Button: It’s been a great ride to 300
Jenson Button is pinching himself as he takes part in his 300th Grand Prix this weekend in Malaysia, admitting that at one point in his career he did not believe he would be racing at the pinnacle of the sport into his thirties.
Button. who made his Formula 1 debut at the 2000 Australian Grand Prix with Williams, told media in Malaysia, “I remember when Rubens got to 300 and it was unbelievable that he got to 300, I thought: I’m never going to race that long.”
“When I started in 2000 I remember speaking to my dad and he was saying: how long do you think you’re going to race for, will you still be racing in your thirties? and I was like ‘no, I’ll be done by the time I’m 30 years old!’ And here I am at 36 and this weekend at the start of my 300th grand prix.”
As for his legacy in Formula 1, Button mused, “That’s a good question that deserves a very long answer and I’m not going to give it to you here. It means I’ve been around for a hell of a long time…”
“It definitely sucks you in, Formula One, it doesn’t let go, as long as you’re performing. It’s been a great ride to 300, lots of ups and downs, as every career will have. The important thing is that you stay on top of those bad times as much as you can, because you never know how long they’re going to last.”
“So a very exciting career to this point, 300 races, and if any of these guys around me can achieve the same thing, fair play to them because it’s a long time doing the same thing!”
Button, who won the F1 title in 2009 as a Brawn GP driver, has fond memories of Sepang, “I won here, which is a pretty good memory, back in ’09. It was quite a strange race – the rain was so severe we had to red flag the race and it wasn’t restarted. I won the race but only got half points, which was a bit of a pain! It’s always been a great circuit to race on.”
“It’s also the place I scored my first podium in 2004. I was running third in 2002 as well and on the last lap my suspension failed and handed the third place to Michael Schumacher – so that would have been my first podium. So I’ve got a lot of great memories here.”
Although Sunday should see him on the grid for the 300th time, it is actually Button’s 303rd weekend, but he was disqualified from the 2003 San Marino Grand Prix due to an irregularity with his BAR-Honda, he also failed to start the 2005 United States Grand Prix thanks to the Michelin debacle and failed to start the 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix.