Nigel Mansell has come out in support of Lewis Hamilton, and believes the McLaren protégé is likely to hold the upper hand over his new team-mate, and reigning World Champion, Jenson Button. However, he does believe that Jenson will provide serious competition once the European leg of the season starts.
Speaking with BBC Radio 5, the 1992 World Champion said: “I’d give Lewis the edge, only because he’s been there for a couple of years. Jenson will settle down and hopefully prove what a great World Champion he is and compete very strongly.”
In spite of recent reports indicating Lewis received preferential treatment at the expense of his former team-mate Heikki Kovalainen (and against Fernando Alonso, if the Spaniard would have you believe it!), Mansell firmly believes that both drivers will be given equal opportunities in 2010.
"I think they are both number ones in the same team," Mansell continued. "I give Lewis the edge for the first six races because he knows the team and the people and the car;
Lewis will try and sabotage Jenson’s car Jenson will take a few races to get up to speed with the car but after that they should have total parity."
When asked about Michael Schumacher’s prospects with his long-awaited return to the sport this season, Mansell added: “In the first year it’s probably is a little bit too far [to imagine him being a title contender] but if he’s in for a couple of years I don’t see any reason why not.”
"I certainly put him down for some race wins this year. Anything is possible with Ross Brawn [Mercedes GP Team Principal] and Michael – he’s back with his old mentor."
[Original image via Carlife]