Jenson Button and Damon Hill discuss if Lewis Hamilton is the GOAT

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After Lewis Hamilton became the driver with most wins in Formula 1 history, Jenson Button and Damon Hill were asked to discuss the F1 GOAT.

After Hamilton broke the record for most F1 wins, 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button gave a few words about the six-time champion.

“Lewis has obviously found himself in the best environment,” Button said.

“He’s with Mercedes, they’ve won every year of the hybrid era, but they’re pretty much done it [the drivers’ title] with him every time.

“So he’s doing a fantastic job and 92 wins, it is exceptional. But I really do hope that he is challenged a bit more in the future – and I think that he would want that as well.”

Button added new Formula 1 regulations, that will be introduced in 2022, might shake up the field and provide Lewis with more of a challenge.

“With the new regulations coming up in 2022, Mercedes won’t have it all their own way, which I think is great for Lewis.

“We know he’s a great talent but we all want to see him challenged a bit more and fighting for those wins a bit harder.

“He’s still hungry and you always are when you’re winning. It’s easy to be hungry when you’re winning races. But I think he’d really like someone like Max [Verstappen] to be able to push him more.

“I really want Red Bull and Ferrari to be more competitive because we want the teams fighting it out for the championship as well.

“When he’s just got his team-mate to worry about, it’s not as exciting. He’ll still take the win – of course he will, we all would – but fighting towards the end of a race with someone like Verstappen and Red Bull, that’s got to mean a lot more to you.

“Lewis will become a seven-time world champion this year and probably an eight-time world champion next year, and then he might have a bit more competition which would be great to see.”

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1996 F1 champion Damon Hill also gave a few words about the six-time champion.

“He has an enormous natural talent but it’s allied also to a burning desire to be the best,” Hill said.

“He’s a very competitive, driven individual and he’s passionate about racing. He knows he has got a special opportunity and he has looked after himself in that regard.

“He has made sure he has been given the best chances to deliver all his potential.

Hill went on to highlight the difficulties Hamilton faced back in his karting days, as he was the “only black karter there”.

“You can’t imagine what it was like for him as a young karter turning up to race tracks and being the only black karter there. He’s let his driving do the talking.

“As his dad said, the way to respond is to go out there and let your driving do the talking. His message has got through loud and clear I think.”

Sky Sports F1 asked Button and Hill to discuss who the greatest of all time in Formula 1 is.

“This is always a tricky question and I don’t get it either because you can’t compare someone like [Juan-Manuel] Fangio with Lewis Hamilton,” said Button.

“You can probably compare Michael Schumacher with Lewis Hamilton because it was kind of similar eras and they were both in a team that could give them a great car.

“But you can’t compare all different eras, decades, generations. Fangio got in a race car and didn’t put any seat-belts on and wore a leather helmet.

“You can’t compare, it’s very different. All we know is Lewis is doing a great job with what he’s given and he’s the best driver in the world right now,” concluded the 2009 champion.

Damon Hill agrees it’s difficult to compare drivers from different eras in Formula 1.

“When you go for the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ this is not the same era as it was in Fangio’s day or Moss’s day,” Hill said.

“The landscape has changed in terms of risk, for example, and also the number of races they do, reliability and all those sorts of things. So it’s very difficult to compare.

“But there’s no question that Lewis is the best driver of his era. What you can say is that right now he’s knocking down all of the records and making new ones. No one can touch him.”

The duo was then asked to give their thoughts on how long can Hamilton go on in Formula 1.

“Looking at him right now I think he could probably go on easily for another four or five years if he wanted to,” said Hill.

“The question is appetite, I think. How hungry are you and how much to do you want to get on a plane, get jet-lag and turn up at another circuit in another part of the world, do all the promotional stuff and all the other stuff that happens?

“What he’s done is that he’s made sure he’s not exhausted. He’s got his other life which he’s carved out of his contracts, he’s given liberty to go and do the things he loves doing.

“Every time he turns up at race meeting, he seems hungry to get on with it. He likes racing his car. The question is if he doesn’t get a competitive car, how long does the hunger last?

Button agrees his car’s competitiveness will pay a role in the Briton’s decision to retire.

“I think he’s going to be around until the car’s not competitive – which could be another five years,” concluded Button.

Source: Sky Sports F1

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