Jenson Button has jumped to the defense of his under-fire teammate Lewis Hamilton – claiming that his critics should back off because the 2008 World Champion is doing a phenomenal job on track.
Hamilton was on the receiving end of critical comments from former World Champions Emerson Fittipaldi and Niki Lauda in Montreal last weekend – with Lauda even suggesting that the FIA should punish the Briton for his clashes in the Canadian event. Button does not agree, though, and says he is relishing going up against someone as talented as Hamilton.
"Lewis is in the headlines a lot, and a lot of it is because he is bloody good," Button was quoted as saying by the UK Press Association. "He's a racer, a fighter. For me, that is the reason why I wanted to be here, against and with a driver who is super-talented, one of the best drivers Formula 1 has ever seen.
"It's good challenging him on the circuit. We have a lot of respect for each other – we've raced each other a lot this year, and last year, and we've never touched. We've always given each other room. For me,- that's a great position to be in.
"So, I don't agree with what Niki has said. I think his driving style is aggressive and he always goes for gaps. Sometimes he's right, sometimes he's not, but it's the same for all of us. He just finds himself in that situation more often than others."
Button himself now has first-hand knowledge of clashing with Hamilton after they hit each other during a fight for position in Montreal (ABOVE). Although he questioned on the radio what Hamilton had done during the moments straight after the collision, Button later spoke at length to his teammate afterward to ensure there were no lingering problems.
"Obviously, I'm very sorry I collided with Lewis," said Button. "We spoke about it, and it's one of those things. I didn't know he was there. He went for a move; we collided, which is sad for both of us.
"Initially it played on my mind, because you never want to crash with your teammate; it's the worst thing to do. But we spoke about it, and he was very good, actually. He was one of the first people to congratulate me after the race, which was really nice to see."