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Jenson Button: We are friends and we’ll fight

Jenson Button feels he and Lewis Hamilton are proof team-mates can have a healthy relationship at the circuit and still fight for the title.

The issue of intra-team harmony was brought into sharp focus in the run up to Sunday’s British GP and throughout the course of what proved to be a dramatic weekend.

Despite question marks raised about the health of Button’s working status with Hamilton at McLaren, it was instead the bitterness that exists between their rivals at Red Bull, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, that hit the headlines.

Webber’s unhappiness at what he perceived was favouritism towards Vettel ahead of qualifying on Saturday culminated in a magnificent British Grand Prix victory.

But his pointed remarks about being a number two driver, and stating that he would never have re-signed for the team given the circumstances, only served to highlight his growing antipathy.

As for Button and Hamilton, who finished second and fourth on home soil, they will keep doing what they have been doing, no matter how much people try to rake up dirt.

“I think everyone’s been taking the mick out of us that we get on well as team-mates and as a team, but it’s what works for us,” said Button.

“I’ve just got to sort myself out a little bit in qualifying and make sure I’m in a good place at the start of the race so that I can fight it out at the front.

“In that situation Lewis and I, if we both qualify well, will be fighting wheel to wheel, and we will fight as hard as anyone, but we still work together well.

“We are hungry for success and for winning. We wouldn’t have become World Champions if we weren’t hungry for that.

“But we get on well at the moment. That might not always be the case, but we are going to try and keep it that way.

“I think it keeps a very good environment within the team, and it pushes everyone here really hard.

“Both sides of the garage work for us, and although they obviously want our car to beat the other car, you don’t get this split garage.

“It seems in some teams you want to put a wall up in the middle, but we share information, and that is so important.

“They (Red Bull) have a very different situation. It might work for them, it might not, but our situation is the best I’ve experienced in Formula One.”

Hamilton, who extended his Championship lead over Button to 12 points, with Webber a further five adrift, is of the same mind as the reigning champion.

As far as the 25-year-old is concerned, there is no healthier place to be working right now than at McLaren.

“The team are performing as a group. Look at the harmony of the team,” said Hamilton, pointing to a central pod in the garage at Silverstone where engineers from both sides were working post-race.

“It’s really awesome, the best I have ever seen it, and myself and Jenson add to that.

“If there was a rift between us it would divide the sides, and we don’t have that. It’s a real team. We work together.

“No one is blinding anyone, there’s no holding anything back or hiding anything.

“It’s just a case of ‘let’s go out there, put these two cars on the front row and win this race,’ and that’s awesome.”

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