While most of the Formula 1 fraternity was quick to lend its support to Jenson Button and his McLaren guests who narrowly avoided being carjacked at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday – as well as several Sauber mechanics who were robbed during the Interlagos weekend – the sport's mercurial commercial manager, Bernie Ecclestone, seemed rather unsympathetic to Button in particular.
"I've been coming here for more than 40 years, not just for the race," Ecclestone told the Reuters news agency when told of Button's near-mugging. "I've run on the beach here in the morning early with watches on and never been mugged, never seen anyone being mugged."
Ecclestone said that Brazilian criminals pick what they perceive to be easy targets – and said Button must have been one.
"They look for victims, they look for anyone who looks like a soft touch and not too bright," he said. "People who look a bit soft and simple, they will always have a go at. I think for the race weekend they probably watch TV and see who's not qualified in the top 10 and think, ‘Well, they must be a bit stupid, otherwise they would qualify in the top 10.'"
Ecclestone then asked his interviewer where Button's McLaren had qualified. Told it was 11th, he replied: "There you are, you see? I rest my case."