Jenson Button expects Lewis Hamilton to sign new Mercedes deal

By Sports Desk May 03, 2023

Jenson Button believes Lewis Hamilton will sign a new deal with Mercedes because he remains “hungry” to win his record eighth world championship.

Speaking before the start of the season, Button, the 2009 world champion, suggested Hamilton will only extend his contract – which expires at the end of the year – if Mercedes can provide him with a winning car.

Hamilton finished sixth last weekend in Azerbaijan and already trails championship leader Max Verstappen by 45 after just four rounds, with the Dutchman’s Red Bull team in a league of their own this year.

However, Button, 43, said: “I don’t think Lewis is going to walk away from the sport.

“As a racing driver, if you have been winning for so long and then you are suddenly not, you want to fight back to winning ways. You are not going to retire.

“If you are in a bad car for many years, you want to retire because it just gets you down, but Lewis is not in a bad car. He is just in a car that is not as good as what he has been used to, and I get that.

“But he knows the strength of the team, he knows how quick he still is, so he is going to work with this team to get back to fighting with Red Bull, and they will.

“It probably won’t be this year, but in 2024, we will see Lewis on the grid. He is still hungry to win another world championship.”

Verstappen remains the overwhelming favourite to win his third consecutive title despite Sergio Perez moving to within six points of his Red Bull team-mate after winning the sprint race and Grand Prix in Baku.

And Button said another victory at Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix will fuel Perez with confidence that he can beat Verstappen to the title.

“I’ve been really impressed with Sergio,” added Button.

“Max has to be the toughest team-mate because he just goes out there and gets it done.

“Consistency is where Sergio has been lacking, but if he can do it in Miami, which like Baku is a street race, too, he has a chance to fight for the championship.

“I didn’t think I would be saying that, I really didn’t, but it is good for the sport. Red Bull has an advantage at the moment and we need both of them to be fighting it out.”

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    Starting second on the grid behind George Russell, Verstappen was passed by Norris in the early stages but managed an expert restart after a safety-car period with 11 laps to go.

    Norris took the lead on two separate occasions but was unable to hit back when Verstappen pulled two seconds clear late on, having to settle for his third second-place finish of the season.

    An error-strewn performance saw Russell give up the lead and slip into a battle for third with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Oscar Piastri.  

    Contact between Russell and Piastri allowed Hamilton to surge into third place with five laps remaining, but Russell overtook his team-mate with a neat move at the final chicane on lap 68.

    With Hamilton finishing fourth, both Mercedes drivers recorded their best finishes of the season thus far.

    The Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso was sixth, while neither Ferrari managed to finish, Charles Leclerc retiring just past the halfway stage and Carlos Sainz following suit as he collided with Alex Albon's Williams.

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    The victory was his 60th in Formula One overall, from 194 races. Among drivers who have achieved at least 25 wins, only Jim Clark (25 – 34.7 per cent) has a higher win ratio than the Dutchman's 30.9 per cent.

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    George Russell edged out Max Verstappen to claim pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix.

    Russell and Verstappen, the reigning Formula One world champion and championship leader, set identical lap times.

    Both clocked in at one minute and 12 seconds, but Russell was given the edge as he banked his first. That had not happened in F1 since 1997.

    It is a huge boost for Mercedes, who seem to have turned a corner in recent races following some upgrades to their car.

    "It's sort of come from nowhere," Russell said after qualifying in Montreal. "But maybe not a surprise with the upgrades we've been bringing.

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