Jenson Button doesn’t see Lewis Hamilton racing anywhere but at Mercedes next year and that will be due to a lack of options for the seven-time world champion.
Hamilton is currently without a contract for the 2024 F1 season, his contract with Mercedes ending upon the completion of the 23 series championship.
While both Hamilton and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff have indicated their willingness to extend their partnership, which would lead Hamilton to an amazing 12th straight year at Brackley, rumors have also been circulating that Hamilton may be looking to swap teams or even leaving F1 a result of the decline in Mercedes’ competitiveness.
Jenson Button, who was Hamilton’s teammate at McLaren between 2010-12, doubts Hamilton will have many competitive options next year, meaning he is likely to re-sign with Mercedes.
Jenson Button: Lewis Hamilton doesn’t have the options he wants
“Well he’s loyal but I also don’t think he has the options that he would want,” Button told Sky F1 during the Miami Grand Prix weekend, before detailing how he manages the existing driver line-ups of each top team believes means no way out for Hamilton.
“I don’t really think he would have the opportunity at Red Bull – I don’t think he would be the right person next to Max [Verstappen].
“I don’t think he would be at Ferrari. Aston Martin? I’m definitely not going to Aston Martin, they have two seats that will be filled there for a while.”
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The 2009 F1 world champion also hinted that the current earnings gap of the once-dominant Hamilton/Mercedes partnership could strengthen the bond between driver and team.
“I think his future will lie with Mercedes, but he’s also a loyal character and it’s good to see he’s going through some difficult times with this team,” he said.
“I think they will come out on the other side together. You know it’s a rollercoaster ride in Formula 1, especially when you’ve been at the top for so long there’s going to be a slump.
“But if you can stay with this team, they will rise back to the top and he will not retire.”
What has Lewis Hamilton said about his F1 future?
Hamilton recently revealed he has no intention of retiring from F1 anytime soon, saying he feels he is only in the prime of his career now at 38.
“I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon,” he told ESPN. “I’m not at the end of my career, I’m not in the downturn of my career. I’m in my prime.
“It all depends on how hard I want to work and keep myself in the best shape physically and mentally.
“Right now I have no plans to change, I just plan to increase the drive and motivation and get better. I’m massively driven.”
Hamilton also admitted that he’s wondered what it would be like to drive for other teams, but doesn’t see himself driving for anyone other than Mercedes.
“I would be lying if I said I never thought of ending my career anywhere else,” he said.
“I started at McLaren, I would like to believe that I will always be a part of the McLaren family, I started there when I was 13 [as a junior driver]so I thought about what it would be like if I were at McLaren one day.
“I’ve been thinking about the Ferrari drivers and watching them on the trackside screens and of course you wonder what it would be like to be in red… But then I go to my team, to Mercedes, and that’s my home .
“I’m happy where I am. I haven’t signed a contract yet, but we’re working on one.”