Hamilton helped Button get McLaren drive
16 December, 2010
Dec.16 (PVM) Lewis Hamilton has declared in an interview that he was responsible for suggesting that the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team sign Jenson Button for the 2010 season.
Hamilton, the 2008 F1 world champion, said in an interview with Autosport, “It was sad obviously for Heikki [Kovalainen]. I had a good relationship with him and I still do. I knew that he knew he was on his way out and I was conscious of who would be replacing him, and also who would be working with me towards winning the world championship.”
McLaren were considering a number of driver to replace the outgoing Kovalainen, as Hamilton recalled, “I remember all these other drivers – Kimi Raikkonen, Nick Heidfeld and a few others – who were being looked at. I kept on calling the bosses and trying to find out who they were going to be signing. They were never too sure.”
Hamilton added,”I do remember saying to Martin, ‘Have you spoken to Jenson?’ He said, ‘You know what, I haven’t’. My guess is the reason he hadn’t is probably because Jenson was world champion and Martin probably didn’t know what I would have thought about him coming into the team, and probably didn’t give it a second thought.”
The Englishman denies that he was upset that McLaren signed Button. “I didn’t have any problems with it. I just wanted the best driver alongside me to help me do the job for the team. Next thing I know, they had a great conversation with him. It turned out to be the best choice for the team.”
“We’ve got a great relationship, he has done an incredible job all year and hopefully we’re going to have many more good years ahead of us,” said Hamilton. “What I always wanted was someone with equal status, which was good for me. I knew he would be incredibly quick and I knew I would have to be at my best to be able to out-do him. But I was quite relaxed about it generally.”