Button: Hamilton has luck he missed in 2016

Jenson Button tips Lewis Hamilton is a fairly safe bet for the 2017 Formula 1 world title and feels he’s getting the luck he didn’t have during last year’s championship tussle against Nico Rosberg.

While Hamilton has stormed to four wins from the past five races to overhaul Sebastian Vettel at the top of the F1 drivers’ standings and pull out a 59-point advantage, the Mercedes driver’s charge has been aided by his rival’s mechanical misfortune. Vettel was forced to start from last plce for the Malaysia Grand Prix due to an issue in qualifying which was followed by a second engine problem during the Japanese race which forced him into retirement.

Button accepts Hamilton has performed strongly while Vettel has been hit by mechanical heartache but feels he suffered a similar situation 12 months ago which saw him miss out on the F1 world title to team-mate Rosberg.

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“The points gap is massive and I know it can turnaround pretty quickly in this sport but reliability-wise this year Mercedes have been strong this year,” Button said. “You could say this year Lewis has had his fair share of luck that he didn’t have last year so it is evening itself out.

“Last year he was so unlucky with reliability issues but this year it feels the other way around.”

In 2016, Hamilton’s campaign was stalled by breakdowns as he eventually lost the F1 world title by five points to Rosberg.

In China, Hamilton suffered a gearbox failure in qualifying and had to start from last place which was later followed by another last place start in Belgium due to an entire engine change penalty. Hamilton’s most painful moment came while he was comfortably leading the Malaysia GP and suffered engine failure.

Button also says he’s thrilled to see F1 become a three-team battle for race wins while he has been enthralled by the world title tussle between Mercedes and Ferrari despite the Italian manufacturer’s recent poor run.

“You have two or three teams fighting for wins which hasn’t been the case for so long,” he said. “I think having the fight with Ferrari and Mercedes is great but it is a shame the past two races have turned out how they have because it means there is a big gap in the championship now.

“I think F1 is in a good place and having three teams fighting it out is what needs to continue in the future.”

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