Jenson Button hopes his escape from an attempted armed robbery in Brazil on Saturday night helps bring home how dangerous Sao Paulo can be, so that people take more care to avoid similar trouble in the future.
Only swift action by trained police driver Daniel Toni ensured that Button and the people he was traveling with en route from the circuit to his hotel escaped unharmed when armed men approached their bullet proof Mercedes-Benz B-class car near the Interlagos circuit. With news emerging on Sunday morning that several Sauber engineers were also robbed last night, Button hopes some lessons can be learned.
"It is a horrible thing to happen," he said. "I feel fine now. There is obviously a lot of attention because it is the first time it's a driver that has been held up, but hopefully it will show the dangers that are here and we will take more care.
"From what I hear, most of the drivers have got police escorts into the circuit, as well as a bulletproof car and a police driver. It is not a very comfortable feeling but we are here now, here to have a good race, and that is the most important thing."
"You hear about it happening over the years, but until you are actually involved you don't know how it feels," he said. "It is a pretty scary situation, because initially you don't believe it's happening. It's quite strange and also I don't think we were the only people who had it yesterday. The Sauber mechanics, from what I hear, got held up and actually had to stop and give away everything. They had a pretty horrible ordeal, so I feel sorry for those guys.
"We rocked up at the traffic lights, about 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 saw a few guys gathering at the side of the road just at the entrance to a building. They just stood there. It looked a bit suspect but we didn't think anything of it – and then Richard [Goddard, Button's manager] noticed that one of them had a baton hanging down from his arm. Then I noticed that 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 and when they saw him look they started running towards the car.
"He angled the car and floored it. It didn't look like there was a big enough space there, we got between six cars and rammed every single one to get past. We got through in the end and got away, but looking behind there were two guys with hand guns. One was quite a simple looking hand gun and one guy with something that looked like a machine gun."