Oh please, bourbon, stop with affecting to be in some community of privileged wisdom with Ashley and others of his persuasion. Every time you make some statement like such and such a supposed dictum will "fall by deaf ears" you are insulting whatever portion of the forum would dissent from Ashley's assertion had they registered it, which likelihood you are so enthusiastically doubtful of occurring. If that is your intention, by all means be my guest as I don't at all believe that a forum should be a place of civility as the mods and many of our Kumbaya posters would have it.
By the way Ashley, it was about time for an avatar change. Of course, discerning readers would be able to ascribe any of your posts to the author proper without that or any identifying features other than the quirks of veiled partiality which are your writing trade. Notice how he overextended himself with calling out Hamilton's post-2007 championship place record, following on that to state that Hamilton was an eschewed article as far as the collective pocketbooks of the f1 garages bar Mercedes' are concerned and that this was a direct index of the esteem in which he is held by the various team principals. Then with the abruptness of cowardice or the good hearing bourbon wishes for all our constituency (as a cowing argument was being leveled at him loud and clear) he, a person yet fairly on the attack, proceeded to back-peddle, after the most modest of factual rebuttals by lamo and others (citing the place finishes of senna and Prost in the 80s among other things) into stammering (figuratively) that 'hey that was a different time and place, things don't translate la di da di da' to save his dignity.
The funny thing is, and forgive this digression, that him and others of his ilk (I refer to mcnader, johnston and so on) are quick to trot out the newly furbished point aggregate argument vis-a-vis Jenson and Lewis without asking themselves a couple of very simple questions whose answers would have brought them a measure of perspective in the midst of their polemical zeal. How many of the frequenters of this forum can name, off the top of their head, how many race wins or pole positions Michael Schumacher has or for that matter those of any other formula one drivers? Now how many of these same people can recall how many career points the drivers in question have totaled? Though this is hardly common knowledge I myself know Schumacher holds 91 wins and 68 poles, Vettel 26 and 36, Alonso, 30 and 22, and so forth, but I couldn't offer how many points any of them have tallied if it meant my life. The first number (of capable individuals) frankly dwarfs the latter. When Schumacher broke down at that televised press conference was it because he had passed Senna's record for points? No? I thought not. Now why is that? Because points is the flimsiest, least permanent, least translatable, and least comparative measure in f1. Can f1 drivers place points on their household mantle top and shine them for the occasional visit by the in-laws, pawn them for money when they are hard by like Bjorn Borg almost did with his Wimbledon trophies some years past? When you are trying to quickly establish the caliber of an f1 driver to a motorsport amateur do you say "check it out, so-and-so accumulated 1000 points throughout their racing career!' there is no immediate impact to such a statement. But to say that "so and so had 20 or so race wins" helps to quickly locate them in the pantheon for the auditor.
And, this is a more temperamental matter and so I understand completely when many thinking posters diverge from me on the matter but podiums are in a way a semi-ignominious statistic to cite in pride. One of the things I admire about Hamilton is that of course he wants and is slowly modifying his racing approach to collect as many podiums as possible when nothing better is competitively achievable but deep down he looks on them with the kind of wry attitude that implies a sort of ethos of self-reproach on earning them reasoning 'if I was good enough to secure a third or second place position then I was good enough to win the race and should have even by actively courting a completely penurious outcome by thoroughgoing efforts to get an ultimate victory; only if I never was in with an opportunity should I be content with whatever place I could salvage; another one of these in hand is nothing to smile about'. But you get the sense that Button puts an inordinate amount of pride and stock in the acquisition of mere podiums, the psychology of an also-ran and while he isn't one himself a mentality to which I feel Alonso has fallen prey as of late and sadly to his detriment. Say what you want about Vettel but he does understand this is a winners league not a playing the percentages league. In basically only a fifth of the season he turned his championship chances around by getting WINS. Who won the championship this year? The person with the most wins. The championship as we've come to understand it for the last 20-plus years asks a very straightforward thing of any aspirant. You generally have to win at least 4 or 5 races and then mix it up properly for the rest of the season. When, the styled arch-cerebral Prost was tussling with senna he took care to usually win five or six races on the year. But see Alonso talking about maximizing his points and thinking he can hold on with a three win season when a truly maximizing approach hunts for WINS. If I was his coach I would almost tell him not to directly think about the championship at all but to get back to the level of expectation he had with Renault and even McLaren. I actually think that counter to prevailing opinion on the subject spending too much time in inadequate and midfield cars (which is what Alonso has been doing for most of his post-McLaren career) works to dull your self-expectation such that at critical junctures when you are positioned to take a win you are less capable of doing so simply by dint of the prospect no longer obtaining in one's mind as a thing that MUST for one's sense of self-respect be accomplished. If Alonso can even just get five wins next year I'm pretty sure the rest of it will take care of itself, even if Vettel is able to win seven.
So, to bring my thread back to the points aggregate argument, if button partisans wanted to land a blow they would really have to summon statistics regarding championships and wins and poles none of which flatter their picked man. What sort of real racer has less poles than years he has been in f1, with every year from 2009 to now certainly being paired with a car capable of them? To say that speed isn't the only thing that makes a great racer is merely true, and vexingly banal being a known truth to us all and so not worthy of being uttered to a community of one's peers. But to act like speed isn't a primary component, amounting almost to a majority of what is required is disingenuous. Trying to elevate Button (and current Kimi, too) to the status of the f1 triumvirate does him a disservice.
To unnerve Vettel you have to be able to do two things consistently and have the second one follow off the first: Be able to outqualify him or near him, and be able to snatch a victory from him on equal ground or put him in the shade on equal ground (sorry Mark but that disqualifies you well... off the Mark! ooh how it tickles me when a pun falls in my lap). A race like Korea shows how useless a Webber not on one of his pet tracks can be at parlaying a qualifying advantage (albeit a slim one) into a race advantage over his teammate. He ends up 8 seconds behind Vettel there from pole whereas Vettel puts him 13 behind in India in a contrasting position. Deep down Vettel and we all know that Hamilton is pretty much the only one on the grid that Vettel can put in a good lap against in qualifying and still be beaten for pole and vice versa. And if Singapore had played itself out to the end without the retirement I think we would have seen Hamilton maintain his lead on Vettel to the flag, an eventuality very suggestive to interpretation when brought together with what did actually happen in Austin. Again and again over the years we have seen Hamilton gain a distinct type of win over the Red Bulls. I guess you could call it a win for bragging rights or a calling card win, a species that intrinsically has nothing perhaps to recommend itself but one that does I think carry psychological consequences. A species that Button is peculiarly lacking in.
Almost all of Button's wins seem like the consequence of keeping his nose clean from some general dust up or brouhaha that incapacitates the greater part of the grid and never of a forcible wresting of victory from his rivals haply with the inclusion of an on track pass. Something is terribly wrong when the guy has driven a front running car for three years and had his first dry win in Spa. His specialty isn't even in wet driving per se but at 'tweenng', my word for tip toeing slicks on wet road till the track gets too wet not to switch to inters at which the true wet drivers assert themselves.
We think of Vettel as basically a qualifying and pole to flag monster. But the pressure of delivering against Hamilton in Q seemed to have him faltering at Singapore when he had shined in all the run-up sessions. A pole to flag triumph was foiled at Canada and Austin. In Germany 2011 Hamilton basically rained on the homecoming and hopeful home-win of the new champion. In China 2011 he again won a close quarters contest with Vettel. Meanwhile for Button, Brazil 2012 was a wash as far as the possibility of some meaningful competition with Vettel was concerned. In Belgium, Vettel didn't make q3 and so was too far away for them to come into competitive conflict. In Australia the performance difference between the McLaren and the Red Bull decided things too much at that stage in the game. In Japan 2011, however much losing out came to rankle Vettel (going by his admission in the press lead-up to the 2012 race he had already all but sewn up the championship (only needed a point I believe) which changed the nature of his driving. In Singapore 2012 I thought we were provided with a little-remembered situation from which to judge of Button's mettle in contesting things with Vettel. After Hamilton's retirement Button got to where he was basically breathing down Vettel's neck and then, whether it was through a failure of desire and derring-do as I incline to think, or some less damning reason more sympathetic spectators would care to supply he basically gave up the chase and resigned himself to second. Even when others win a grand prix in which Vettel happened to participate rarely are the narratives of those races as personal in the nature of their competitive involvement with Vettel as they are with a fair many of Hamilton's. And strange enough while the championship was touted as a contest between Vettel and Alonso, which it literally was, they too had little meaningful competition on track this year. They could have almost been racing at different tracks, so compartmentalized from each others' were their races at each venue—a lot of this being due to the performance gap of the cars. Perez in Malaysia alone had more significant on track competition with Alonso then Vettel dd. Now the thing I'm talking about is an affair of very tenuous sensations and perceptions but I can't help but delude myself that certain other people harbor a similar take on events and would welcome their contributions of opinion. I think when historians look back on this era of f1 and try to characterize the nature of the contest, and the players, Hamilton will play a more considerable role than he currently does though if he never sees his way through his coming Mercedes years to the holding of another championship it may only be the role of inspired occasional foil (note how I didn't say occasional inspired foil).
To conclude with my dressing down of a certain someone: When people ask Ashley to enumerate the driving errors that Hamilton made during the 2012 season he offers none but opts for some general comment to the effect of 'well everyone had misfortunes befall them etc. etc. but some persons 'namely my boy, wink wink' get the job done anyway'--a bald evasion. He then tries to diffuse the opposition he had provoked in making the extent of some of his true feelings clearer earlier by finally centering his reservations with Hamilton on an area that is strictly outside of his functions as a driver. To finally have to rest his criticism of Hamilton on a calling into-question of his administrative capacities is a duck and a defeat.