Jenson Button has had his say on the Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen team-mate debate, believing his former McLaren colleague has had to contend with tougher garage companions over time.
However, he admitted he would be “more fearful” over sharing the same car with the current World Champion, given how he is able to extract pace from whatever he is given to drive.
Button, who was Hamilton’s team-mate at McLaren for three seasons, believes the fact he has had to contend with World Champions has made his team-mates more “difficult” through his career, agreeing with Hamilton’s comments on the matter last week.
Jenson Button weighs in on Lewis Hamilton team-mate comments
Hamilton told Sky Italia last week after signing his new Mercedes contract of his belief that the calibre of his team-mates throughout his career has been higher than his 2021 title rivals, sparking heated debate from pundits on that opinion.
Explaining his viewpoint on the matter, the 2009 World Champion said there are merits to both drivers at the moment – and ultimately, they are two of the best the sport has ever seen.
“I think Lewis has had some very tough team-mates. He’s had World Champions as team-mates, whereas Max hasn’t,” Button explained on Sky Sports News.
“But for me, I would be more fearful going up against Max in the same car – and I think it is because the car is designed around his style, or he can drive a car that Adrian Newey gives him.
“I think Adrian Newey gives him a car and says: ‘This is the quickest car in the world. If you take away front downforce, it’s going to go slower, but it’ll be easier to drive’ and Max is like: ‘Right. I have to drive how you’ve made this car and I need to drive it as quick as I can.’
“So I think that he’s very good at that, and I think a lot of drivers struggle to compete with that. It’s a long answer, but it’s a difficult one.
“I think Lewis has had more difficult team-mates, but I also wouldn’t want to go up against Max. I mean, they’re all unbelievable drivers. The best in the world, and some of the best we’ve ever seen in Formula 1.
“I wish there was more competition at the front between Max, Lewis, Fernando [Alonso], those three for me are the ones that stand out.
“But it’s not the way in Formula 1, it’s a technology race and Red Bull, fair play to them, they’re doing a better job right now.”