Jenson Button fearless in Sao Paulo despite painful memories

 

Jenson Button returns to Sao Paulo this weekend without any fear despite memories still fresh of being held up at gunpoint a year ago.

Security is to be beefed up for this season's Brazilian Grand Prix after a spate of incidents over the years culminating in the attack on Button last November he described at the time as "horrendous".

Button, along with father John, manager Richard Goddard and trainer Mike Collier, had just left the Interlagos circuit after qualifying on Saturday when a group of armed assailants approached their car.

Fortunately for the quartet the armoured B-class Mercedes was being driven by a police officer trained in avoidance techniques.

The driver used the car as a battering ram to force his way through a group of cars ahead that had stopped at a set of traffic lights.

It was only by his quick thinking and actions that any of the party avoided injury, allowing Button to compete in the race the following day.

Looking back on the incident now, Button told Press Association Sport: "Something was going to happen.

"It had happened so many times with the mechanics and engineers, and in the end it was going to happen to a driver.

"I don't think they wanted anything except for our bags out of the boot.

"But we have more security this year. I think every driver you see will have a police escort, and they should do.

"But you have to spare a thought for everyone else in Formula One because they don't have police escorts.

"So yeah, it's a tough one because it's such a good grand prix. I love racing at Sao Paulo.

"There is a special atmosphere, even when your team-mate is Brazilian (as in 2009 with Rubens Barrichello) and you are fighting for the world championship.

"I still love it there because they are so passionate, and there is so much history at that circuit.

"It's a pity things do happen there when we leave the circuit, but I think that just shows the divide in Brazil."

Last year on the same night as Button's incident, a group of Sauber mechanics were held up at gunpoint after leaving the circuit and forced to hand over their belongings.

Formula One Management personnel were also robbed after they had stopped to change a tyre on their vehicle, whilst a handful of photographers had their equipment stolen throughout the weekend.

The city is renowned for its gun crime, but asked whether he had any fears in returning, Button replied: "No, not at all."

Instead, the 31-year-old McLaren star is determined to end what has been a relatively successful year on a high.

Whilst title hopes disappeared long ago, Button is guaranteed at least finishing ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and needs to finish third on Sunday to assure himself of the championship runner -up spot.

One final win, though, is all Button seeks, which if achieved would see him finish the second half of the season - since his victory in Hungary - with more points than double world champion Sebastian Vettel.

But given he has only finished on the podium once in the past 11 years, that is easier said than done.

"If I can qualify well, in the top few places, that will be a big step forward for me because last year I qualified 13th, and that was my best qualifying for five years," said Button.

"So it's been a difficult one for me on Saturdays in Brazil, but Sundays have always been very good, so I'm excited about it, and it would be lovely to get the last win of the season.

"The car is obviously working well, and it would be nice to beat Seb over the second half of the season.

"So I'm looking forward to the last race, hopefully a good sign off, and then start it all over again next year."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable