Lewis Hamilton recently broke Michael Schumacher’s longstanding grand prix win record, and he has a good chance of equalling the German’s tally of F1 World Championships at this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
Given the circumstances, there has unsurprisingly been much debate about how Hamilton ranks against F1’s all-time greats.
And, in a recent interview with Autosport, 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button gave his two cents on the matter.
“Comparing records is a tricky one. We all like a number and we all like to beat a number, but it’s really difficult to compare,” Button said.
“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.
“I don’t see that changing either. It’s going to continue until he stops, or until he gets a team-mate that can actually challenge him.”
Continuing, Button said he believes “we would see a different driver from Lewis” if he had a team-mate, such as Max Verstappen, who could push him harder.
“He needs to have that challenge, otherwise he’ll just keep doing the same thing and he’s going to keep winning the Championship.
“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 out-qualifies him, but race pace compared to Lewis this year, he’s nowhere near him.”
Last month, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insisted that Max Verstappen isn’t first in line to land a seat with the Silver Arrows should Hamilton or Bottas choose to move on.
Specifically, the Austrian said George Russell and Esteban Ocon are at the front of the queue.
However, Button doesn’t think that the young Brit is ready to take the fight to a driver of Hamilton’s calibre.
“I don’t think George is ready to be up against Lewis yet, there aren’t many drivers that are,” Button admitted.
“Max, Charles 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,” Button added.
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