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Button recalls Brazil robbery

2011-11-23 08:34

LONDON, England - The memory of the 2010 armed attack outside the Brazilian F1 GP circuit has not tainted Jenson Button's love of Interlagos as he prepares to return this weekend.

Button won the 2009 F1 championship with Brawn GP in Sao Paulo. He told reporters ahead of the 2011 season-ending race that he expected more security this time and was looking forward to going back.

'MORE SECURITY NOW'

"Something was going to happen," he said. "It happened so many times with the mechanics and engineers. In the end it was going to happen to a driver but I don't think they wanted anything except for our bags out of the boot.

"We have more security this year. I think every driver you see will have a police escort this year in Brazil and so they should, but you also have to spare a thought for everybody else in F1 because they don't have police escorts."

Button escaped unhurt from the attempted robbery on a busy road past a shanty town as he was being driven away from the nearby track after qualifying along with his father and manager. An armed policeman drove them out of danger.

Incidents over a number of years have taught teams to be alert despite a strong police presence.

ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

Some Sauber engineers were robbed at gunpoint soon after Button's incident.

Button will be especially want to win the 2011 race after McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton triumphed at the penultimate race in Abu Dhabi to level their 2011 race tallies at three each. Hamilton also won his F1 title at Interlagos in 2008.

Button said: "It's such a good GP. I love racing at Sao Paulo. There is a special atmosphere, even when your team mate is Brazilian (Rubens Barrichello in 2009) and you're fighting for the championship. I still love it there because they are so passionate; there is so much history. It's a pity things do happen there when we leave the circuit, but I think that just shows the divide in Brazil."

Button expected Vettel to come back strongly after his first retirement of the year in Abu Dhabi while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who won both his titles in Brazil, can never be counted out.

Felipe Massa will be on home soil in his 100th race for Ferrari while Red Bull's Mark Webber has one last chance to take a victory in 2011 at the circuit where he won in 2009.

Button said: "There will be six of us really fighting it out. I'm excited about the challenge."

Reuters