|© AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
McLaren driver Jenson Button says former teammate Lewis Hamilton could not be more wrong in his criticisms of the team and how it treats its drivers.
Hamilton, who switched to Mercedes this season, has said several times since his move that his new team gives drivers more freedom, puts fewer demands upon them for sponsorship appearances and allows them more time to themselves.
"I was very, very surprised to hear that," Button said Thursday when asked about Hamilton's comments. "The freedom I have in this team is phenomenal.
"It's so not like that. It's a very open team, free team, and a team that will do anything for you."
Button said that McLaren, unlike Mercedes, cannot use massive revenues from its road car sales to bankroll its F1 operations and therefore needs to work harder to cultivate and retain sponsors.
"In this team you work, you have to work, and perhaps harder than in other teams," Button said. "Initially when I came to the team it was a shock. You learn to understand, to adapt -- that is the job."