Jenson Button says Lewis Hamilton has become a “more rounded character” since their days as McLaren team-mates to the point where he can be calm about a poor race, which would never have happened then.
Hamilton made his debut in Formula 1 back in 2007 as part of the McLaren team and by 2010, Button, fresh off winning the 2009 World Championship with Brawn, became team-mate to Hamilton at McLaren.
Their spell as team-mates lasted three seasons, Hamilton generally excelling in that pairing despite Button outscoring him in 2011, with Hamilton then making the move to Mercedes in time for the 2013 campaign.
Lewis Hamilton now “more rounded character” at the wheel
Hamilton’s current team-mate George Russell also ticked off the rare achievement of outscoring Hamilton across the 2022 season, Russell’s first in Mercedes colours, though Hamilton wrestled back the upper hand in F1 2023, scoring 234 points to Russell’s 175 and claiming six podiums to Russell’s two.
Button then was asked how he went about keeping himself at the top of his game every race weekend in the intra-team battle against Hamilton.
“Well, that’s the thing: I didn’t,” he told Sky F1. “I had some great days, but the problem is I wasn’t consistent enough alongside Lewis.”
Hamilton and Button both had a World Championship to their name when they were McLaren team-mates, but it was Hamilton’s switch to Mercedes which opened the door for him to become the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time.
Now with seven titles on his CV – jointly holding the record with Michael Schumacher – alongside outright benchmarks for most wins, poles and podiums, Hamilton has grown into a “more rounded character in the car” according to Button, who made it clear his compatriot has “come a long way” since their time as team-mates.
“He’s unbelievable in terms of his natural ability and I think he’s come a long way since we were team-mates as well in terms of a more rounded character in the car,” said Button.
“So he’s very difficult to beat and he’s also so relaxed. If he has a bad race, he’s kind of relaxed about it. He wasn’t like that 10 years ago.”
Both Hamilton and Russell have committed their futures to the Mercedes team, signing new deals running until the end of 2025.