Jenson Button has suggested Lewis Hamilton is as good as ever in terms of “outright speed” despite two years without a win.
Button shared a garage with Hamilton for 58 races during their time at McLaren and aside from a certain telemetry incident, largely got on well with each other.
And Button clearly holds his former team-mate in high regard and suggested that he looks as hungry as ever.
Jenson Button backs Lewis Hamilton for further F1 success
Hamilton is statistically the most successful driver of all-time and after two years without a win, many wondered whether he may choose to leave the sport he once was at the top of.
But Button believes it has gone the other way with Hamilton more determined than ever to win again.
“When you’ve won for so many years and then suddenly that’s taken away from you, it can work in two different ways,” Button told Sky Sports.
“One, you are just like ‘well, there’s no point anymore, I want to retire, I’ve been at the peak for so long and now I’ve not won a race in two years’.
“But also it can make you more hungry to get back to that, and Lewis is in that position right now I think.”
But Button believes that even as Hamilton turns 39, he has lost none of his ability and still has the “outright speed” that won him a record-equalling seven world titles.
“Lewis is as good as ever I would say in terms of his outright speed, but also now he seems much more comfortable in himself and confident in his ability, so he makes fewer mistakes. So he’s even better now than he was five or six years ago,” the 2009 World Champion said.
“That’s tough [for his rivals]. If he gets a car that’s competitive enough to fight for victories, when someone is that strong and that confident in themselves it’s difficult to beat, as you can see with Max Verstappen right now.”
Button also included the Mercedes duo as one of the strongest driver line-ups.
“There are some seriously strong driver line-ups,” he said.
“Mercedes, can’t go past those two. I know Lewis [Hamilton], we were team-mates for three years, and for George [Russell] to get as close as he has to Lewis is impressive.”