May 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
Jenson Button is confident that Nico Rosberg can get his head around the mind games that Lewis Hamilton will be playing at Mercedes, having also dealt with the Briton during their time together at McLaren.
Hamilton and Rosberg have dominated Formula 1 in 2014, winning five races between them and securing four one-two finishes. However, Hamilton appears to have rattled Rosberg after claiming four straight wins and the lead of the drivers’ championship.
After claiming his fourth victory in Spain, Hamilton claimed that he had been slower than Rosberg all weekend despite winning the race from pole position. In Button’s eyes, this is just part of the psychological battle that Hamilton is looking to enter.
“I am sure there will, if there aren’t already, be mind games going on,” Button told the Press Association. “There were a few things he played on me. It would work on some drivers, whereas others it just makes them stronger because they laugh it off.”
Button and Hamilton spent three years together at McLaren, and despite many predicting that Hamilton would wipe the floor with his teammate, it was in fact Button who had the edge during their time together.
However, Hamilton’s relationship with the team appeared to sour, and it also did with Button. On one occasion, he launched into a rant on Twitter when he thought that Button had unfollowed him, saying: “After three years as teammates, I thought we respected one another but clearly he doesn’t.”
It turned out that Button never followed him in the first place.
In 2014, though, Button is confident that Rosberg can deal with the mind games that Hamilton will be playing.
“Nico is intelligent to know if Lewis is playing mind games or not, which in some ways could help Nico or harm him,” the 2009 world champion said. “He might just end up getting fed up with it.
“But Lewis is full of confidence at the moment and he is a fierce competitor when he is like that, even when he is not having a good day.”
Rosberg will be gunning to re-gain the championship lead in Monaco next weekend, and after winning the race last year, it is unlikely he’ll be willing to let his crown go without a fight.