Long time F1 fan + lurker, first time posting.
I've been a fan of Jenson for a while, I zoned out of F1 in the Schumacher years I'm afraid and only came back to it late 06. Always been a fan of Button, not because of his driving style, which is nice to watch, but because he seems a nice guy.
I want to point out three of the traits of Jenson overlooked by most on these boards.
1 - Speed
The first point is that Jenson is a far faster driver than most give him credit. Murray walker once said of Jenson that if he had a perfectly balanced car he would be one of the fastest drivers on the grid - something I agree with. The problem with Jenson, like Brundle and many others have said before, is that he can only be very fast in cars where he can point it where he wants it to go and have the confidence that the car will follow. Unlike Lewis or Alonso he is less adaptable and doesn't have the ability to bully a bad car because he is a confidence driver, but put him in a good car and he is as good as anyone. Qualifying this year in Australia was interesting, because Jenson, like him or loath him wasn't a million miles away from Lewis. Unexpected was Jensons ability to pull away from Lewis during the race, this was the first time I have seen him go head to head with Lewis in a race and out pace him fair and square, testament to the fact that he has a car this year that he seems to be very comfortable in.
2 - Team/Car Development
When Jenson moved to Mclaren I was one of the few of the opinion that he would be much closer to Lewis than expected, and I was right in some respects but I was wrong in other ways because on his first season Lewis clearly had the upper hand.
The last 2.5 years with Mclaren have been interesting to watch because the impact of JB's arrival has been noticeable. Jenson is a completely different personality compared to Lewis, he is much more mature and his head is in the F1 team game more so than Lewis'. One thing that he has repeated in several interviews is a conversation he had with one of his former team principles (can't remember who), which was 'Jenson you have good pace, but you don't know how to build a team around you to create a fast car.' That seems to have stuck with him, because I have read him say it more than once. And that is exactly what he has been doing in Mclaren. He hangs around with his team a lot outside of the circuit, goes to the pub drinking with them amongst other things and generally gets on very well with them. He has got the Mclaren personnel on his side. His signing of a contract extension last year speak volumes and of the increasing reliance Mclaren has on him. It seems to me that Jenson has effectively taken the team from under Lewis, and geared development of the new car to fit his characteristics as a driver - which is a very well balanced car.
The natural ability of Lewis I believe actually hinders his ability to help Mclaren develop a new car which is why Mclaren increasingly relies on Jenson. Lewis can get in any car and extract the best from it because of his natural ability which is hard to translate back to engineers and which I feel may mask a bad car. However Button needs balance, and is very sensitive to a poorly balanced car and therefore seems better positioned than Lewis to direct car development.
3 - Intelligence
Now that Jenson has got the team on his side, and has a car under him which best suits his driving style, the out and out one lap speed between Hamilton and Jenson is going to be much lower. Jensons race craft is much better than Lewis', and Jenson has been vocal of his opinion that he is a better racer than Lewis ever since he joined Mclaren. Lewis has been going from one mistake to another, and instead of looking at his race craft, and the decisions he has been making in the past year of racing he has been looking instead to pointing the blame at a lack of 'bubble' rather than his own split second decisions in the drivers seat - I'm getting annoyed hearing this from Lewis along with the childish sulking he openly displays and I am sure his team are too. Jensons many years spent in cars that have been poor or not suited his particular driving style has mean that he has had to rely on his racing intelligence to bring him points and victories. Lewis if anything has relied too much on his own natural talent, and has underachieved because he has neglected how to win a race using strategy.
Well there you have it.