'It's a different Lewis now', says former team mate Button

Jenson Button says that the Lewis Hamilton he sees on the grid today is not the same Lewis... The post 'It's a different Lewis now', says former team mate Button appeared first on F1i.com.

'It's a different Lewis now', says former team mate Button

Jenson Button says that the Lewis Hamilton he sees on the grid today is not the same Lewis that was his team mate at McLaren between 2010 and 2012.

The 2009 world champion said that his compatriot has completely reinvented himself as a driver in the years he's been at Mercedes.

"Lewis is a different Lewis to what I knew,” Button told Top Gear presenter Chris Harris on the latest Collecting Cars podcast. “Lewis, when I knew him, was lightning quick in qualifying.

"In the race he was quick - sometimes he could get one over on you - but a lot of the time he would make mistakes, or he wouldn’t understand how to get from A to B as quickly as possible.

“He’d try to do every lap as fast as he could and he’d destroy tyres, over-use fuel, choose the wrong strategy," he continued. “But now it’s a completely different Lewis, he doesn’t do that.

"He doesn’t have a Max Verstappen pushing him, he doesn’t have a Nico Rosberg pushing him either.”

Back in their time together at McLaren, the two drivers - who both had a single world championship on their resume at the time - appeared fairly evenly matched.

“He beat me in qualifying, he won more races than me. I think I won eight races and he won 10 races,” he said. “So it was pretty close. We had a lot of great races in our time together.

"He was quicker than me in qualifying. I out-qualified him a few times, but in the race that’s when I would come into my own as I knew how to work with the car, work with the tyres, work the strategy - in mixed conditions especially.

“I loved our fights, and it was sad when he left the team," he added. "I wish I had the opportunity to race against him in a winning car, a championship-winning car. We weren’t good enough to win the championship."

“To be fair though, if one of us wasn’t in the other car we might have won the championship. We took so many wins off each other," he explained. “One year we won six races, three each ... Imagine if the other guy wasn’t there!”

Hamilton's decision to leave McLaren for Mercedes in 2013 was widely criticised at the time but subsequently proved a stroke of genius, and has since delivered five more drivers titles with another seemingly certain in 2020.

enson Button (GBR) McLaren with team mate Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren. 07.09.2012.

Ironically Button himself could have been a Mercedes driver, when the manufacturer bought up Brawn GP after it won the title in 2009.

"For me I felt it wasn’t the right place to be," Button said. "McLaren had come strong at the end of the season, they had the budget and you look at their history as well of winning over the years."

But with Hamilton on board, Mercedes have become a Formula 1 sensation as Button is quick to acknowledge. “What a team. I mean, what a team! Lewis, it’s phenomenal what he has achieved, but what a team.

“They have won every year since 2014, every year of hybrid [power units]," he said. "I don’t think anyone will beat them for many years to come."

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Giovinazzi says Raikkonen 'continues to be one of the best'

Antonio Giovinazzi says that he rates current team mate Kimi Raikkonen as one of the best drivers on... The post Giovinazzi says Raikkonen 'continues to be one of the best' appeared first on F1i.com.

Giovinazzi says Raikkonen 'continues to be one of the best'

Antonio Giovinazzi says that he rates current team mate Kimi Raikkonen as one of the best drivers on the Formula 1 grid despite also being the oldest.

The pair will continue their partnership at Alfa Romeo for a third season after the team confirmed that both drivers had signed new contracts for 2021, and Giovinazzi is clearly delighted by the news.

"Kimi has a lot of experience and that helps a lot," he told German news website Motorsport-Total.com. "It allows him to get the most out of the car, especially in the race.

"In my eyes he continues to be one of the best - or maybe even the best - at dividing up a race, how to use the tyres from the first to the last lap."

Having just become F1's most experienced driver with 325 starts under his belt to date, and having celebrated his 41st birthday in October, many had expected the Finn to call it a day at the end of the season. However that proved to be far from the mark.

"I've heard many journalists say: 'At his age he has reached the end of his F1 career'," Giovinazzi acknowledged.

"But I can confirm that every time he comes to the track, he is very motivated and ready to take a top spot fight. And if I get to the finish ahead of him, it's only because I had a perfect weekend."

Giovinazzi confirmed that Raikkonen is not exactly generous with help and advice to his team mates, but that he had nonetheless still picked up a lot from the 2007 world champion.

"I learned a lot from him, but he's not the type who reveals a lot," said the 26-year-old Italian.

"I've always said our driving style is pretty similar which can help the team develop the car more quickly because we are on the same wavelength when it comes to our comments in the meetings.

Raikkonen missed out on the points in Portimão despite a sensational start that saw him make up nine places on the opening lap, while Giovinazzi struggled after losing radio contact with the team pit wall.

"I don't want to hide the fact that I'm one of those drivers who dreamed of competing in a race without help and completely on my own," he said.

"But after the experience of Portimão, I have to say: I don't want something like that experience again, because it was really difficult!

"The drivetrains we have now are very complicated to use in the race. You really need someone on the pit wall to help you make the right settings.

"I also had to make some important adjustments to the power unit, and I wasn't sure how. I have to admit it was a good lesson.

Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Alfa Romeo Racing C39 makes a pit stop.

"Then there is tyre management and the racing strategy, which is constantly changing. It quickly becomes clear how important communication with the team is.

"If you can't talk to each other, it's hard to make the best decisions. It wasn't nice not to hear anyone talking for an hour and a half.

Both Alfas bounced back and finished in the points at Imola, and Giovinazzi said it showed why the team had retained them both for another season.

"My results naturally contributed to my contract extension," he said. "In the races in which we were able to score points this year, we did so - Kimi in Mugello, me in Austria and Germany.

"To cut a long story short we were there when it was necessary, in the races that suited our car.

"Now there are a few more Grands Prix to come. We hope to be able to increase our points a little so that we can stay in the fight for P8 in the constructors' championship."

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