Lewis Hamilton snubbed by old team-mate as Max Verstappen debate rages on

Max Verstappen sent offer to quit Red Bull and join F1 rival keen to be his team-mate

Jenson Button, who previously raced alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, has snubbed his former team-mate by claiming that he would be ‘more fearful’ of going up against Max Verstappen. A debate has been raging on since Hamilton argued that he has been up against stronger team-mates than his Red Bull rival over the years.

Hamilton’s comments drew a frosty response from Verstappen, who labelled the Mercedes ace ‘jealous’ of his recent successes following his maiden world title in 2021. Button has since added further fuel to the fire by suggesting that, in his view, it would be harder to go up against Verstappen than Hamilton in equal cars.

“I think Lewis has had some very tough team-mates,” the one-time world champion told Sky Sports F1. “He’s had world champions as team-mates, whereas Max hasn’t. But for me, I would be more fearful going up against Max in the same car, because the car is designed around his style.

“Or, he can drive the car that Adrian Newey gives him. Newey gives him a car and says ‘this is the quickest car in the world, if you take away front downforce, it’s going to go slower but will be easier to drive’. Max is like ‘I have to drive how you’ve made the car, as quick as I can’. He’s very good at that. A lot of drivers struggle to compete with that.

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“It’s a long answer but it’s a difficult one. I think Lewis has had more difficult team-mates but I also wouldn’t want to go up against Max. They are all unbelievable drivers, the best in the world, some of the best ever in F1.”

Hamilton has previously been up against the likes of Button, Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg during his time on the F1 grid. He is currently sharing the Mercedes garage with George Russell, who beat him on points last year and is widely regarded as a future world champion.

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Rosberg, who beat Hamilton to the title in 2016 during his time at Mercedes, previously weighed in: “He had three world champions as team-mates. That says a lot, doesn’t it? So I do think it’s correct. Nevertheless, it’s not really that relevant because we all know how amazingly awesome Max is driving.”

Verstappen, meanwhile, has been paired with several drivers but none of them have boasted the same level of expertise as Hamilton’s former colleagues. Daniel Ricciardo was arguably his most difficult team-mate before he chose to leave Red Bull at the end of 2018, only to return to the Austrian squad as a test and reserve driver five years later.

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