Jenson Button has warned his former teammate Lewis Hamilton not to get carried away with his success. Hamilton, the new triple world champion, was the only F1 driver to arrive at Interlagos as late as Thursday, after missing media duties the day before with what Mercedes described as a "fever".
But although a team media representative told reporters the 30-year-old would not be elaborating on Thursday, Hamilton admitted he was actually "run down" after a spate of hard partying. Hamilton was alcohol-tested tested by local police in the early hours of Tuesday morning, after hitting what he described on social media as one stationary car in Monaco, reportedly with his $2m Pagani Zonda supercar.
"Mr Hamilton's foot slipped on the brake and clutch pedals and his vehicle struck three parked cars," a Monaco police spokesperson told the Telegraph. Hamilton, described by observers as looking obviously tired, admitted in Brazil that a party held for his mother's 60th birthday last weekend "killed me".
The Briton has also admitted to drinking much more heavily in 2015, telling reporters on Thursday that "I have definitely put on a bit of weight in the past couple of months". As for the Monaco car crash, Hamilton said: "It was a result of heavy partying and not much rest for a week and a half. I am a bit run down. I don't feel as bad as I look. The last two days I have slept pretty much all day. I am generally a really energetic person but that week after Mexico and the party we drank a lot and I was really feeling it."
Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg seemed uninterested in taking advantage of the saga, smiling to reporters that "I don't read Monaco newspapers". But Hamilton's former McLaren teammate Jenson Button warned: "He's pretty quickly becoming arrogant."
Bild newspaper said Button was referring to the fact that Hamilton reportedly claimed he is "complete" as a driver, only failing to win races when he makes mistakes. "None of us is complete," Button insisted. "If we had his car, we could beat him. He is very talented and doing a great job, but he also has weaknesses," the 2009 world champion said.
Button said he hopes Ferrari can continue to close the gap to Hamilton's team in 2016. "We - formula one - need a challenger to Mercedes. That would change everything. For Hamilton too," Button added. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing