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Button warned: Hamilton 'is natural No.1' at McLaren

11 March 2010

Sir Jackie Stewart has said that 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button will find it tough this year at McLaren - and that in his view Lewis Hamilton is odds on to do better in F1 2010.

Stewart's comments echo those made recently by Nigel Mansell, who also said Hamilton is likely 'to have the edge' [see separate story - click here]. Speaking to British broadsheet newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, JYS added that it is going to take time for Button to settle in.

"Lewis Hamilton is extremely well established there," Stewart said. "It would be like somebody coming to join me at Tyrrell back in my day when I already had a considerably stronger presence there and knew everybody.

"I still believe that whatever anybody says about No 1s and No 2s, Lewis will be the natural No 1; the known commodity for the McLaren management and individuals. That for me still clearly portrays walking into the lions' den."

Despite backing Hamilton though, Stewart added that Button will be treated equally and that McLaren probably was his best option for the coming season, which gets underway this weekend in Bahrain.

"I have no doubt at all that Jenson will be made to feel welcome within the McLaren family," Stewart continued. "My only point is that when you are going in with someone as well established as Lewis is you choose carefully.

"But there are not many people who would turn down the opportunity to drive for McLaren. And I don't know in reality where else he would have gone.

"My gut feeling is that Button would have preferred to stay at Brawn-Mercedes. Whether he turned down the money while he was still in negotiations with Ross [Brawn], or whether Mercedes decided they didn't like what they saw in the second half of last season performance-wise, I don't know.

"But [whatever the reality] for me Lewis definitely has the advantage. Partly because he knows the team and the culture, partly because he has delivered results in the past and McLaren know they can trust him. He will stretch the elastic further."


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