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Jenson Button

Button: Hamilton and Verstappen must leave F1 to become 'greats'

Jenson Button believes that Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton must race outside of Formula 1 to be considered all-time greats of motorsport.

Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button believes that both Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton should race in other motorsport categories to cement their status as all-time greats.

Hamilton and Verstappen, who have won eight of the last nine Drivers' Championships between them, have raced full-time in Formula 1 since 2007 and 2015 respectively.

Neither driver has entertained the idea of racing competitively in any other motorsport category, owing to the intense Grand Prix schedule.

Any drives in non-Formula 1 vehicles mostly come from marketing events, with Verstappen's only other racing ventures coming in the form of sim racing.

Verstappen and Hamilton's post-F1 ambitions are yet to be determined, and it is not known if they will follow any extra motorsport desires, like many F1 champions have done in the past.

Hamilton has previously suggested that he wouldn't be interested in competing in other series, but Verstappen has pointed to Le Mans as a possible target after Formula 1.

The 2009 F1 champion Button, who is competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and participating in various NASCAR races in 2023, commented that he would prefer to call an F1 driver a "great" if they have participated in events outside of F1.

“There’s every possibility that Max [Verstappen] could go down as the greatest,” Button told UK publication The Times.

"But I like the idea that you can’t be the best driver in the world if you haven’t stepped outside of F1."

Button then referred to former teammate - and the only other World Champion on the grid - Fernando Alonso as an example of a great that has competed outside of Formula 1.

“Fernando has done a phenomenal job. He left F1 and came and raced in Le Mans and Daytona, won both, then won Le Mans again," added Button.

"I don’t think his performance has dropped away in his forties.”

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