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.

Although there will be no second crown for either man this season, a 24-point gap between the English 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.

Rising star Sergio Perez may have been recruited as replacement, but the 32-year-old Button cannot help but feel Hamilton's departure will be felt by the team.

"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."