JENSON BUTTON has labelled Lewis Hamilton as “a bit weird” during their spell as teammates at McLaren.
The two spent three years together at the Working-based team before Hamilton quit to join Mercedes in 2013.
The two Brits were portrayed to have a harmonious relationship – but Button says it was anything but.
Button said: “Midway through that first season, I was ahead of Lewis in the points.
“Did he like being beaten by his team-mate? Probably not, but he’s a competitor and I’m sure that like me, he relished the challenge.
“Personally, he was fine with me, but you could just tell he was a little bit peeved. I don’t think that I was to his taste, if I’m honest.
“And things took a bit of a turn for the worse in Turkey 2010, when we almost had a collision that led to a minor falling-out between us.
“On the podium there was what the media called some ‘frosty’ body language and a ‘muted’ celebration.
“In fact, he came straight out and asked me about it: ‘Did you pass me against team orders?’ He was the winner!
“‘No,’ I told him, ‘I did not pass you against orders. I was never told not to pass you’. It was a bit weird, slightly unnecessary and a little more proof that all was not well behind the smiles.”
Button, who has now retired from F1, also recalls a bizarre moment at the Belgian GP which resulted in a bitter fall out between the two.
Hamilton decided to Tweet a picture of Button’s highly-secretive car data, a decision that sent McLaren into turmoil.
Hamilton was blasted by Button and the team while he also accused his team-mate of “unfollowing him on Twitter”.
It was all a bit pathetic and soon backfired as Button declared that he never followed him in the first place.
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In his new book ‘Life to the Limit’, Button added: “Certainly any displeasure he was showing was aimed at the team, not me, but I ended up being collateral damage.
“The screen grab showed the kind of things you work hard to keep hidden from your rivals. I made my feelings known about that.
“The official version was that I was disappointed. Had I gone with my unofficial reaction it would have made ‘WTF’ seem very tame indeed.
“But at the same time I knew it wasn’t personal. Bit dumb maybe. But not an ‘I hate Jenson’ thing so much as an ‘I’m fed up with McLaren’ thing.
“Later in the season, it was officially announced, that Lewis was leaving to partner Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.
“That was a shame for me; I’d enjoyed our rivalry. Off the track, however, he was still being a bit weird.”
Their relationship improved once Hamilton was out of McLaren, and while Button is full of praise for his countryman’s achievements in F1, he says they were never friends.
He said: “Lewis is a brilliant, mercurial driver. Like me, I think he probably coasted on talent at first, and, like me, it might have taken him a while to realise that he had to work on it.
“As people, we had a lot in common. There was our shared karting history and the fact that his dad was a customer of my dad.
“Neither of us came from a wealthy background. We’d achieved what we had through a lot of grafting.
“So I regret that despite our similarities we were never really friends.
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“We’d hang out a bit, but there were an awful lot of awkward and uncomfortable silences.
“And there were no big goodbyes between us, but I look back on Lewis as one of the best and most challenging teammates I had.”
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