Hamilton may never get a better chance, says Button

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LONDON, Nov 11 (Reuters) McLaren's Lewis Hamilton may have blown his best chance of winning the Formula One title by failing to secure this year's championship, according to fellow-Briton Jenson Button.

''He (Hamilton) is a great driver, but there are lots of great drivers in Formula One who did not have his package,'' the Honda driver told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

''What would worry me is the lost opportunity.

''You can't say in my sport: 'Oh well, I only missed out by a point so next year I'll go one better.' It doesn't work out like that,'' he added.

Hamilton had a 12-point lead going into the penultimate race of the season in China but ended up losing the title by a single point to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen after a nightmare season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix last month.

''He should be sick as a dog because another chance like that might not come round again,'' said Button.

The 22-year-old Hamilton, who won four races in his rookie season, will start next year as a title favourite. But Button, speaking from experience, warned that Formula One was a fickle sport.

'COMPLETE DOG; Button won in Hungary last year and talked of fighting for the championship until it became clear that the 2007 Honda was way off the pace.

He ended up scoring just six points while Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello drew a blank.

''The car was a complete dog and I'm just not interested in racing like this any more,'' Button told the newspaper.

''I remember after Hungary this year wanting to hit something.

''I'd won that same race 12 months previously and now I was there sitting in something which was undriveable,'' he said.

Button said he would love to win the championship with the Japanese team that he has been part of for five years but he warned that there was a limit to his patience.

''I have to start winning and if I don't then I have to be ruthless,'' he declared.

''There's an option in my contract which means we can all sit down and discuss the future at the end of the season. If things don't work out, that's exactly what I'll be doing,'' he said of the year ahead.

''I'm not saying I expect to win the world title but I do expect a dramatic improvement.'' REUTERS SSC RN1718

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