Tag Archives: Jenson Button

Holding out for two other heroes

So Bradley Wiggins is a fully paid up super hero. We admire his achievements and his dry sense of humour, even his bloody sideburns are close to being deified. But most of all we love him because he’s human.

It actually makes me rather sad for a couple of our other sporting superstars. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have been waving the Union Flag on the world stage for years now and they don’t get anything like the adulation Wiggo gets.

That everyone can do cycling and no one can drive a Formula One car doesn’t stack up as a reason. The sort of bike Wiggo rides is about as similar to my treader as an F1 car is to the family VW Polo. Part of it is undoubtedly that after years of the national football side failing woefully in the beautiful game, we seem to have found a sport that we Brits are good at. The other part is their respective characters, or rather the way Hamilton and Button’s have been so carefully managed?

I’ve met and interviewed Lewis Hamilton and he’s a nice enough guy. But McLaren keeps him too closeted from the real world. When I interviewed him there was me and another journalist and four, yes FOUR PR people. It was like they were waiting for me to get up and mug him for his TAG Heuer.

Wiggo on the other hand seems refreshingly unaffected. After Wiggo’s time trial success, we saw him having a well-earned night out on the Vodka and Tonic. He was with his mates having a laugh. When we see Hamilton out he’s with his pop chick girlfriend or a celeb pal. It seems as fake as his oversized diamond studs look. Button seems more interesting and charismatic but we just don’t see him period, which is a shame for sports fans and sponsors alike.

Wiggo is unlikely ever to be as rich as either Button or Hamilton. But unless he changes dramatically he will always be the bigger hero. I think I’d sacrifice a few quid for that.


The rough with the smooth

At the recent British Grand Prix, I read a newspaper story that made me do a double take. Jenson Button was suggesting that if it was raining it would be too dangerous to race. He complained that there was a river running across the track at one of its fastest points and that if the cars hit it at speed they could spin out of control. Errr, how about slowing down?

I found it astonishing that someone who is paid multi millions to drive a racing car could be so thoughtless to the thousands of paying punters who’ve helped elevate him to that lofty position. It’s fine if Button doesn’t want to race. He can get into his private helicopter, fly to his private jet and go back to his multi-million pound Monaco existence. It’s not quite so simple for the fans in the stands, many of whom save up for their grand prix weekend.

If Button can’t take the rough with the smooth and drive in torrential conditions, then it’s his right to slow down a bit, or even abandon the race. No one thought any the less of Niki Lauda when he withdrew from the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix. Ditto Alain Prost after the rain-soaked 1988 British GP. What Button is wrong to do, in my humble opinion, is suggest that the whole race should be called off. Just because he doesn’t fancy it doesn’t mean there won’t be drivers further down the grid and even McLaren’s tester Oliver Jarvis who wouldn’t grab the opportunity with both hands.

For a story I was writing recently I had to select some clips of F1 drivers doing their thing. Check this one on board with Nigel Mansell at the start of the 1991 San Marino GP.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ORkRk0J85A. Bear in mind that what we see is what the driver sees in this instance. Never heard Mansell complain about racing. Many other things, never racing.