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Button dismisses Hamilton critcisms of McLaren regime

ESPN Staff
March 14, 2013 « Grosjean doesn't feel lucky to retain seat | Dry qualifying will see interesting strategies - Horner »
Hamilton isn't confident in his Mercedes.

The fragile truce that followed Lewis Hamilton's departure from McLaren at the end of 2012 was always unlikely to hold, and the cracks are now appearing on the eve of the new season.

On Tuesday Hamilton said he was enjoying the new freedom he has at Mercedes and made some thinly-veiled swipes at his old team. "I am comfortable with who I am," he said. "I don't need someone telling me. If someone doesn't accept me for who I am, that is their problem. You need to be accepted for who you are and be proud of who you are.

"I have come from a place where there was a lot of control, where you had to do and say what you were told. While you have to remain respectful and polite, you can still be who you want to be."

Asked about the comments, Button admitted to the Press Association he was "very surprised" to hear what his former team-mate had said and gave McLaren his full support. "The freedom I have in this team is phenomenal," he said. "It is so not like that. It is a very open team, free team, and a team that will do anything for you."

He agreed that the demands on his time from sponsors was considerable but that was part of the job. "You learn to understand, you learn to adapt and realise it is part of this job, and you need that to succeed. It is not about just working with the sponsor, it is about doing a great job with the sponsor because you want them to work with you for a long time, you want to move forward with them.

"So I understand from that point of view it is very busy here, your time is restricted because you are flying around, travelling more and doing more sponsor events."

However, Button said the team was fully behind the drivers. "I've heard so many rumours and read so much in the media about the way this team is, and it's so far from the truth. It's such a big family and they will do anything to make sure we are comfortable and that when we go racing we are totally focused."