NOVEMBER 7, 2010
Button escapes attempted carjacking
World Champion Jenson Button escaped unharmed Saturday night from an armed robbery attempt on the car he was traveling in, while on the way from the Interlagos circuit to his hotel.
Button, who was in an armoured car driven by a police driver, along with his father John, his physio Mike Collier and manager Richard Goddard, told the Mail on Sunday, "We were going back from the track and were outside a shanty town and moving slowly on a busy road. I saw a dog come out. It was very cute. The next thing I saw was a man with a gun. Our guy angled the car and floored it."
"That's when we saw six men, all of them brandishing machine-guns. My driver was a legend. He bounced off about five cars. We were driving over the top of them. It was very scary. I don't know whether they knew who it was they were ambushing."
"I am glad I didn't have my girlfriend Jessica with me. She would have been terrified."
Goddard told Press Association Sport, "We were about three or four minutes away from the circuit when the incident took place. I would suggest there were more than four or five guys, something along those lines, who emerged from a block of flats."
"I initially saw one guy carrying this piece of wood, a baseball bat kind of thing, but I didn't spot the one who had a gun until someone pointed it out. It was pulled, and that was it really. You didn't really have time to think about what was happening."
"You hear about these kind of things in Sao Paulo, and because they don't come home to roost, you don't think about them. But when it almost happens to you then it's fairly worrying. We were very lucky to have a police driver looking after us because he got us out of what could have been quite a frightening situation."
"The real positive thing to take out of it is that we are all fine and we're all able to look back on it and see it for what it was. Obviously from our perspective, luckily it wasn't a lot worse, and luckily the sharp actions of our police driver forcing his way through the traffic like he did was great."
Sao Paulo authorities will provide additional security to Button, Lewis Hamilton and senior McLaren personnel on Sunday.
McLaren issued the following statement: "On Saturday evening (November 6) on the way back from the Interlagos circuit to Morumbi (Sao Paulo), armed would-be assailants made an attempt to approach the car that was carrying Jenson Button."
"Neither Jenson nor the other occupants of the car were hurt. (The other occupants were John Button [Jenson's father], Mike Collier [Jenson's physio] and Richard Goddard [Jenson's manager].)"
"Vodafone McLaren Mercedes had provided both Jenson and team-mate Lewis Hamilton with reinforced armoured vehicles driven by police drivers, who had been trained in avoidance techniques and were armed."
"The police driver of Jenson's vehicle reacted swiftly and, using avoidance techniques, rapidly forced his way through the traffic, taking Jenson and the other occupants of the car immediately away from any danger and back to their hotel."
"The Sao Paulo authorities have also acted efficiently and will be providing additional security to transfer Jenson and other senior Vodafone McLaren Mercedes personnel to the Interlagos circuit for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix."