Lewis Hamilton has dominated Formula One for the last seven seasons, but former world champion Jenson Button believes Australian star Daniel Ricciardo is one of only a handful of drivers capable of challenging the British icon.
Button won the world championship in 2009 with Brawn GP, which would later become the now dominant Mercedes team and recruit Hamilton from McLaren for the 2013 season.
'CAN’T BELIEVE IT': Ricciardo soars in 'crazy' Emilia Romagna GP
'DON’T LIKE IT': Lewis Hamilton's disgust over Daniel Ricciardo act
Only Ricciardo, along with the likes of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Button said, is capable of consistently challenging Hamilton.
It would take a teammate to match Hamilton for someone to wrestle the world championship from his grasp, Button told Motorsport.com.
“It’s going to continue until he stops, or until he gets a teammate that can actually challenge him,” Button toldsaid.
“If he had a teammate like Max, we would see a different driver from Lewis.
“He needs to have that challenge, otherwise he’ll just keep doing the same thing and he’s going to keep winning the championship.
“He needs somebody that’s going to challenge him and Mercedes. You can’t blame them because it’s easier if they’ve got one guy who is quicker than the other.
“I know Valtteri (Bottas) gets close in qualifying and sometimes out-qualifies him, but race pace compared to Lewis this year, he’s nowhere near him.”
Jenson Button backs Ricciardo to challenge Hamilton
While there is no real chance of Ricciardo pairing up alongside Hamilton, with Mercedes committing to Bottas and the Aussie star signing with McLaren, Button nonetheless singled out the WA favourite as someone who would be particularly quick.
“I’d love to see Danny Ric up against Lewis, because I think he would mentally hurt Lewis a lot,” Button said.
“He would be quick and he would laugh everything off, he would be so relaxed, so down to earth, he’s a proper character and I know that most drivers would find that difficult.”
Ricciardo is placed fourth in the drivers championship ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park.
He has so far enjoyed a resurgent campaign with Renault after a difficult debut with the French manufacturer in 2019, snaring two podiums in a breakout campaign.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.