Jenson Button admits Lewis Hamilton's decision to join Mercedes represents a big test for McLaren. Jenson Button admits team-mate Lewis Hamilton's decision to join Mercedes is a "big loss" to McLaren.
Hamilton has agreed to join Mercedes ahead of the 2013 Formula 1 campaign, with McLaren securing the services of Sergio Perez from Sauber to replace the 2008 world champion. Button, 32, admits Hamilton's decision to leave McLaren is a blow to the Woking based team but is confident Perez will impress next season.
The McLaren star also rejected the suggestion he will act as Perez's mentor, and insists he can also learn from the 22-year-old Mexican. Button told a press conference on Thursday: "When Sergio is in the team, he'll probably learn plenty from someone who is older and more experienced than he is - which will be me - but I still think that as an older driver you can still learn from a younger team-mate because they will still bring fresh ideas to the table. But an older brother? Definitely not!" The 2009 world champion admits McLaren face a big test in recovering from the loss of Hamilton, but Button is confident his Perez will rise to the challenges ahead.
He added: "With Lewis leaving, the team lose a very fast driver and one who has achieved a lot- including the last championship won by the team. It is a big loss. "But things change, you learn to adapt and it's definitely not the end of two strong drivers at McLaren. "Sergio will be fast, it's a great opportunity for him and I'm sure he'll take it with both hands." Button is 12/1 to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, while Perez can be backed at 150/1. Hamilton has failed to secure a podium finish since announcing his decision to join Mercedes and can be backed at 6/1 to come out on top and take maximum points this weekend. Don't forget all of the fantastic markets we have to offer, including In-Play betting, can be accessed on your mobile phone with the new and improved Mobile at bet365.