Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2020

Bottas is not pushing Hamilton as hard as Rosberg did, says Button

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton recently claimed his team mate Valtteri Bottas doesn’t get enough credit for how competitive a rival he is.

But one of Hamilton’s former team mates disagrees. Jenson Button believes Bottas could be pushing him harder in races.

Button said Hamilton’s last team mate, Nico Rosberg was a tougher opponent for the six-times champion. Rosberg left Formula 1 after beating Hamilton to the 2016 world championship by five points.

Hamilton and Button were team mates at McLaren for three seasons, from 2010 to 2012. Button said during that time they were more closely matched in races than in qualifying.

“He beat me in qualifying,” recalled Button in an interview for The Collecting Cars Podcast. “He won more races than me. But I think I won eight, races, he won 10 races, so it was pretty close.

Hamilton and Button were team mates at McLaren
“We had a lot of great races in our time together. For me, he was quicker than me in qualifying. I out-qualified him a few times, but nothing like he did with me.

“But in the race, that’s when I would come into my own, and I knew how to work the cars, work the tyres, work the strategy, in mixed conditions especially. So I loved our fights. It was sad when he left the team, it really was.”

Button, who last raced in F1 three years ago, believes other drivers would put Hamilton under greater pressure if they had Bottas’s car.

“Lewis is a different Lewis to what I knew,” he said. “Lewis when I knew him was lightning quick in qualifying. Like Valtteri can do.

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“But in the race, he was quick, and sometimes he could get one over on you, but a lot of the time he’d make mistakes or he would not understand how to get from A to B as quick as possible. He’d try and do every lap as fast as he could, and he would destroy tyres, he would over-use fuel, choose the wrong strategy.

“But now it’s a completely different Lewis. He doesn’t do that. Also because he doesn’t have a Max Verstappen pushing him. He doesn’t have a Nico Rosberg pushing him, either. I’m not going to say my name in that because that would be weird.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2020
Verstappen is F1’s quickest driver, says Button
Button considers Verstappen the quickest driver in terms of outright speed in F1 today, and one of the four leading drivers in the series. “I think him and Lewis are up there. I also think Charles Leclerc is with them at the moment. I think that Danny Ric[ciardo]’s with them. I think those four stand alone at the moment.”

Verstappen’s dominance at Red Bull has left the team weighing up a replacement for his team mate, Alexander Albon, for the second year in a row.

“I actually think that they’ve turned the corner with treating their young drivers,” he said. “Over the years they have been tough, especially with Gasly. I think with Albon they’ve realised they need to take it a bit easier and maybe work with him with engineering and try and get [him] up [to] speed.

“The biggest issue is he’s got the quickest driver in the world for outright speed as a team mate, whose also set the car up like he wants it, which is on the nose, very oversteery and no one else can drive it.”

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2020 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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129 comments on “Bottas is not pushing Hamilton as hard as Rosberg did, says Button”

  1. I dont buy into this RedBull set up thing making the car hard to drive for others. It is more likely the fourth or fifth car on the grid and an above average driver can get it on the podium. RedBull need to step up their game

    1. @Mayrton No, it’s still the second-fastest car on outright pace. Max alone couldn’t get it that high if it were slower than the RP, Renault, and or Mclaren.

      1. Well, then Albon needs to leave today

    2. The car is biased towards Verstappen’s driving. Red Bull wanted to make Verstappen the youngest world champion, and failed. Now they know that it is better to have the other driver develop with them and their car rather than constantly replacing that driver with another who could potentially experience the same issues as Gasly or Albon has been encountering with the cars. The car needs to be driveable, and that should allow the drivers to extract the pace, much like the Ferrari of 2017, where it was not consistently the fastest car, but one that was easier to drive than the Mercedes of 2017.

      Still if Red Bull has a driver far ahead of the other consistently, then it’s their fault for not giving the necessary help to that driver. It has been happening for 2 years now. Get yourselves straight.

    3. Comparing the performance of the 2019 and 2020 cars shows that the current Red Bull is the second fastest car.

      There are several circuits where, when comparing times, even the 2019 Red Bull would still be the second fastest car, and although the 2020 car was initially only about equal to the 2019 car, since then it has pulled ahead – the midfield hasn’t quite closed up that much.

  2. Yup. Rosberg was a Button 2.0. Bottas is a Barrichello 2.0.

    1. True. Both Rosberg and Button cheated.

      1. A strange comment. How did they cheat exactly? Button in particular because I don’t recall anything.

        1. Re: cheating comment.
          This is how elections are won, you just throw out a comment and no one cares for the fact checking afterwards because psychologically the seed has been sown and the damage is done.

          1. @kringle
            I expanded on that. Why don’t you care to do the same?

        2. @phil-f1-21
          He played games to win McLaren team and made them focusing on him.
          He was clearly Whitmarsh’s favorite driver and always got better car and strategies.
          Plus, he got away unpunished after voluntarily slamming his teammate on the wall in Canada 2011.
          Luckily, karma played out and doomed both Jensie and Martin.

          1. Oh well done! I’m glad you have so much insight to the inner workings of the McLaren team 8/9/10 years ago. Jenson never slammed Lewis into the wall either. There was no penalty applied or the equivalent sanction then. The comment is completely fantasy from within your own head.

    2. Look at previous two years Rosberg was miles behind, how can you judge on him having the edge on only one year. Everyone can have a bad year. Take it you don’t like lewis, hence this I’ll judge comment. Bottas is better than button, he is competitive but fare. Jenson is a spoilt brat.

      1. Odd conclusion – rosberg had a poor 2015 but otherwise he was a formidable opponent. Bottas has never reached that level.

    3. Valtteri Bottas = Rubens Barrichello + Eddie Irvine + Johnny Dumfries combined together

  3. As much as I dislike Rosberg’s approach to Hamilton, which was to win by all means necessary, he deserves recognition for beating Hamilton in 2016. The problem is that, Hamilton is applying the “taking no prisoners” in an improved manner now. In 2016 Hamilton could have just qualified P2 in Azerbaijan or somewhere near the front row, and that would have made a huge difference to his result there. Hamilton could have also reacted quicker to the lights in Bahrain, saving him from contact with Bottas, and arguably P2 to make a difference in the championship. I am sure the Hamilton today would have easily won 2016.

    As much as the benefit Rosberg has gotten from circumstances outside his control, it goes to show that he fought his hardest against Hamilton, and I would take him over Vettel in terms of giving Hamilton a challenge, in the years where the fight was closest, 2016-2018.

    1. True. Lewis had an engine failure in MYS that year. He was leading almost a straight.

    2. The Rosberg approach is exactly what I expect from an athlete push and push hard to the brink to get a competitive edge over your opponent.
      Rosberg was there to win, Bottas is only there to compete..

      1. @SadF1fan
        THe key factor in Rosberg’s favour was not him being there to win.
        It was Mercedes being there to let him win.
        Four engines blown up by Hamilton (the sole Mercedes’ driver to experience something like that in 2016) speak volumes.

        1. I can’t wait to have a chance in reading their books, if ever they publish one. I would be really surprised if a team with that philosophy, orchestrated Rosberg to win the championship over Hamilton. I’d also like to point out that Rosberg did have some “help” from Red Bull in the last races. In USA of that year, he was running 3rd behind Ricciardo, and Hamilton leading. However, Verstappen retired from the race, deploying a VSC, and allowing Rosberg to get a free pit stop, jumping Ricciardo. In Brazil, Red Bull pitted Verstappen on the wrong tyres, while he was in 2nd place behind Hamilton. This allowed Rosberg to secure P2 in both USA and Brazil rather than a potential P2/P3 or two P3’s.

        2. I think Rosberg simply started that season better than Hamilton: 4 wins in the first four races @liko41 That coupled with a bit of bad luck was enough to tip the scales in Rosberg’s favour

        3. @liko41:
          Maybe you need to rewatch that entire season, including all the interviews with Rosberg, and compare his behaviour, his rhetoric and his performance to Bottas.

          Rosberg was there to win, and he didn’t owe Lewis a thing.
          Bottas is some type of noble athlete who is already content he can partake in the competition, and thinks the battle must be done with a sense of “honor”. And that’s why Bottas will never win, he isn’t willing to do what it takes to win.
          Rosberg was willing every step of the way.

          1. @SadF1fan
            Again, you could be there to do whatever you want, but you don’t succeed just because you want it.
            Rosberg was determined to win “at all costs”, meaning he cheats.
            And then run away , obviously.

    3. @krichelle If Hamilton had issues in about a dozen races like he had in 2016, then Bottas would have looked a lot better too and perhaps even lead the WDC right now.

      Instead it has been Bottas who has suffered the brunt of the issues since 2018. Skewing the advantage for Hamilton even more.

      1. “ If Hamilton had issues in about a dozen races like he had in 2016,”
        Issues like parking his car in the back of Rosberg?
        Issues like failing to get a grip on his start clutch?
        Issues like “overdriving?” the car and blowing up his engine?

        Or do you mean: If Hamilton has started as uninspired as he did in 2016”?

        (But let me guess: All your arguments that reason to Hamilton actually beating Rosberg in 2016 don’t apply to Max actually beating Daniel in 2017, right?)

        1. @Oconomo
          Issues like
          – blowing up four engines (the sole Mercedes driver to experience that)
          – solving his start procedure’s dfficulties only to see them present themselves again misteriously,just because the team did not worry about it.
          – Overdriving? Just LOL.

          You h@t3rs are honestly hilarious.

        2. If Hamilton has started as uninspired as he did in 2016”

          You mean:
          – Having start system issue in Australia (together with Rosberg BTW)
          – Getting punted off by Bottas in turn 1 in Bahrain
          – Starting from P22 in China due to technical issues in quali
          – Starting from P10 in Russia due to technical issues in Q3

          A sane person calls those (technical) issues though.

        3. Oconomo, I’m guessing this is going to be your usual “I must trash Hamilton because he is beating Verstappen” post (we all know that your posts seem to be mostly driven by that jealousy and bitterness), but Rosberg also suffered from clutch issues in 2016 – so, if you want to trash Hamilton, why aren’t you also trashing Rosberg for “failing to get a grip on his start clutch”?

          Furthermore, it is known that Mercedes had to introduce a late modification to their clutch selection mechanism following a late decision by the FIA to change the clutch operation procedures on the grid – a change sold on the premise of “introducing randomness”, but reportedly more of a case of Ferrari pushing for a rule change in the expectation it would hurt Mercedes the most (which it did) – and that they then went on to modify the clutch system between 2016 and 2017.

      2. @F1osaurus: it doesn’t matter how much luck Bottas will have, he lacks the will to win and therefore he will never beat Lewis.

  4. “I actually think that they’ve turned the corner with treating their young drivers,” he said. “Over the years they have been tough, especially with Gasly. I think with Albon they’ve realised they need to take it a bit easier and maybe work with him with engineering and try and get [him] up [to] speed.

    If you need any evidence that Button is talking BS.

    1. If Button a WDC is talking BS then in relative terms Yaru a Racefans commenter is talking something much worse than BS
      Must be really bad

      1. @jeorge Well let’s hear from Albon all the hard work that has been done to help make the car drivable for him too?

        1. Sure, they’re gonna make the car slower just to make Albon feel better……lol.
          F1oclown at his best!

          1. Well that’s the point now isn’t it? Thanks for so honestly agreeing with me.

  5. Something about most of these British drivers (past or present) always trying to bring Lewis down a few notches with their round-a-bout opinions. Jackie Stewart being the ring leader, then you have Paul Di-resta who struggles to give Lewis his flowers and undermines his performances at any given point (apparently the hate runs deep in the family too). Button slick with the tongue, will always reminding us at every given opportunity that he struggled to beat Lewis during one of his toughest years in the sport, notably 2011. And Norris at the back taking notes.

    Give the guy his flowers while he’s still racing and keep it moving. Not every time Lewis is good but…

    Vettel alone has shown appreciation for the Lewis more than any of these guys combined.

    1. @lums I didn’t get that impression from JB. He basically said Hamilton was better than him at McL, even when he didn’t know how to be in full control of races like he does now (when he used to drive flat out every lap). This seems to imply that Hamilton 2020 edition is much better than Button ever was, and surely that is respect. If he disrespected anyone at all it’s probably Bottas. But eh, he’s not wrong.

    2. Hmm….i think Button was balanced with his assessment of Hamilton during his partnered years. Ham was a bit more aggressive and less conservative then than he is now…he also made more mistakes. He has learnt to be a better version of himself which is what Button highlighted. Like Hamilton I think Max is gone through that maturing phase where is now closer to being a complete driver.

      1. I agree with you and ‘Rapid’. There is no disrespect in Button’s comments. It’s a compliment to Lewis if anything.

      2. Hamilton also had a lot more issues. Among which getting put in the wall by Button on the straight in Canada, but also a ton of pit errors and DNF’s. For instance at the end of 2012 Hamilton could have won 4 races, but instead his car broke down.

        Reality is that if both cars were without issue, Hamilton would finish ahead of Button at least 2 out of 3, if not 3 out of 4 races.

        So it’s only “balanced” if you look at the scoreboard rather than how they were matched on actual racing skills.

        1. At the time they raced together, Button was even with Hamilton, so stop trying to change history, the stats don’t lie. Those years taught Hamilton a lot, there was no shame in a driver with 7 years more experience having some advantages at that time like Button did. Button had one accident with Hamilton that was not deliberate or malicious.

          Button was a better driver on Sundays in the time they were together for the most part and the main reason Hamilton ever had the edge was his qualifying advantage although that usually came at the expense of his race setup.

          Is Hamilton a better driver now than he was then, absolutely. He is also a better driver than Button ever was now. For the 3 years they were together though, he did not have the beating of Button and that was with 3 years advantage of building the team around him prior to Buttons arrival.

          1. @slowmo No when they raced together Hamilton would usually be far ahead of Button. Until Hamilton’s car broke down or indeed he tried to hard to actually win rather than cruise home.

            So yes, Hamilton will have made a few more mistakes than Button or wore out his tyres a bit more often trying to get that win. But Button was never even close to Hamilton.

            2012 Hamilton qualified 15 to 5 against Button. He finished ahead of Button 8 times vs 3 for Button. Plus Hamilton lost 4 race wins due to technical issues. Button would have been utterly destroyed if actual racing was rewarded so stop trying to pretend history is defined by being lazy and looking only at the scoreboard.

          2. Maybe the reason Hamilton had so many issues was related to his driving and setup but don’t let a thing like facts get in the way of your agenda. He was better on qualifying but far worse on race pace. Consistency is a driver trait too and Button was better at the time. Must really hurt the fanatic Hamikton fans who claimed Hamilton would blow him away when it never happened. Made you all look silly.

          3. @slomo

            The score board says something completely different to you?

            LH beat Button 2 seasons to 1
            LH out qualified JB by a simply ridiculous number
            LH won more races than JB
            LH had more podiums than JB

            LH definitely lost on the reliability front and was nearly always ahead before retiring due to reliability or pit errors or a crash.

            JB was a good racer but his intent was never to win a championship and indeed was never in a position to do so at the end of even his best and LH worst season whereas LH was – particularly in 2010 where a wheel rim lost him the championship.

            His intention was mostly to beat Lewis – 2012 showed him the errors of that.

          4. So the metric that shows Button in a Good light should be dismissed, right….

    3. Pedro Andrade
      9th November 2020, 11:31

      Button just highlighted that Rosberg gave Hamilton a harder time than Bottas. He also acknowledges that Hamilton has improved a lot since their shared time at McLaren. Why do so many Hamilton fans (and Hamilton himself) play this victimization game so much?

    4. Welcome to F1. They all think they are the best, its a necessary personality trait to even get to F1. I think they’re all too lovey dovey, Jackie Stewart aside who is just an old man being an old man, theres way too much respect. More fireworks would be nice, some simmering hayte but of course fair alongside ultra hard driving. If we want Senna/Prost/Mansell then we need some real life emotion and that includes negative simmering b_i_l_e.

      1. Why? We are already saturated with bitter and angry guys constantly moaning about everything – why does everything have to be ruined by those seeking bile and bitterness like you?

        1. @anon

          haha says the bitterest man on the net and basically my stalker


          1. @tonymansell who do you think you are to boss others around? You do not own this site and have no right to order others around. What next – are you going to start demanding that Keith Collantine must bow down to the mighty Tony Mansell because he has spoken and he must be obeyed?

            Stop throwing utterly childish tantrums every time you want to act offended because you can’t cope with somebody else having the temerity to say they don’t agree with you. Why don’t you take your own advice and get out of here given you constantly get offended at the slightest thing?

            You do nothing but bitterly complain about everything – the drivers are too boring, the races are too boring, you abuse and insult other posters here because they don’t tell you what you want to hear.

            Go elsewhere where you can hear others tell you what you want to hear – because, apparently, you lack the maturity to respond in any other way but harassment and sulking.

          2. @anon

            Well said!

    5. I thought Button was pretty fair in his assessment and remember JYS was always criticizing Schumacher, so it may just be a bit of get off my lawn.

      1. @anon

        Wow i really wind you up. Calm down, actually just go away you weirdo, I’ve no wish to engage with you. If you have a problem with me don’t read my comments but dont accuse people of bullying and then start telling people to go stop reading the site. Y

        Shu t your mouth, engage your brain and GO AWAY.

        1. @tonymansell why should I obey your demands to go away? What are you going to do if I do not go away? Are you really going to start trying to threaten or intimidate me over something this inconsequential? And for what? Because of a sense of wounded pride on your part?

          Equally, if you don’t like seeing my comments, then why don’t you take your own advice and not read them? You are the one constantly losing your temper when you are criticised, to the point you are now actively seeking out other posts I’ve made to scream abuse at me. You cannot claim any sort of moral high ground when you now seem to be actively stalking me.

          Judging by your rather agitated and irritable tone, it seems that you are the one who is getting rather more easily wound up and becoming more erratic when that happens too – no need for bile from motorsport when you seem to be generating plenty of it yourself.

          Tell me – would you be proud about behaving like this in front of others? Would you happily scream at others to “FO” in front of a crowd of people, as you put it elsewhere? I am willing to bet that you would not behave like this in public normally – why do you think your behaviour is acceptable here?

          Now, if I did say to you that, to avoid further arguments, I would not comment on your posts and you would not comment on mine in turn, because any such deal should be reciprocal in nature, would you be prepared to abide by that? You have no more right to demand of me terms that you would not accept yourself – so, be honest, would you be prepared to abide by such terms? Or would you refuse to be bound by such a deal yourself?

  6. We watched all the races and Button has a point. Hamilton has learned not just to trust his team but question their motive for any actions they take. He learned that from his last 3 seasons at Mclaren. The team had 2 strategists back then. One was on it and the other had not a clue.
    I also do not believe Bottas gets all the credit he deserves. Hamilton has stepped up several levels. Rosberg would not be able to keep up with Hamilton were he still racing now.

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      9th November 2020, 17:03

      Totally agree with OOliver, Lewis is next level these days. Fast, consistent, strategic and a master of tyre saving. Nico gave it everything in 2016 and admitted it was unsustainable. He would have been beaten again in 2017 simply because he couldn’t have kept up the focus to the extent he did. 2020 Lewis is better that 2017 Lewis. Valtteri has been slowly improving. He has mentioned how Lewis squares off corners which is easier on tyres. He’s already a good qualifier (not as good as Nico who even Michael was impressed with) In a couple of years he will likely be better in the race too. That said I don’t think he’s as good as Max or Charles or Daniel, which is handy for Merc. Historically, two extremely competitive drivers in the same team is a recipe for lots of broken carbon fibre or some pretty bad atmospheres.

  7. Rubens not pushing Button as hard as, lol. Button who? The one sent mclaren spiraling down a deep elevator shaft.

    1. Are you seriously blaming JB for McLaren’s struggles? I suppose you blame your table leg for stubbing your toe.

      1. Yeah, he’s that illogical to blame the driver for the complete technical brain fade that went on 2013-2017 in the team that resulted in a complete overhaul of the team from principal to technical heads.

  8. So, according to Button, Verstappen is quicker than Hamilton?
    Harsh assumption.