Lewis Hamilton feeling pressure from Jenson Button - McLaren boss

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is pinning some of the blame for Lewis Hamilton's string of clashes with Felipe Massa on Jenson Button's form.

Hamilton and Massa collided again during Sunday's Indian Grand Prix as Button finished second behind winner Sebastian Vettel.

"Lewis, the great, exciting driver that he is, will not like being beaten by Jenson," said Whitmarsh.

"For any driver, the first driver you want to beat is your team-mate."

Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, came home seventh in India after his chances of a podium finish were ruined by a crash while trying to pass Massa on lap 24.

Massa was adjudged to be in the wrong, receiving a drive-through penalty before retiring later in the race after hitting a kerb and damaging the front suspension on his Ferrari.

Button, meanwhile, finished second behind world champion Vettel to consolidate his second place in the championship, 38 points ahead of fellow Briton Hamilton, who is fifth behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Mark Webber.

Button, the 2009 world champion, has recorded three wins and been on the podium 10 times this season.

Hamilton has scored two victories of his own but also picked up six penalties, including a three-place grid drop in India for ignoring caution flags.

McLaren team principal Whitmarsh added: "Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performances from Jenson at the moment.

"I don't want him to enjoy being beaten by his team-mate. I want him to try to beat Jenson, just as I want Jenson to try to beat Lewis."

Whitmarsh added that he felt Massa was also struggling to come to terms with the dominant form of Ferrari team-mate Alonso.

"Felipe is under enormous pressure within that team and that causes him to react," he said.

Hamilton, who recently split with long-time girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, has suffered a number of disappointments this season.

Asked whether he felt Hamilton had been too hard on himself, Whitmarsh replied: "Yes, I do frankly. I have told him on several occasions, 'Don't apologise, you're a racing driver. If you've made a mistake, accept it, learn from it and move on'.

"He is very analytical. He's very serious about trying to do the best job he can.

"He's much too hard on himself but I've known Lewis for a long, long time and he has always been like that since he was in karts. That's his way, that's his psychology and that's how he motivates himself.

"His body language this weekend has been much more positive than for the last races.

"He has all the skills. We saw him qualify and race fantastically at the last race [in Korea, where he finished second] and qualify fantastically here. It can change."

The latest clash between Hamilton and Massa came on lap 24 of the race at the Buddh International Circuit.

The two touched as Hamilton dived down the inside of his Brazilian rival at Turn Five.

The nose of Hamilton's car was damaged in the incident, forcing him to pit, but Massa managed to continue.

The pair had previously banged wheels in Monaco and Singapore, resulting in a drive-through penalty for the McLaren star on each occasion.

Hamilton, who pipped Massa to the world title in 2008, has admitted the relationship between the two drivers is not good - but Whitmarsh rejected suggestions he and Ferrari should organise a meeting to clear the air.

"They're men, they've got to figure it out for themselves," said the McLaren chief, who said he had spoken to Ferrari about the pair.