Daniel Ricciardo is one man who could finally challenge Lewis Hamilton

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Former F1 world champion Jenson Button believes Lewis Hamilton will keep cruising to titles unless Mercedes installs a more competitive teammate to drive alongside him.

Hamilton is eyeing off world championship No. 7 this year and is 85 points clear of comrade Valtteri Bottas in the drivers’ standings.

Barring any unforeseen twists, the Brit will hold the trophy aloft at season’s end and Button, who was crowned F1’s king in 2009, can see that pattern repeating itself until a change is made inside the Silver Arrows garage.

“It’s going to continue until he stops, or until he gets a teammate that can actually challenge him,” Button told Motorsport.com. “If he had a teammate like Max (Verstappen), we would see a different driver from Lewis.

“He needs to have that challenge, otherwise he’ll just keep doing the same thing and he’s going to keep winning the championship.

“He needs somebody that’s going to challenge him and Mercedes. You can’t blame them because it’s easier if they’ve got one guy who is quicker than the other.

“I know Valtteri gets close in qualifying and sometimes out-qualifies him, but race pace compared to Lewis this year, he’s nowhere near him.”

Button pinpointed Daniel Ricciardo — alongside Verstappen and Ferrari young gun Charles Leclerc — as someone who could keep Hamilton on his toes.

The Aussie has comfortably out-performed teammate Esteban Ocon at Renault this season and is finally enjoying a hot streak with the French outfit in the second half of 2020, following a disappointing debut campaign last year.

Ricciardo has surged to fourth in the drivers’ championship, well up on his ninth-placed effort in 2019, and will be hoping his good fortune continues with McLaren next season.

“I’d love to see Danny Ric up against Lewis, because I think he would mentally hurt Lewis a lot,” Button said.

“He would be quick and he would laugh everything off, he would be so relaxed, so down to earth, he’s a proper character and I know that most drivers would find that difficult.”

Ricciardo has said previously going toe-to-toe with Verstappen when the pair were at Red Bull together brought out the best in each other and forced them to stay on top of their game — and Button clearly thinks a similar situation would arise if the West Australian ever partnered Hamilton.

Source: news.com.au; express.co.uk

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