Jenson Button believes Lewis Hamilton would rather face a proper challenge to his F1 dominance than merely breeze past Michael Schumacher’s records.
Hamilton is likely to surpass Schumacher’s total of 91 Formula 1 race wins and also match his tally of seven World Championship titles this year, while he will also be the hot favourite to make it eight next season.
But the ease in which he is writing himself into the record books may not sit comfortably with the Mercedes driver, according to Button. The 35-year-old Briton has a 44-point lead in the Championship standings after 10 of this season’s 17 races.
“I know Lewis, he likes to win, he’s definitely a winner and he’s very skilled,” Button, the 2009 World Champion and a McLaren team-mate of Hamilton for the following three years, told The i.
“But I know he won’t be enjoying winning as much now as he would have done if he had competition from outside.
“If Lewis had [Charles] Leclerc or [Sebastian] Vettel or Max Verstappen in equipment that could challenge him, I think he would enjoy that a lot more. Or if he had Michael Schumacher and he could beat him…that would mean more to him.
“It’s a tough one because you take every win that you get, but you want the competition to be there to challenge you for that win.”
Button also thinks that while Hamilton publicly claims not to be too concerned about holding records – at least while he is still competing – his private thoughts about that matter could be different.
“I think drivers say certain things to relieve pressure that comes from the outside world but also that they put on themselves,” said Los Angeles-based Button, who is working as a Sky Sports F1 broadcaster at selected races this season.
“But to have as many wins as the legend Michael Schumacher will be amazing.
“I raced with Michael during five of his World Championships and it was great just being on the circuit with him.
“He was in superior equipment most of the time but sometimes he wasn’t, so we could have a real fight and it was a privilege.”