Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Button’s not even in top five: Briatore

Jenson Button

Reigning world champion Jenson Button may again be leading the pack this season, but that still cuts no ice with former employer Flavio Briatore.

Briatore has not been a fan of Button since the Briton's troubled days with Renault in 2001 and 2002 when he struggled with a woeful car.

Although the 30-year-old has won two of this season's four grands prix in the defence of his title to lead the way by 10 points from Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, Briatore is unimpressed.

The outspoken Italian, currently suspended from all FIA-sanctioned motor-racing events in the wake of the ‘crash-gate' scandal, feels good fortune has so far shone on McLaren star Button.

“We'll see how it ends up between Button and (team-mate Lewis) Hamilton at the end of the season,” said Briatore.

“Jenson has done well. He's won two races and we know why. He was able to manage things and had luck on his side.

“I don't speak badly of him, I just say he is not among the five quickest drivers in F1.”

Briatore's comments belittle Button's achievements with his new team as he has shown speed and judgment that has resulted in him gaining an edge over Hamilton and the rest of the field.

Button, though, is not the only driver in Briatore's firing line as the 60-year-old also feels Michael Schumacher is proving he should have remained in retirement.

Schumacher, who won two of his seven world titles under Briatore at Benetton in 1994 and 1995, has so far won just 10 points and been outdriven in qualifying and the races by team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Asked by Italy's Autosprint magazine if Schumacher would improve, he replied: “On the contrary, I think it will be harder and harder for him.”

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