Button: Hamilton departure is big loss
Jenson Button believes Lewis Hamilton's impending exit from McLaren will be "a big loss" to the team.
Button has previously made it clear he has enjoyed pitting his wits against a fellow world champion in Hamilton these past three years, helping to make him a better driver. A 24-point gap between the British duo means Hamilton is set to leave for Mercedes with a 2-1 victory in their inter-team rivalry based on total points at the end of the season.
"With Lewis leaving, obviously the team loses a very fast driver," said Button.
"He's a guy that's achieved a lot with the team, wins and obviously a world championship - the last guy to win a world championship for the team.
"It is a big loss, but things change and you learn to move on and adapt. It's definitely not the end of two strong drivers at McLaren."
Although Hamilton's replacement Sergio Perez has acquitted himself well at Sauber over, the 22-year-old Mexican still remains an unknown quantity.
Perez has conjured three superb podiums this season but his results have otherwise been sporadic, and notably since he was announced as Hamilton's replacement, he has failed to score a point.
Assessing Perez's potential, Button added: "I think Sergio will be fast, but I really don't know.
"He's obviously unknown in a McLaren because he's not there yet.
"But it's a great opportunity for Checo, and I'm sure he will take it with both hands."