Jenson Button expects Lewis Hamilton to bounce back from the disappointment of losing the 2021 World Championship.
The Mercedes driver disappeared from public view following the controversial events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and did not re-emerge again until 5 February, when he shared a post on Instagram saying that he was "back".
During his radio silence, speculation mounted that Hamilton may not return to F1 in 2022. Button, however, thinks he was simply taking the chance to step away from the sport.
"It's difficult to understand where he is," Button told Sky Sports.
"I think for him it was a fantastic time to get away from the sport, and relax and recharge – every driver needs that.
"[It] doesn't [depend on] whether they won the World Championship or not, or lost the World Championship on the last lap."
Button hoping for more of Hamilton vs Verstappen
Button - who was teammate to Hamilton at McLaren between 2010 and 2012 - is expecting the seven-time World Champion to be back to his best when the 2022 season gets underway.
The former F1 driver is also hoping that Hamilton's battle with Max Verstappen will continue.
"He'll come back a recharged man, I think, and we'll see the best of Lewis Hamilton," Button said.
"He is one of the best guys that's ever driven a Formula 1 car, and he's going up against one of the best that's ever driven a Formula 1 car!
"This battle, this doesn't happen very often in Formula 1, so hopefully we'll have a lot more of that in 2022."
Hamilton's new challenger, the W13, will be unveiled at Mercedes' launch event on 18 February.
The 2022 cars will soon hit the track at the first pre-season test in Barcelona, which takes place on 23-25 February.
A second testing session follows in Bahrain on 10-12 March, before the Bahrain Grand Prix opens the campaign on 18-20 March.
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