Button lists drivers he believes could challenge Hamilton

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Lewis Hamilton’s former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button says the six-time champion “needs somebody that’s going to challenge him and Mercedes”.

Button and Hamilton were partners at McLaren from 2010 until 2012, with Button coming out on top in the standings in 2011. The Briton was asked how Lewis compares to other Formula 1 greats.

“Comparing records is a tricky one,” Button said.

“We all like a number and we all like to beat a number, but it’s really difficult to compare. All you can say is he’s done the best job he can and the team have done a fantastic job.

“They’ve not been beaten in the hybrid era and Lewis has won all but one championship with them.”

The 2009 champion believes Hamilton needs to have more of a challenge from his team-mate.

“I don’t see that changing either. It’s going to continue until he stops, or until he gets a teammate that can actually challenge him.

“He’s definitely learned from his teammates, and he’s definitely a more rounded driver than when we were teammates.

“But if he had a teammate like Max [Verstappen], we would see a different driver from Lewis.

“He needs to have that challenge, otherwise he’ll just keep doing the same thing and he’s going to keep winning the championship.

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“He needs somebody that’s going to challenge him and Mercedes. You can’t blame them because it’s easier if they’ve got one guy who is quicker than the other.

“I know Valtteri gets close in qualifying and sometimes outqualifies him, but race pace compared to Lewis this year, he’s nowhere near him.”

The obvious choices for Mercedes’ second seat in the future are the outfits’ junior drivers George Russell and Esteban Ocon. Button, however, doesn’t believe they ready to challenge Lewis and lists the drivers he thinks could do it.

“I don’t think George is ready to be up against Lewis yet, there aren’t many drivers that are. Max [Verstrappen], Charles [Leclerc] and Daniel Ricciardo – that’s it I reckon, those are the guys that are ready to challenge Lewis.

“I’d love to see Danny Ric up against Lewis, because I think he would mentally hurt Lewis a lot.

“He would be quick and he would laugh everything off, he would be so relaxed, so down to earth, he’s a proper character and I know that most drivers would find that difficult,” concluded Button.

Source: motorsport.com

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