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Always on the Button

Jenson Button's growing prowess on the race track is leading to a feeling that the 2009 champion is becoming McLaren't team leader.

When he first joined the team it was widely thought that he'd play second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton, but Hamilton has had a lacklustre 2011 and now sits nine points adrift of his team-madte in the standings.

Button has told the Telegraph that he is driving better now than when he won the championship at Brawn. 'It is to do with confidence after winning the world championship,' the 31-year-old said, 'feeling the team around me and being in a good place off the circuit.'

'I took my engineers and mechanics out for dinner on Saturday night in Italy. It is not for a competitive edge over Lewis's side of the garage, it was to pay them back for all the hard work they have done,' he added.

Button is also satisfied with his role in the development of McLaren's 2012 car. 'They are really listening to what I have to say,' he said. 'Every time I drive the simulator we test something that I specifically want.

'I don't think I am having more of a say but I think they are listening more, which is nice," he added.

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