Features - Interview

NOVEMBER 7, 2010

Button describes close call as Sauber mechanics are also held up

Jenson Button, Italian GP 2010
© The Cahier Archive

Jenson Button talks about his near escape yesterday in a carjacking incident in Sao Paulo.

Q: How are you feeling?

I'm fine. No problem.

Q: What happened?

We rocked up at the traffic lights and we were three rows back. Our driver, as always, stops early and doesn't pull up right behind the car in front. We looked to the right and we saw a few guys gathering on the side of the road just at the entrance to a building. They were just stood there, they looked a bit suspect but I didn't think anything of it.

Richard (Goddard, his manager) noticed one had a baton hanging down from his arm and I noticed one guy was playing around with something in his trousers and it was a gun. As soon as I said that the driver looked across, they saw him look and started running across towards the car. So we angled the car floored it through what didn't look a big enough space. We got between six cars, ramming every single car to get past, got through in the end and got away, but looking behind there were two guys with hand guns, quite simple looking ones and one guy with what looked like a machine gun.

Q: Were there any physical effects to you from the ramming?

No, I'm fine, we were in a B-class Merc which is not the biggest but it was bullet proof and pretty heavy, so good at getting through traffic like that and it stood up, which was good.

Q: Were you wearing team kit?

I was in team kit but we had blacked out windows, I was in the front and you couldn't see. We stopped right outside the entrance and I think we were unlucky as much as anything else. I think if we'd been in an S-class Merc fine, but you see a lot flashier cars on these streets than the one we were in.

Q: Do you think things like this should question the future of Interlagos?

You hear about it happening over the years and until you are involved you don't know how it feels. It's a pretty scary situation because initially you don't believe it's happened. And I don't think we were the only ones who had it yesterday. From what I hear the Sauber mechanics got held up and had to stop and gave them everything, so they had a pretty horrible ordeal and I feel more sorry for those guys. It's a horrible thing to happen but I feel fine now. There's a lot of attention because it's the first time it's been a driver who's been held up, but we'll just take even more care now. The drivers have police escorts as well as a bullet proof car and a policeman as a driver. It's not a comfortable feeling, it's not great, but we're here to have a great race now and that's what's most important.