Formula One world champion Jenson Button has signed to drive alongside Lewis Hamilton in an all-British line-up at McLaren-Mercedes next season, the McLaren team confirmed on Wednesday.

McLaren said Button had joined on a multi-year deal to partner 2008 champion Hamilton in a “sensational double world champion driver line-up.” It will be the first time in Formula 1 history that a team has started the new season with a line-up featuring the most recent two successive world champions, McLaren said.

It is also the first pairing of two British world champions since Graham Hill (1962, 1968) partnered Jim Clark (1963, 1965) at Lotus in 1968.

Button, who won the 2008 title in Brawn’s debut season, had turned down an offer from the team, which has now been taken over by Mercedes.

“It’s always a difficult decision to leave a team when you’ve been there for so long. But life is all about challenges — and, most important of all, it’s about challenging yourself,” Button said in a statement issued by McLaren.

“So, although I won the world championship with Brawn GP last year, and I9ll never forget that, I was always adamant that I wanted to continue to set myself fresh challenges.”

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