Far from betraying any bitterness at seeing not only a rival, but a fellow countryman enjoying the Formula One limelight this season, Lewis Hamilton openly admits that Jenson Button has gone through enough hard times to deserve the success that is coming his way in 2009.
Speaking to his official website in the wake of finishing twelve places behind a victorious Button in the Turkish Grand Prix, the reigning world champion praised the Brawn GP driver for the fortitude he showed in adversity in recent seasons, and marvelled at the performances he has been able to produce at the wheel of the BGP001 en route
to six wins in seven races to start the year.
"I've know Jenson for many years - he's a fantastic driver and he thoroughly deserves the opportunity he's been given," Hamilton, who has nine F1 wins and no more than five in any one season, admitted, "He's waited years for the opportunity to drive a competitive car and, right now, he's showing exactly what he can do with it.
"I've always been impressed by Jenson. Before I got to F1, I thought he coped with the bad times really well, he never forgot why he was there and he never let the team down. That's why he really deserves this success.
"The reason he's leading the world championship is because he's not made a single mistake since the very first lap of winter testing. It's that sort of preparation that helps you win championships - and he totally deserves to be in this position. It's great for the Brawn GP team and Mercedes-Benz and it's going to be great for the British fans because they'll have two
British drivers to support at Silverstone."
Whether Hamilton can challenge Button, or even join him in the points (let alone the podium) will largely depend on whether McLaren expedites its next batch of development parts. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh has admitted that the upgrades are not due until the German GP next month, but revealed that he would try and hurry the process up - even though Hamilton has said that there would be no point in rushing things if an improvement could not be guaranteed.
Without an overhaul, however, the MP4-24 looks set to struggle again at Silverstone, but Hamilton seems resigned to following countryman Button's lead and learning from his first tough season in the top flight.
"We expect Silverstone to be a tough race for our car package, but it will come," he commented, "It will take discipline, determination and hard work to get back to the front, [and] we might not do it this year, but it is not the first time in my career that I've had difficult and tough years.
"I've gone through difficult stages of karting and junior formulae as well, [but] I've also been very lucky throughout my career to have been in many top teams and driven some great cars. It is character-building - you have some good years, and you have some bad years, but as long as you learn from both the good and the bad then you come out a stronger person."