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Bernie: Hamilton 'simply faster' than Button, Dennis belongs in F1

Bernie Ecclestone expresses his view that Lewis Hamilton is 'quite simply faster' than McLaren-Mercedes team-mate and world championship-winning successor Jenson Button, that Ron Dennis 'belongs in F1' - and that Virgin hasn't a hope in hell of winning the title...
Lewis Hamilton is 'simply faster' than his title-winning successor, compatriot and team-mate Jenson Button, Ron Dennis 'belongs in F1' and the 2010 newcomers will not 'raise their performance significantly over the season' – those are the thoughts of Bernie Ecclestone one race into the current campaign.

Famously outspoken – and just as famously given to contradicting his previous statements only a handful of days later – Ecclestone is never short of a tasty soundbite or two, and when asked by German publication Sport Bild whether he was surprised to see Hamilton so far in front of Button in the F1 2010 curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir earlier this month, the Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive's response was succinct and left little doubt.

“I would have been very surprised if he (Hamilton) was not [ahead],” the 79-year-old opined, “because he is quite simply faster.”

Not music to Button's ears, assuredly, but Ecclestone's remarks do re-iterate the conviction of many within the sport that having entered the lion's den this year in joining a team that to all intents and purposes Hamilton has made his own, Button will find himself unable to live with his fellow Brit's scintillating raw pace – enough to send even double world champion Fernando Alonso scuttling for the exit door at Woking two years before his contract was up at the end of 2007.

In an entertaining joint interview with Hamilton published on the official F1 website, meanwhile, the pair discussed the departure from the paddock of former long-time McLaren team principal and the 2008 world champion's mentor Ron Dennis – with the Englishman returning for the first time in twelve months in Bahrain, somewhat pointedly the first grand prix since his arch-nemesis Max Mosley stepped down as FIA President – as well as the Stevenage-born ace's quest to find a new manager now he has parted company with his father Anthony.

“In terms of the racing it doesn't make any difference, but I am always happy when he's present, because I have a very close relationship with him,” Hamilton admitted when asked about Dennis. “I admire what he has achieved in his career and what he has done for the team. Without him I wouldn't be here.”

“I think he should attend more races too,” concurred Ecclestone of one of the sport's most recognisable characters. “He belongs in Formula 1.”

“Honestly, I have received a lot of applications but I'm not in a hurry to decide,” Hamilton added of his current management situation. “I am with a fantastic team, with many competent people, so at the moment I have no need for a manager.”

“A driver doesn't need a manager,” agreed the top flight's influential commercial rights-holder. “Gerhard Berger is the prime example of that. He managed himself and was making more money than anybody else at the time he was racing. I am sure he made better deals for himself than he would have done with a manager at his side.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), Chinese F1 Grand Prix, Shanghai, 17th-19th, April 2009
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Lewis Hamilton [Pic credit: McLaren]
29.01.2010 Newbury, England, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes - Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes MP4-25 Launch
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), McLaren MP4-23 Launch, Stuttgart, 7th January, 2008
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

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