Michael Schumacher has backed Jenson Button to convert his 14-point lead into a first world championship title. The German, who retired from Formula 1 at the end of the 2006 season, believes that with Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel now over 25 points behind and Button having a cushion over team-mate Rubens Barrichello, the 29-year-old is clear favourite.
"Looking at the situation, I would pretty much expect Jenson to fix this title," Schumacher told the Race of Champions podcast. "It's very hard to take it away, particularly knowing the problems and the reliability issues they have had at Red Bull. The mileage Sebastian has left in his hands as well, so it's going to be tough to challenge and the points difference is too much."
Despite Vettel's title challenge fading, Schumacher believes that his 22-year-old compatriot can become a multiple world champion - although he added that comparisons with his own career are worthless.
"He has all the ingredients to do so. I myself never wanted to be compared with anybody else because I wanted to be myself and so he wants to. I think everybody should respect that."
Schumacher would not comment on whether the abandonment of his comeback with Ferrari earlier this year means that any chance of a return to F1 has now gone.
"I don't need to say yes and I don't need to say no," said Schumacher.