Flavio Briatore admits he was wrong about Jenson Button after admitting he didn't realise how good the McLaren driver is.

Briatore was Button's team boss when the Briton raced for Benetton and then Renault in 2001 and 2002, but dropped him after two years - declaring at the time that the youngster was a 'lazy playboy'.

Since then however, an ever-maturing Button has gone on to take his maiden F1 title and has shown team-mate Lewis Hamilton the way this season in what has been an impressive second season with McLaren - all of which has led to Briatore re-evaluating his view.

"I was quite wrong about the English driver," he was quoted by The Mirror. "He has been the surprise this year. I would never have guessed he was so good."

Team-mate Hamilton however fared less well in Briatore's assessment of recent events following another clash on track with Felipe Massa.

"They make me laugh," he said. "They are like Laurel and Hardy."