Jack Leslie  |    |  3 December 2016

Button: Hamilton toughest to beat in qualifying, Alonso in races


McLaren

Jenson Button says Lewis Hamilton is the toughest competitor he has faced in qualifying during his career, with Fernando Alonso the trickiest to beat in the races.

The British driver is taking a year off in 2017, taking on a reserve driver and ambassador role with McLaren before the option of returning to an F1 seat in 2018.

Over the Abu Dhabi GP weekend, he said he feels it will be his last in F1. After 17 seasons, racing against some great drivers, Button was asked who the toughest drivers he has raced against are.

“You always look at your team-mate,” he said in an interview with Eddie Jordan for Top Gear. “In qualifying, it’s probably Lewis.

“In a race situation, Fernando is the most difficult to beat… if you have a great race, Fernando is right on your ass, and you don’t know how he’s still there.

“And if he has a great race, he’s in front of you. It’s like he’s always there, you can’t get rid of him.”

With Button looking set to depart F1, he was asked who he tips for future success: “Ricky Bobby - Daniel Ricciardo. Max [Verstappen] is an amazing talent, and he will, I’m sure, be fighting for the World Championship one day, but I love the way that Daniel Ricciardo has upped his game this year.

“He’s the older driver, more experienced driver, but he hasn’t cracked under pressure, and I really like that about him. And he’s a good guy as well.”

Elaborating further on his thoughts about Ricciardo, Button said he feels the Australian is “massive” for F1.

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