Jenson Button says Ross Brawn tried to talk him out of joining Lewis Hamilton at McLaren ahead of the 2010 F1 campaign. The Brit teamed up with his compatriot off the back of winning the World Drivers’ Championship with Brawn.
Button was excited by the opportunity of racing alongside fellow F1 champion Hamilton, particularly given McLaren’s competitiveness in the latter stages of the previous season.
However, Brawn, who was in the process of selling the reigning champions to Mercedes, didn’t think the move represented a good switch.
Button, who went on to spend three years next to Hamilton at McLaren, says the F1 engineering guru thought trading teams would prove to be a “mistake”.
“It was Lewis’ team, he’d grown up with them,” Button told the Metro. “I was jumping into the lion’s den.
“Even Ross Brawn said: ‘I think it’s a mistake, Jenson.’ I said: ‘I’m here for challenges, I want to go up against Lewis.’
“For me, though, it was a dream come true racing for that team and those three years were probably the most special.”
Hamilton twice came out on top in his internal battle with Button before heading to Mercedes at the end of the 2012 campaign.
He and Button scrapped it out for four more seasons before the latter called time on his career at the top level of motorsport.
Six-time champion Hamilton’s F1 success dwarfs that of Button, but the driver-turned-pundit is immensely proud of his 2009 title win with Brawn.
“It’s a dream for any racing driver – when you do it, it’s a weird feeling,” Button said. “For 15 or 16 years of my life I’ve been working towards this.
“It’s like: ‘OK, what do I do now?’ It’s a strange feeling when you’ve reached your goal in life. You don’t plan for what happens after that.”
Button has stayed involved in F1 since retiring and is a regular feature on Sky Sports’ coverage at Grand Prix weekends.
He often pops up to grill current drivers and says his familiarity with them makes his job a tad easier.
“It’s great interviewing the drivers,” Button said. “Being a world champion and having raced against most of the drivers, you pull out a microphone in front of them and they just smile. They relax because they know you’ve been through what they have.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton and his current F1 rivals are due to go racing again next month, with a double-header at Austria’s Red Bull Ring set to get the delayed 2020 season underway.