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Jenson Button cool over Eddie Irvine prediction

Jenson Button at the McLaren factory
Button is out to prove he can be number one again

Jenson Button has shrugged off claims by Eddie Irvine that he will be "murdered" by new McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the track in 2010.

Button joined fellow Briton and 2008 Formula 1 champion Hamilton after winning the 2009 title with Brawn GP.

Asked about ex-Ferrari driver Irvine's prediction, he said: "I'm not one for answering back, there's no point.

"The important thing is I'm confident in my ability, so I don't feel I need to prove anything to anyone."

Hamilton, who turned 25 on Thursday, is widely seen as McLaren's de facto number one driver, having been under the team's wing since boyhood.

That relationship proved too much for Fernando Alonso, who found his two world titles, won with Renault, did not guarantee him top billing when paired with Hamilton in 2007.

606: DEBATE
Arkimsa

Three-time F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart has also questioned the wisdom of Button's decision to join McLaren and go head-to-head with his younger rival.

But Button, 29, whose contract with the team began on 1 January, claimed such sentiments do not faze him.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I might not agree with it, but everyone is entitled to it," he said.

"It makes my life a lot easier because I'm in a much more relaxed position than people telling me I'm going to destroy my team-mate.

"I can just focus on doing the best job I can and getting the best out of myself and the best out of the team.

"I am here for myself and also for McLaren. People's comments don't change anything."

Button's seat at Brawn, which will race as Mercedes in 2010 after a buy-out by the German manufacturer, has been sensationally filled by Michael Schumacher.

It's going to take a couple of tests for him to get back in the groove but he'll be there for the first race, I know that for certain

Jenson Button on Michael Schumacher's form

The 41-year-old German captured all seven of his world titles under the guidance of Ross Brawn, who will now lead him again as Mercedes team principal.

With the Brawn-Schumacher relationship set to resume, Button believes Schumacher will be on top form by the first grand prix in Bahrain on 14 March.

"His return is amazing for the sport," added Button. "Having four world champions racing, and one of them who has achieved more than anyone else in the sport, is great.

"It's an unusual decision by Michael, but he's obviously got his reasons, having three years out of the sport and coming back in.

"Fair play to Ross for getting him on board. I don't think there are many team principals or owners that would be able to get Michael in their car.

"I'm sure it's going to take a couple of tests for him to get back in the groove, but he'll be there for the first race, I know that for certain."



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see also
Button and Hamilton wary on hopes
04 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
Is Jenson Button right to move?
18 Nov 09 |  Have Your Say
Button move is mistake - Stewart
18 Nov 09 |  Formula 1
Button joins Hamilton at McLaren
18 Nov 09 |  Formula 1
Honours thrill Button and Brawn
31 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Button out to prove class - Brawn
23 Dec 09 |  Formula 1


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