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Jenson Button

Button names Red Bull's most likely F1 challenger

As Red Bull hopes to enjoy another dominant Formula 1 season this year, Jenson Button has named the team most likely to beat the Milton Keynes-based squad.

Verstappen Abu Dhabi
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button believes that Mercedes is the team most likely to offer a challenge to Red Bull this year.

Red Bull enjoyed a dominant campaign last season, winning all but one race en route to double championship success.

The Milton Keynes-based squad are favourites ahead of the new campaign as its advantage over the competition with the RB19 allowed it to switch focus onto its successor earlier than rival squads.

When asked by Sky Sports which team is most likely to take the fight to Red Bull, he said: “Mercedes.

"When you look at the last 10 years in the sport, it's Mercedes and Red Bull, so it would be Mercedes.

“I would love to say Ferrari, I would love to have them in the mix. You could say they were the closest competitor especially towards the end of the season, but I think Mercedes will have a good improvement [for 2024]. Whether it's enough, I don't know."

'Hamilton hungry for return to success'

Mercedes enjoyed its own dominant run of success before new technical regulations were introduced in 2022.

The squad has slipped back in the pecking order ever since, with seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton's win drought stretching back to the end of the 2021 season.

However, Hamilton has committed himself to the Mercedes project as last year he signed an extension to race until at least the end of 2025.

"When you've won for so many years and then suddenly that's taken away from you, it can work in two different ways," said Button.

“One, you are just like 'well, there's no point anymore, I want to retire, I've been at the peak for so long and now I've not won a race in two years'.

“But also it can make you more hungry to get back to that, and Lewis is in that position right now I think.

"Lewis is as good as ever I would say in terms of his outright speed, but also now he seems much more comfortable in himself and confident in his ability, so he makes fewer mistakes. So he's even better now than he was five or six years ago.

"That's tough [for his rivals]. If he gets a car that's competitive enough to fight for victories, when someone's that strong and that confident in themselves it's difficult to beat, as you can see with Max Verstappen right now.”

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