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Button: Lewis will come back stronger

2014-05-27 08:52

NO MERCY: F1 driver Jenson Button believes former team mate Lewis Hamilton (above) will come back stronger in the 2014 Canadian GP. Image: AP/Antonio Calanni

ALAN BALDWIN

MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg had better brace for the backlash from team mate Lewis Hamilton after stopping his run to five wins in a row and taking the Formula 1 championship lead.

Jenson Button, who partnered Hamilton at McLaren through 2010 to 2012, was sure from his own experience that his fellow-countryman would come back harder than ever from his Monaco GP weekend.

Mercedes, winner of all six races so far in 2014, is in a class of its own and the next race in Canada (June 8) is one of Hamilton's old favourites; he's won there three times in six years.

'STRONGER THAN EVER'

Button said: "I always remember with Lewis that, when we had a tussle in a race or there was an issue between us or with the team, he would have a really bad race and be quite outspoken and quite emotional about it. The next race he would destroy me, he would come there and be stronger than ever."

Monaco exposed more glaringly than ever just how intense the rivalry has become between Hamilton and Rosberg, how much their relationship has cooled since the start of the 2014 season and how much suspicion and intrigue is going on behind the scenes.

The team mates finished the previous five races 1-2 and would surely have done so also in the Australian season-opener had Hamilton not had to retire through no fault of his own. Button said Mercedes was so far ahead that the rest of the drivers would have had to "wipe each other out" for anybody else to have had a chance of winning.

That fact, with the drivers fighting for every advantage, is turning the championship into a round-by-round bout reminiscent of the duels between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at McLaren through 1988 and 1989.

Rosberg won the 2014 Monaco battle after he secured a controversial pole in qualifying on Saturday (May 24), skidding off at a crucial moment in a mistake that forced Hamilton to slow just when he looked like going faster. Race stewards investigated and found no wrongdoing by the German but Hamilton was clearly suspicious that Rosberg had pulled a fast one, knowing it would be nearly impossible to overtake in the race.

Button said: "Whether Nico  did it on purpose or not, Hamilton is going to think that he did. And that's the way it is when you are team mates and pushing hard and fighting for a championship."

'WON'T HAVE ISSUES'

Button recalled how Hamilton had chafed at the 2012 Belgian GP, won by Button, over running a downforce level different to that of his team mate. "It hurt him but the next race he came back and won. He's very good at turning it around and coming back because he is a superb driver, he is very fast, and he can wrestle a car around a circuit.

"He won't have any issues going into the Canadian GP with Nico, even if there are games going on - and I don't think there are."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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