Jenson Button escaped a frightening incident on Saturday night in Sao Paulo when an armed gang attempted to attack his car as he left the Interlagos circuit. Have emerged unscathed thanks to the quick actions of his driver, Button talked the media through the incident on Sunday morning.
Q. How are you feeling?
Jenson Button: Yeah fine, no problem.
Q. Can you talk us through what happened?
JB: 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 to the entrance to a building. They were just stood there.
It looked a bit suspect but we didn't think anything of it and then Richard [Goddard, 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.
We angled the car and floored it. It didn't look like there was a big enough space there, but 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.
Q. Are there any physical effects on you from hitting those cars?
JB: No, I'm fine. We were in a B-Class Mercedes-Benz. It is not the biggest of cars but it is bulletproof. It is pretty heavy so it is good at getting through traffic like that. It stood up, which was good.
Q. Did it have blacked-out windows?
Q. Were you in team kit?
JB: I did have my team kit on but it is blacked out so you cannot see anything. We stopped right outside the entrance, so I think we were unlucky more than anything else.
Q. Is there not an element of thinking that in a B-class Mercedes-Benz you are more of a target than in a less luxurious car?
JB: I think if we were in something like an S-class Mercedes-Benz then that is a very flash car - but a B-class Mercedes-Benz is a smaller car and it is one of the cheapest cars they have. It is not a flash car and you see a lot flashier cars on the road that drive around these streets.
Q. There is a lot of talk that something like this, and there have been a few incidents this weekend, could see Interlagos dropped from the calendar. How would you feel about that?
JB: You hear about it happening over the years, but until you are actually involved you don't know how it feels. It is a pretty scary situation, because initially you don't believe it is happening. It is 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.
Q. How do you feel this morning though?
JB: It is a horrible thing to happen. 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 down there, 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 and it is not great – but we are here now, here to have a good race, and that is the most important thing.