Jenson Button has branded Max Verstappen the most naturally gifted racing driver he has ever seen, but feels Lewis Hamilton may still have the edge in terms of being the outright best.
The 2009 Formula 1 World Champion believes that Verstappen's racing blood has helped to elevate him to the very top of the sport, praising his immense natural ability.
But, given the Dutchman's relatively young age, Button reckons it's Hamilton's 15 years of top-level experience that stops Verstappen from being the best of the best in F1.
When asked in an interview with Sky Sports to name the most naturally talented driver he has ever seen, Button, who partnered Hamilton at McLaren between 2010 and 2012, replied: "Max. It's just natural, isn't it?"
Keeping up with the Verstappens
Button is familiar with Verstappen's racing upbringing, having competed against both his father and mother as a young driver.
"When you look at Max's parents, his dad raced in F1. I raced against his dad and my first points finish was in Brazil, in my second race. To get that point, I had to overtake his dad, Jos," Button continued.
"You didn't want to get him upset. There was a little bit of aggression there. He was an amazing talent, one of the best kart drivers ever, and still probably to this day.
"And his mother, Sophie, I was teammates with in karting. She was a professional and one of the best in the world, so it's definitely in the blood."
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Button not convinced natural talent makes Verstappen the best
But, despite possessing the natural talent to help him to 21 race wins (and counting), Button is not yet convinced that Verstappen is as good as his 2021 title rival, Hamilton.
"Naturally gifted? Yes. Is he the best? I don't know if he's the best driver that has ever lived or [even] the best in F1 now," added Button.
"When you look at Lewis, you think he is a much more complete racing driver with a lot more experience, maybe that's why.
"He [Verstappen] has got to work hard. Even if you think you're the best, there's still more you can do to be better. That is where Michael Schumacher was so strong."
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