Jenson Button has suggested that, on raw talent alone, Max Verstappen edges Lewis Hamilton and it is the seven-time world champion’s extra experience that is giving him the advantage in the title race at the moment.
Round four of the Formula 1 season went the Briton’s way at the weekend as a supreme drive coupled with fine tyre strategy from Mercedes eventually ousted Verstappen in his Red Bull in the closing stages of the race.
Indeed, Hamilton is now 14 points clear in the Drivers’ standings with both actually enjoying their best-ever starts to a campaign, underlining just how ferocious the title fight is going to be this year.
And, for 2009 champion Jenson Button, a man who partnered Lewis Hamilton between 2010 and 2012 at McLaren as his teammate, it’s the extra experience his compatriot has that is helping him keep the naturally more talented Verstappen at arm’s length right now.
“Max is immensely talented. If you look at pure ability, Verstappen is probably the most talented of all the drivers,” Button said to Sky Sports F1 in their build-up show to Sunday’s race.
“I know a lot of people won’t agree with me, but this is just my opinion.
“The most complete driver, if you include experience and the way you approach races, is Hamilton. But if you only look at talent, you end up with Verstappen.”
Certainly, it’s a big claim from the former McLaren and Williams driver, but this isn’t to suggest he is saying Hamilton isn’t talented.
Clearly, Button feels that Max perhaps has the extra raw speed at the moment, but Hamilton is the complete package and that’s why he’s leading the standings right now – we’ll have to see how far Max’s talent can carry him this season as the fight for the title continues in a fortnight’s time in Monaco.