Former Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell claims Jenson Button has missed his opportunity to ever reach the pinnacle of the sport and become a future world champion.

Although he scored his first victory in his 113th race in 2006 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Button has so far failed to make the leap to fully fledged front runner and is currently suffering with a lacklustre Honda team that have scored just a single point so far this season.

Even so, Mansell places much of the onus on Button himself for failing to make the most of his position, speculating that his racing aspirations have been skewed by the notoriously glamorous lifestyle he embarks upon.

"I sum Jenson up as a great talent," 1992 World Champion Mansell said. "He had a falling out with Williams, which I think was a big disaster in the early stages I think, but he is a typical racing driver of having too much too soon. If you are paid tens of millions of pounds, produce an autobiography before you win a race and think you have made it then perhaps your goal isn't high enough."

Placed in the spotlight by the huge success of countryman Lewis Hamilton, Mansell believes Button has 'underperformed' since being in Formula 1 and although he has struggled occasionally with disappointing cars, Mansell believes much of it remains down to the driver.

"I don't want to knock Jenson, but he does give the media a great opportunity to knock him and I think if he gives ammunition to fire, then people will fire. I'm disappointed because I think he should have won a number of races by now. He has underperformed.

"You can keep blaming the team, but he had a great car with Honda in 2004 where he had plenty of podiums and could have won a number of races them. That is down to him - he had the opportunity and he didn't take it."

Mansell, who remains Britain's most successful Formula 1 racing driver in history, was speaking on behalf of BMW with whom he is an ambassador, giving a talk to the current crop of Formula BMW UK drivers. Using Button as an example, Mansell claimed he is not what the drivers should aspire to becoming.

"Jenson is a wealthy and successful man, but I don't think he will get another opportunity to win more races or be a world champion."

 

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