Jenson Button does not believe Lewis Hamilton would remain in Formula 1 if he found himself dropping from the front of the grid, as Button did in the latter stages of his career.
After securing his world championship in 2009 with Brawn, Button switched to McLaren, where he partnered Hamilton for three years, but the team’s issues with Honda led to Button enduring a frustrating end to his F1 career.
By contrast, Hamilton is beginning to take several all-time records, including Michael Schumacher’s for wins and world titles, which Button says will sustain his former team-mate’s desire.
“He’s always going to try to beat that record,” Button told the Evening Standard.
“When you’re in a car that’s winning all the time, no one wants to turn that down.
“If I was offered a winning car, I’d be back in F1 in a flash. But if Lewis were in the middle of the pack, I’d see him leaving at the end of this year.”
Button and Hamilton could not secure championship success when teamed together at McLaren, but a switch to Mercedes and newfound maturity has helped a run of dominance in recent years.
“He’s calmer and I think he probably believes in his ability a bit more than he did back then,” Button said.
“He had some insecurities, the speed was always there, but there was inconsistency in a race weekend. He’d get lost in data and didn’t perform to his best. Now, that doesn’t happen.”