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Meet the other side of Button

2012-03-27 09:51



Sepang, Malaysia - Jenson Button will be happy to turn his attention to competing in the Lavaman triathlon on Sunday in Hawaii; he might as well, because so far in the F1 season he sucks.

A poor 14th at the Malaysian GP on March 25 and, in the Melbourne season-opener, losing all chances of winning because of a collision.

Whatever, he shrugged off the day, saying: "I can't do anything but laugh, it was such an horrendous race."


Button has consoled himself with triathlon races in the past. He took up the sport when things were not going well for him in F1 racing during his time with Honda five years ago. Now he’s become addicted to it, with the Olympic distance event in Waikoloa his latest start.

His awesome girlfriend, Jessica Michibata, is also a triathlete.

"The triathlon came about when I drove a car that was not competitive,” Button said. “For me triathlon was the best escape. To do something that, if I train hard enough and hurt myself enough, I can do well. That's why I started and I just got addicted to it.

"I get annoyed if I can't do the right training or if I am slower than at a previous race. It’s so competitive and I go to bed just as angry as I get after a bad race.”


Button's ultimate aim is to qualify and "not be gifted (given)" a place at the Hawaii Ironman once his F1 days are over but for now he still sits in the McLaren car although the intensive triathlon training and competitions have made him fitter than ever before.

That, as well his complete ease after winning the World title in 2009 and the subsequent move to McLaren in 2010, have turned Button into what appears to be the most serious challenger for World champion Sebastian Vettel.

Apart from Mexican Sergio Perez, perhaps? Anyway, to continue...

"I know I’m probably not the quickest driver on the grid. My aim is not to be the quickest either. My aim is to be the best," he said, “but I never think I am the best. It’s important to be confident but never overconfident. Realising that it’s not one individual that wins a Grand Prix makes a big difference.”

Thirteen years in the fast sport have allowed Button to organise his private life in the best possible way, which further adds to his success. Just as being kept firmly on the ground by his friends, father John Button and girlfriend Jessica, who are around for the races and in between and put him into his place if necessary.

"It's pretty good. I’ve had some pretty good times in my racing and private life. I’m very happy," he said. "In my career it is important to really enjoy every moment because I never know when it is going to end.

"Maybe I am too big for my boots, sometimes, but I have people to get me back into line. My girlfriend may say something and my manager will definitely say something."


The atmosphere and personnel at McLaren, which might lack the flair of Ferrari, are just as important for Button who has fewer ups and downs than more temperamental team mate and 2008 World champion Lewis Hamilton.

"I do feel very good here. I think we have a great atmosphere in the team. Everybody says it’s a very grey team. The history is very exciting. I feel there is a great passion here. People obviously talk about Ferrari, about them being very passionate, but I don't think most people realise how passionate this team is... how much they want to achieve.”

Retirement is not on his mind, even should McLaren go through a poor spell, and Button hopes to make the final call himself, then look back with pride.

"It is really important to have good memories from these times. In 10 years I will look back and go 'wow' about the times I had in F1; great memories that I will take to my grave.”

But he has to do the Hawaii triathlon yet – let’s just hope Jessica doesn’t beat him...

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