The Briton currently lies eighth in the drivers’ standings, and although he is 14 points ahead of teammate Kevin Magnussen, he has struggled to soundly beat the rookie despite being one of the most experienced drivers on the grid.
Dennis, who returned to power at McLaren at the beginning of the year, has given him the call to up his game.
“I’m sure Kevin is giving a big wake-up call to Jenson,” he told Sky Sports. “In some ways you say, ‘Great, we’ve made a great choice with Kevin,’, and in other ways you say, ‘Come on Jenson, you are a world champion, absolutely one thing that you can do on a consistent basis – and should be doing – is beating your teammate.'”
Button joined McLaren in 2010 following his world championship victory with Brawn GP, and came second in the 2011 drivers’ championship for the team. However, he appears to have lacked some of the old spark this year.
“Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do,” Dennis remarked. “He’s a highly paid grand prix driver.
“Yes, we’re not giving him the best car. Yes, it’s challenging for him to win in this car. But he could do his bit. And Kevin has got to make it as difficult for him as possible.”
Button’s motivation has been questioned following the death of his father, John, over the winter break. However, as we saw in Australia and in Canada, the Briton still has the ability to race and fight, with the troublesome MP4-29 car not aiding matters.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.