Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children
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Former F1 driver Jenson Button believes Max Verstappen is just as determined to win the world championship as Lewis Hamilton this season, despite brushing off any suggestion the pressure is getting to him. For much of the season, Verstappen has appeared nonchalant in press conferences when asked how he’s approaching this season’s tense battle, which is set to go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
But Button, who partnered Hamilton for three years at McLaren, believes there’s much more behind it than that.
“I love it when drivers tell themselves that,” said Button speaking to Express Sport. “Of course he does (want to win), that’s why he’s racing in Formula One, that’s why he started racing in the first place because he wanted to win the world championship.
“And this one has to rank, you know, if he goes and wins the next ten, I have a feeling that this is the one that’s the most important.
“It’s your first, but it’s also up against the seven-time world champion.
Max Verstappen blasted for braking antics against Lewis Hamilton
“So it’s a pretty big year. And also next year, you really don’t know what’s going to happen with the regulation change and Mercedes might leap in front again they won’t be able to fight them.
“So who knows you’re going to take your opportunity when you can.
“I’m sure he knows that. He’s just trying to play it down so that you can really relax and focus on his racing.
“But for Max, I’m really looking forward to the fight on the last race. I think they’ll keep it clean. I really do.
“I just hope that, as I said, circuit limits don’t come into play. And that’s what chooses who was the championship.”
Jenson Button highlights Lewis Hamilton’s key advantage
Jenson Button makes bold title statement ahead of season finale
Hamilton can finish ahead of Verstappen and lose F1 title in Abu Dhabi
Hamilton and Verstappen head into the final race of the season level on points after a chaotic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was won by the seven-time world champion.
The pair collided again during the race, with the Dutchman handed a 10-second time penalty for his “erratic” braking.
Button dismissed any suggestion he had done it on purpose, however, adding: “I don’t think it has become dirty, I don’t think Max wanted Lewis to run into the back of him, it’s the heat of the moment thing.
“Lewis surprisingly didn’t overtake and it seems that they’re thinking a little bit too much at the moment.
“Every driver says, ‘I’m not thinking about the championship just going into every race like trying to win that race, and we’ll see at the end of the year what happens with the championship,’ but none of us actually believe that’s what a driver thinks.
“They’ll both be thinking about the championship and I think they need to get on with racing a bit more and not think about what’s going on on track.”
The season finale gets underway at 1pm GMT on Sunday, with the grid to be decided on Saturday at the same time.
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