Button expects Hamilton to stay

Autosport

Jenson Button believes that Lewis Hamilton will stay with McLaren next year, despite speculation that his team-mate is closing in on a deal to join Mercedes.

Hamilton has been at the centre of paddock gossip at Monza ahead of the Italian Grand Prix in the wake of claims from former team boss Eddie Jordan that he has agreed terms to join Mercedes.

Although some senior sources have gone as far as suggesting that Hamilton's move to Mercedes is effectively a 'done deal', neither the driver himself nor Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn say a final decision on their future plans is imminent.

Button believes that Hamilton's future would be best served by staying at McLaren - and he does not think that he will end up with a new team-mate.

When asked if, in the wake of Hamilton speculation, he had considered having a new driver alongside him in 2013, Button said: "No I haven't contemplated it at all. We all read newspapers, we all read magazines and we all go on the Internet, so you hear things.

"I was surprised to see what I read – and I also don't have a clue if there is any truth in it at all. I think I will have the same team-mate next year."

Button thinks that there are very few teams in F1 that can offer what McLaren does: which is the chance to regularly win races.

"This is the best choice for him," he explained. "I think for all of us, if you are in the same place for too long it can get a bit stale: but this is a great team and a team that is always giving us the opportunity to fight for wins.

"Whether we have the chance to fight for the world championship is another matter; but they always give you the possibility to fight for grand prix wins. That is what a driver wants.

"But [then again] a driver wants the excitement and adrenaline of new challenges and that is the reason why I came here in the first place. I don’t think anything will change next year in terms of driver line-up, but I may be wrong."

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