Jenson Button, McLaren, Singapore, 2016

Button never thought he’d reach 300 races

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Jenson Button says he never thought he’d still be racing in F1 in his thirties, let alone reach a milestone 300th start this weekend.

“It means I’ve been around for a hell of long time!” said Button suring today’s FIA press conference.

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010
Rubens Barrichello was the first driver to 300 starts
“I remember when Rubens [Barrichello] got to 300 it was unbelievable that he’d reached 300 grands prix. I thought ‘I’m never going to race for that long’.”

Button is the third driver to achieve a triple century of race starts. Barrichello went on to reach 322 starts while Michael Schumacher did 306.

“I remember when I started in 2000, speaking to my dad and he was saying ‘how long do you think you’re going to race for? Do you think you’re going to race in your thirties?’ I’m like ‘no, I’ll be done by the time I’m 30 years old’.”

“And here I am, 36, and this weekend, starting my 300th grand prix. So it definitely sucks you in, Formula One, it doesn’t let go for a long time. As long as you’re performing.”

Button said it’s “been a great ride to 300” starts with “lots of ups and downs, as every career will have”.

“The important thing is you stay on top of those bad times and you enjoy the good time as much as you can because you never know how long they’re going to last. A very exciting career, to this point, 300 races.”

Speaking at a conference including Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniil Kvyat, Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa, Button added: “If any of these guys can achieve it around me, fair play to them, because it’s a long time doing the same thing.”

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 9 comments on “Button never thought he’d reach 300 races”

    1. I remember in 2002 when he lost his drive at Renault a lot of people said it is the end. BAR saved his career and he helped the team surviving.

    2. I’ll miss him, especially since he has this “i’m only taking a year out” arrangement which is almost certainly not going to be the case, unless vandoorne is a big let down and they can’t find anyone else, Button wont be driving in F1 again after this year.

      I’d like to see him replace that idiot “crofty” and have a Button, Brundle commentary team at sky.

      1. I would rather listen to cats fight than that moron David Croft. Button/Brundle would be brilliant.

        1. @hollidog Now this is the best thing i have read on the internet in a while.

      2. +1 Button and Brundle would be an awesome combination.

        1. Maybe, but I think Sky is opting for the combination exited brawler & levelheaded expert, like BBC did in the past with Murray Walker & James Hunt.

    3. It’d be interesting to see how many races Prost and Fangio, Moss etc, would have had had their seasons also averaged those of Barichello and Schumacher. Button is the first who has fully enjoyed some 6 seasons with 20 odd races.

    4. I’ve got to say a big congratulations to Button. I was 12 when he started and am now 29 :-( But the one thing he has more than anything is character and resilience!

      In that time I’ve seen Button start as the next Sterling Moss into too much of a playboy, then into a boy band member to best of the rest behind the all conquering Ferraris in 2004, then nowhere for the next 18 months before gaining more points than Alonso and Schumacher in the second half of their epic and immaculate 2006 battle, then to the forgotten man of British motorsports for two years to his career hanging by a thread then to world champion, then the WDC to get destroyed by Hamilton at McLaren, then the only guy to beat Hamilton as his team-mate, then end get destroyed but somehow outscore him over their time together at McLaren and then being too old only to show up younger talents like Perez and Magnussen, then to get blown away by Alonso like Kimi but then being the only driver to outscore him over a season and never really quite being blown away at all.

      Honestly I have no doubt what will happen to Button but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of him. Whatever happens I won’t be foolish enough to make anymore predictions!

      1. Correction:
        Honestly I have *no idea* what will happen to Button but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of him. Whatever happens I won’t be foolish enough to make anymore predictions!

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