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Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 14:17 UK

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button set for British duel

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Button and Hamilton joke about relationship

British Grand Prix, Silverstone, 9-11 July
Coverage: Live on BBC One, Red Button, BBC Sport website, Radio 5 live and mobile phones; text commentary each day online Full details here
Qualifying: Saturday from 1210 BST Race: Sunday from 1210 BST

By Sarah Holt

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton say they will battle it out for victory at Sunday's British Grand Prix but will keep their emotions in check.

The McLaren pair are first and second in the championship and former world champion Damon Hill has warned their friendly rivalry could "boil over".

Button said: "We both know that we are fighting for the championship and we'd love to win our home grand prix."

But Hamilton insisted the pair will not "do anything silly" chasing victory.

The McLaren drivers arrive at Silverstone with two race victories apiece this season and with only six points separating them at the top of the drivers' standings.

"We have respect for each other but we are here to fight against each other to become the best - and we will," insisted reigning world champion Button.

On Monday Hill, the 1996 world champion, warned that the "close and fascinating battle" between the two Britons could lead to problems on the track.

We're both very competitive and want to win but, as we keep saying, first of all you have to work together

Jenson Button

Any growing tension could jeopardise both their and the team's title hopes in a hotly contested season, but Hamilton said the pair are professional enough to take the long-term view.

"The important thing to remember is that the championship isn't going to be won this weekend," stated 2008 champion Hamilton.

"The emotions are high and it's a special grand prix for us but it won't be necessary to do anything silly on the last lap as there's a long, long way to go.

"It's always very, very interesting to hear past world champions talk about present world champions.

"It's just interesting to see how it plays out; whether they know what they are talking about or not. We'll find out later in the year I guess."

The friendly rivalry between Hamilton and Button was tested on the track at the Turkish Grand Prix when Button passed Hamilton for the lead just after Red Bull team-mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel had disastrously taken each other out.

Hamilton managed to re-pass Button to clinch his first win of the season but was initially confused about why the team had allowed Button to overtake him when Hamilton had been told to save fuel.

The pair commented on the matter before going on to the podium to celebrate their one-two for the team, a result they repeated in Canada before finishing second and third last time out in Valencia.

Button, who succeeded Hamilton as world champion in 2009, said they will continue to compete against each other while striving to maintain the harmony within the team.

"We fight hard, as we did in Turkey but we didn't touch," added Button.

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"We're both very competitive and want to win but, as we keep saying, first of all you have to work together.

"We have done a great job so far of pushing each other really hard, not just on the circuit but off it too, with developing the car and the set-up.

"There's a good relationship and I'm sure it will continue but if you're both quick you will be racing wheel to wheel."

In an amusing vignette, the McLaren drivers were forced to consider whether to gamble on which of them would be most likely to win a second world title in 2010.

Hamilton and Button met the media at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a charity supported by the Formula 1 community, and outpatient Carl Hillis asked them if they had had a private bet on the title race before the season began.

"We should have a wager," commented Hamilton. "Maybe gamble one of your cars."

"One of my cars?" queried Button, before adding: "We haven't put a bet down but we both go into the season hoping to win the trophy so I suppose that is a bet in a way."

All 24 drivers will get their first drive round the modified Silverstone track during first practice at 1000 BST on Friday.



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see also
Button-Hamilton 'will boil over'
05 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Webber eyes maiden British GP win
05 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton closes rift with Alonso
05 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton hits back at Alonso jibe
29 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Superb Hamilton wins in Montreal
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Button pips Hamilton to China win
18 Apr 10 |  Formula 1


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