Jenson Button believes at least one of the British drivers will be in podium contention at their home race at Silverstone this weekend.
The Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are joined by Lando Norris as the ‘Brit pack’ on the grid in 2023, with the McLaren driver having secured his first top-five finish of the season in Austria last time out.
Button believes the race is Max Verstappen’s to lose once again, with the reigning World Champion on a five-race winning streak and seemingly unbeatable on current form, but he thinks the British contingent can be in the fight for the podium.
Jenson Button: Lewis Hamilton or George Russell will make podium at Silverstone
When discussing the prospects of the drivers this weekend and pressed for his predictions of a top three, Button, who drove for the Brackley-based team now known as Mercedes when they were BAR, Honda and Brawn back in the 2000s, has backed his former colleagues to get in on the fight for the podium come Sunday.
Hamilton and Russell looked off the pace in free practice on Friday and the team struggled for pace in Austria, but he thinks they will be able to get in among the fight again come the weekend.
“I think Max, you know, he’s just dominant at the moment, the car is also dominant,” Button told On Track GP, the YouTube channel launched in partnership between PlanetF1.com and DR Sports, when asked to pick a winner and top three for the British Grand Prix.
“I think that one of the Brits will be in second or third. So I’m thinking it’s more likely going to be Lewis and George than Lando, but the McLaren does look strong as well.
“So from what Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team principal] said, this is a good track for Mercedes. I want to see Lewis and George fighting for a podium position, I think that’d be great for the fans.”
Alongside remaining an active driver in other series, having taken on NASCAR in Chicago last weekend and Le Mans last month, and in TV punditry with Sky Sports, Button is also involved with Williams as a senior advisor.
Both Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant enjoyed a strong day around Silverstone on Friday, with both drivers making it into the top five in FP2 as the car showed strong signs of form.
Given the team’s current trajectory, the 2009 World Champion, who started his career in Formula 1 as a Williams driver back in 2000, feels the team could make their way up in the Constructors’ standings, now that key infrastructure changes are in place.
“I think eighth in the championship is definitely on,” Button stated.
“Whether they get seventh? That’s something altogether different, but that would be great. You know, it’s a great comeback from a tough couple of years.
“For me, Montreal was just an epic race, for Alex to hold them back for that long. I know how tough that is mentally to have to hold people back.
“You’re judging the whole time where to put the car, when to push the car to stop them from overtaking and it’s tough, so fair play to him and the whole team for their progress.
“The great thing is that the wind tunnel is doing as it should, the correlation is there, and that’s the big thing: Now it’s easier to develop the car.
“The correlation is there from the wind tunnel [to the] track [and] the simulation.”
Watch all of the 2009 World Champion’s thoughts speaking to On Track GP by clicking on the video below, and you can head to the full YouTube channel, launched in collaboration between PlanetF1.com and DR Sports, to subscribe and watch our videos from the season so far.