Button lashes out at critics of Hamilton
BRITAIN’S Jenson Button has leapt to the defence of Lewis Hamilton after his McLaren team-mate was labelled “completely mad” and a danger to other drivers.
Former world champion Niki Lauda led the criticism following Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, in which Hamilton crashed into Button and Mark Webber.
But Button, who won a dramatic race in Montreal, said: “Lewis is in the headlines a lot, and a lot of it is because he is bloody good. He’s a racer, a fighter. For me that is the reason why I wanted to be here, against and with a driver who is super talented, one of the best drivers Formula One has ever seen.
“It’s good challenging him on the circuit. We have a lot of respect for each other, we’ve raced each other a lot this year and last year, and we’ve never touched. We’ve always given each other room. For me that’s a great position to be in.
“So I don’t agree with what Niki has said. I think his driving style is aggressive and he always goes for gaps. Sometimes he’s right, sometimes he’s not, but it’s the same for all of us. He just finds himself in that situation more often than others.”
Hamilton escaped punishment for his driving in torrential conditions in Canada but has been summoned by race stewards six times in the last seven races – and was not spared by Lauda.
“If [governing body] the FIA do not punish him, I do not understand the world any more,” said the three-time champion. “You cannot drive like this as it will result in someone getting killed.”
British racing icon Sir Stirling Moss termed Lauda’s outburst “exaggerated”, but said Hamilton’s conduct was “quite wrong”, adding: “One thing he is missing now is his father. This would never have happened a couple of years ago.”
Button, meanwhile, said he had taken the blame for the collision, which ended Hamilton’s race and delivered a huge blow to his title chances.
“I’m very sorry I collided with Lewis,” added Button, who lies 60 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel. “We spoke about it, and it’s one of those things. I didn’t know he was there. He went for a move, we collided, which is sad for both of us.
“Initially it played on my mind because you never want to crash with your team-mate. It’s the worst thing to do. But we spoke about it, and he was very good actually.
“He was one of the first people to congratulate me after the race, which was really nice to see.”