Jenson Button described Max Verstappen's move on the Mercedes drivers at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix as "very, very brave" and reckons it could prove to be decisive in the 2021 title fight.
Verstappen, having qualified third, drew next to Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the long run down to Turn 1 and swooped around the outside of the pair to take a lead that he would comfortably convert into victory.
With Verstappen leading Hamilton home, the Dutchman now holds a 19-point advantage in the Drivers' Championship ahead of the final four races.
"It was a brave, brave move around the outside of both Mercedes," 2009 World Champion Button told Sky Sports F1 after the race.
"He got his braking point right; he knew where to brake, he'd been braking there all the way through the weekend. He had that confidence to turn in and know that they're not going to tap him in the rear, giving a little bit of room to Lewis.
"That's a great move and it could be a defining point in this championship."
"Max walked away with it"
Verstappen crossed the line some 15 seconds clear of Hamilton, and Button was taken aback by the dominant display.
"It's the first time in many races that we've seen Max kind of walk away with it, isn't it? Or any car walk away with it," added Button.
"There's always been a moment during the race where you see Lewis and Max in the same shot. Whereas today, he was just doing his own race, so [it was] a great performance by Max and a great performance by Red Bull."
Mercedes to come back strong
Despite Hamilton losing further ground to Verstappen, and Red Bull closing to within a point of Mercedes after Valtteri Bottas got spun around at Turn 1 and Sergio Perez completed the podium, Button has tipped the Silver Arrows to strike back.
"Lewis and Mercedes still finished second, so it wasn't a horrific weekend," said Button.
"Obviously the performance wasn't there, but it could easily switch around, as we have seen from Saturday to Sunday, even between the sessions in qualifying. So it's definitely not over for Mercedes and this team will come back strong, definitely."