“I’d be Albon, seriously,”- Jenson Button compares his situation in the early stage of his career to Red Bull superstar Alex Albon.
Jenson Button had a decorated career in Formula 1 but it was also full of setbacks and comprises which he probably never thought of making before stepping into the sport.
Seeing the situation of Alex Albon at Red Bull he talks about his situation at Benneton and said he can fully relate with the Thai born driver, who is struggling to maintain his place in the team.
In an interview with British automotive journalist and driver Chris Harris, Button recalled how his second season in F1 revealed a few crucial weaknesses that would have jeopardized his future had they been left unaddressed.
“I was having so much fun and my first year of F1 was so straightforward,” Button told Harris on the latter’s Collecting Cars podcast. “The [Williams] car felt great, Sir Frank [Williams] and Patrick [Head] were so forgiving, I don’t think I ever crashed in a race to be fair.
“Then the second year I got signed up with Benetton, really excited, and yeah my talent was not enough. I was terrible at engineering a car, I had no idea what to do, and no understanding of a racing car at all.
“I remember when I got my drive with Williams, I drove the car and I was two-and-a-half tenths quicker than their test driver, and then they made me do an exam.
“My team-mate was Giancarlo Fisichella who is notoriously good at driving really bad cars, so he blew me away a lot of the time, and mentally that really hurt, I didn’t get it.”
A fledgeling Button quickly lost confidence in Benetton’s challenging environment. “I really struggled because I just didn’t think I was good enough, ‘I’m not driving quickly enough, I just don’t have any skill’,” he added.
“And to be fair Flavio [Briatore, Benetton team boss] was very tough on me.” he further said. Though he has mentioned that Albon’s situation at Red Bull is still bit different.
Alex Albon got support from management
Button further emphasised that despite his situation being somewhat similar to Albon, still, the latter is enjoying some level of support from his management.
“I’d be Albon, seriously,” he said when asked how he would fair as a young driver today. I think that they [Red Bull] have actually turned a corner with how they’re treating their young drivers.
“I think over the years they’ve been tough, especially with Gasly, I think with Albon they’ve realised they need to take it a bit easier, and maybe work with him with engineering and try to get him up to speed.
“I think the biggest is he’s got the quickest driver in the world for outright speed as a teammate, who has also set the car up as he wants it which is on the nose, very oversteer, and no-one else can drive it.”
Button reckons Verstappen – a nine-time Grand Prix winner – is indeed the fastest contender over a single lap in F1. “Over one lap I think he is,” said the Briton.
“In the race, I think him and Lewis are up there, I also think Charles [Leclerc] is with them, at the moment Daniel [Ricciardo] is with them. I think those four stand alone.”