No hard feelings at McLaren as Button defends Hamilton
Button responds to criticism of his team mate from Niki Lauda, calling him an all time F1 great
Jenson Button has sprung to the defence of his McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton in the wake of Sunday's dramatic Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. Button won the race in amazing fashion but the antics of fellow Brit Hamilton also made the headlines, even though he only survived a few laps of the Grand Prix.
Formula One legend Niki Lauda has been most strident in his criticism of Hamilton, describing him as "completely mad" and saying: "You cannot drive like this as it will result in someone getting killed."
Lauda has called on the FIA to take action against what he views as Hamilton's dangerous driving, but Button begs to differ even though he touched wheels with his team mate and put him out of the race.
Despite Hamilton being involved in three incidents during Sunday's Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Button says it's just the way he is: "He's a racer, a fighter. For me that is the reason why I wanted to be [a McLaren driver], against and with a driver that is super-talented, one of the best drivers Formula One has ever seen."
Hamilton's participation in the Grand Prix came to an end on lap seven when he crashed into Button and then spun into a wall, puncturing his a rear tyre. That was after he had spun Mark Webber and shaved Nico Rosberg while attempting a pass. Yet despite it all Button bears the 2008 champion no malice. "It's good challenging him on the circuit," he said. "We have a lot of respect for each other."
Hamilton later defended his driving, particularly his collision with Button which he attributed to an error on the part of his teammate: "Jenson made a mistake going into the final corner," he explained, "so I was able to get a better exit, and was coming down the outside of him. I don't know if he could see me or not, but he just kept coming over."
Button confirmed that he hadn't indeed seen Hamilton but added that there was no hard feelings on his part and they were still on speaking terms. "He was one of the first people to congratulate me after the race, which was really nice to see... initially it played on my mind because you never want to crash with your team-mate."
Despite his victory in Montreal Button remains in second place in the standings, 60 points behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel with seven races gone, but the fact that Vettel made a mistake on the final lap that cost him the race has given the Briton hope: "The championship is still alive," declared Button. "He's still got a massive lead, but it's nice to see him make a mistake for the first time this year." ·
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