Lewis Hamilton backed to beat Max Verstappen in 2022 – but he may still not win F1 title

Jenson Button expects Lewis Hamilton to get the better of Max Verstappen in the 2022 Formula One season – but he thinks that George Russell could still beat his fellow Briton to the Drivers’ Championship. Button believes his former team-mate Hamilton’s greatest threat to a record-breaking eighth crown could come from his new Mercedes partner.

The FIA have yet to release the findings of their investigation into last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where Hamilton was contentiously denied his eighth world title by Red Bull’s Verstappen.

But it is expected that Michael Masi could be removed from his role as race director which would surely be enough to convince Hamilton to remain in F1 for the upcoming campaign, which begins in Bahrain on March 18-20.

The 37-year-old is widely expected to duel it out with Verstappen once again if he returns to the grid as hoped.

The rivalry between the pair was the prominent narrative of a thrilling 2021 season that will go down in legend even in spite of the controversial nature of its climax in Abu Dhabi.

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And Button, who raced alongside Hamilton at McLaren from 2010 to 2012, expects Hamilton to come out on top of Verstappen in the new season despite the Dutchman’s maiden title triumph.

But he believes Mercedes newcomer Russell, who replaces Valtteri Bottas for the Silver Arrows after three seasons at Williams, could be a significant hurdle for seven-time world champion Hamilton.

Button told Sky Sports News when asked who he thinks will be stronger between Mercedes and Red Bull in 2022: “I have to say Mercedes. I think Red Bull were strong last year but throughout the season Mercedes got closer.

“And I think they overtook them on outright pace and we all know to beat Mercedes you have to be faster than them because they do not make mistakes as a team.

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“I think Mercedes and then it’s the fight between Lewis and George. I really can’t wait for that. Two Brits at Mercedes fighting for a world championship hopefully.”

“George Russell in a Mercedes alongside Lewis is going to be a really interesting dynamic to see how it works out, the young kid coming in.

“Lewis is the older guy in that team and it’s the first time really ever he’s been in that situation. I’m looking forward to seeing how that dynamic works.

“Ferrari is the one that really made the biggest step forward I would say last year. Possibly Ferrari, they’ve got a great driver line-up.

“But again so do McLaren and they’re a really exciting team. I was with McLaren at a peak and then it dropped away and I was still with them.

“Now it’s great to see them coming back and fighting at the front.”

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