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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 December, 2003, 07:53 GMT
Button questions Raikkonen hype
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport

Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen is not the only contender
Jenson Button believes Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso have hogged the Formula One limelight at the expense the sport's other rising stars.

Raikkonen and Alonso have been hailed as future champions after impressive performances with McLaren and Renault.

But Button insists drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya of Williams and Jaguar's Mark Webber deserve as much credit.

"Some people are lucky when they come into F1. They are in the right place at the right time," Button said.

"Kimi, for example. He had a good first year, but nothing staggering. Then in his second year he's in a McLaren. What a step.

A lot's going to change next year, which is going to benefit me
Jenson Button

"They say a lot about Kimi and Alonso especially and they forget a lot of the other talent in Formula One.

"What about Juan Pablo? They don't even mention him much and he's been the main title rival with Michael Schumacher.

"Webber's done a good job this year as well, so there's a lot of talent there."

Button, 23, was feted as the next great driver after an impressive debut season with Williams in 2000.

But the British driver found life hard at Benetton/Renault the following year and was forced to rebuild his reputation with BAR last season after being replaced by Alonso.

"For me it's been a little bit more difficult, but I think the way I've done it is probably the best way," said Button, who is promoting the BBCi on TV service - an information service for the BBC's digital viewers.

"I've experienced so much in Formula One. I've hardened up quite a lot after being at Renault.

"And I've got a lot of experience of working with different people, and different team-mates."

While Spaniard Alonso celebrated his first Grand Prix victory in Hungary last season, Button has yet to finish on the podium in four years.

He is convinced, however, that BAR will provide the main challenge to Ferrari, McLaren and Williams in 2004.

"I don't think Renault are going to be as strong as they have been," said Button.

"I think we're going to be the team up there with the top three. A lot's going to change next year, which is going to benefit me."




F1 REVIEW 2003

SCHUMI'S RECORD YEAR

PHOTO GALLERIES

EVERY TEAM ANALYSED
 

EACH DRIVER PROFILED
 

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

A LAP OF ALL THE CIRCUITS
 


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