t think he’s doing a Button yet as he’s still qualifying very well unlike Button who is generally an average qualifier unless he has a significant car advantage. I think JB didn’t qualify front row for a ridiculous amount of races after the Brawn’s superiority was neutralised and this is where the issues began. When you’re fighting for the championship, the middle of the pack is the last place to be. What Vettel has to guard against is DNFs because he’ll comfortably get over the finish line if he carries on driving the way he is picking up valuable points.
I think Seb is doing a 'I'm so far ahead I'm gonna be smart and stay out of trouble'

I mean when he found himself in second place in Hungry with only Button in front of him did anybody think he was going to risk throwing it off the slightly damp track trying to chase Jenson down? not a chance. He know as long as he keeps finishing in the top 4 there is very little chance anyone can catch him. Let them fight each other is his philosophy right now.
In fact, Seb only needs to finish 3rd at every race and he's won.

His closest challenger, Mark, would still be 5 points behind, even if he won every remaining race.
I think Spa and Monza (tracks where traditionally Red Bull have "struggled" i.e. not won) will be make or break for the chasing pack. But Seb only has to weather that storm and he should be well set. He's been stunning in Suzuka the last 2 years, Abu Dhabi he won last year. Korea was good until the blowup. He also won Brazil I think? He's very strong coming into the end of the year. Personally I think it's over after seeing Hungary.

Back on topic I can see what you're getting at but I think these are very different circumstances. Jenson was going after his first title (and the first is always the hardest mentally for a driver in my opinion) in a car that wasn't being updated at the same speed as other teams. What "saved" him was the 3 other challengers didnt push him hard enough in the run-in (especially Rubens), whereas this year the pack of drivers behind may close the gap but take points off each other as well. Also Sebastian is a very good qualifier, something that has let down Jenson in the past. I can't foresee Seb having much trouble in the run-in unless he has a disastrous end of European season. God I'm blathering!!!
The 2009 results can be seen here:

In the last 5 races Jenson managed 2 podiums and finished ahead of Rubens in 3 of them.
In the last 10 races the results were split evenly with each driver finishing ahead of the other 5 times.

The situation is slightly different as Brawn had no money to develop the car throughout the season so were caught quite quickly by the other teams.
Although McLaren and Ferrari have closed the gap to Red Bull this season, they are still very competitive and in with a chance of winning each race.

I can't help but agree with you on just about everything. It's getting embarrassing. ;)
hence why Vettel is making sure he doesn't get any!

Because his rim and floor management are so good. Sorry, couldn't resist.

But yes. That Red Bull looks bullet proof and he is not making any race ending mistakes either. Doing a good job.

I would say that Vettel is over-rated, but actually I don't think he is. The pundits, in general, all seem to be aware of his strengths and weaknesses too.

If you have the fastest car, Vettel is your man. If you need a driver who can mix it up, look elsewhere. Red Bull have the right guy in their car at the moment, but if they don't produce another blinder next year, I wouldn't expect the other main contenders to be too worried about him.
Yeah I expect at least 1 before the end of the season but then Red Bulls have looked pretty bullet proof for a change
Vettel, unlike Button, only has two makes that are very competitive. McLaren and Ferrari. He doesn't need be concerned about Mercedes and the he's guaranteed to qualify and finish at least 5th or 6th, barring mechanical or error.

Button had McLaren and Red Bull ahead...but then Toyota and BMW also began to out-qualify him as did Raikkonen when Ferrari began to focus on optimising the car towards the Finn's liking. Force India on the faster circuits (like Spa and Monza) also were a force.

Further, Barricello out-scored him in the 2nd half after the Brazilian's brake material was changed to his liking.

Often, Button was qualifiying worse than 6th and even 10th, 11th and 14th because of a handful of cars being faster than Brawns...and there's evidence he also started to bottle it a couple of times (which is only natural when you're in your first ever Championship fight).

Vettel, as I said, only has 2 makes of car to worry about and as Mark Hughes says here:

...Ferrari will be tops when its hotter...and McLaren will be tops when it's cooler/damp (Nurburgring, Hungaroring).

He says Ferrari expect to "walk" Suzuka - a place which is both warm and hard on tyres...when it's opposite weather wise and track lay out wise, Vettel at least should have Massa covered.
When these comparisons started flying around several races ago, I initially scoffed at the notion. Recently however, I have started to re-think this a bit.

There is obviously one striking similarity between the two seasons: Both men had an unassailable car advantage for the first half of the season while absolutely dominating their teammate. After mid-season though, both their car advantages had been essentially neutralized. Brawn was caught up because other teams followed suit with the Double Diffuser and they couldn't develop their car very much at all. Reb Bull's wings have been clipped because they cannot run extreme engine maps in qualifying or in short bursts during the GP.

So far though, Vettel doesn't seem nearly as far off as Button did in the 2nd half of 2009. I still get the feeling Seb could win at pretty much any meeting if the cards fall correctly. Jenson rarely challenged for race wins in his title clinching run and was outclassed by his teammate in the process. He appeared to be in constant consolidation mode. Only time will tell if Sebastian follows a similar route.

Whether or not Button just cruised around in the 2nd half of 09, collecting consistent points in order to secure his championship without pushing as hard as possible, one thing was painfully obvious; he was outpaced by every other competitive car.

After his 6th victory in Turkey, Button scored the 6th most points of all the drivers for the rest of the season.

(Post Turkey)
Vettel - 54
Webber - 42
Barrichello - 42
Hamilton - 40
Raikkonen - 39
Button - 34

I don't see this happening with Vettel this year. As has already been mentioned, Red Bull have the resources to develop their car all they want, so they won't be hampered in the way Brawn were. I also do not think that Seb will be satisfied by coasting the 2nd half. I'm sure he'll pick up a couple more wins along the way and emphatically clinch the championship.

So I guess after thinking it through and writing this post, I do not believe that Vettel is "doing a Button" this year. There are certainly some similarities, but I'm not convinced it will play out the same way.
To be fair, it was only one McLaren and one Ferrari in 2009 that would out-qualify Button, and the Ferrari didn't always, the Toyota's and BMW's were only strong at some tracks, and it as usually just one driver from that team.

Barrichello's qualifying average at the second half of the season was "4.3" it would have been a bit higher but he couldn't go for a second run in Q2 in Hungary and qualified 13th, for hungary is you put in his average qualifying compared to Button it would have been "3.6". While Button's qualifying average at the second have of the season was "8th" and that was with no problems like Barrichello. That's from Silverstone onwards.

I don't even know why I put those statistics up, I was working through them and forgot my point.

Button only had one DNF in 2009, Vettel will surely have won, the lowest position bar the DNF Button finished in 2009 was 8th, the last points scoring position, Vettel has another advantage here as he can finish 10th and still score a point.

Barrichello had 2 races where he didn't score points in 2009, compared to Button's one, Vettel had 5 non-scoring finishes and that was Button's nearest challenger, Webber had 4.

This year Vettel's had none so far,, as does Webber, Hamilton has 1, Alonso has 1, and Button has 2.

Is Vettel really doing a Button? Well so far I have only assessed Button's second half of 2009, and it looks as if he slipped quite a bit, I don't see that happening with Vettel, as he is a better qualifier, and after his 6 wins he has finished 2nd three times and 4th once, while Button at the same time after his 6 wins finished 6th once, then 5th then 7th twice.

EDIT: Keke beat me to it!
In 09 the circumstances were very different to now,after the brawn period of dominance, they dropped offand although red bull are now looking vulnerable, they are never likely to be as far off the relative pace as the brawn was at the end of 09.

Needless to say, I expect vettel to have it sewn up with 2 or even 3 races to go, even if he does not win another race, which I am sure he will.
Yes and no. He's somewhere between a Schumacher 04 and a Hill 96. The nearest parallel is with Button in 09, but Seb has led a lap since Valencia anyway!

The most important similarity is that no-one was able in 2009 to put a consistent challenge together, and that the winner is going to be different on hot or cold tracks.
If Vettel doesn't win the title this year he should retire out of pure shame.

Seriously though he'll probably get a DNF at some point, but the chasers need him to get 3 or 4, which isn't that likely to be honest.
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