Oct 10, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT
We mentioned earlier this morning that this year’s Japanese Grand Prix will be run without a native driver – or engine manufacturer – for the first time in the race’s history since it came back on the Formula One calendar in 1987.
Perhaps the locals will shift their support and attention to Jenson Button? The McLaren driver has a love and affinity for Suzuka more than any circuit on the calendar, except his actual home Grand Prix in Silverstone. He explained as much leading up to this weekend’s on-track festivities.
“Japan is almost my second home Grand Prix, besides Silverstone, as this country here is in my heart,” said Button, who won in 2011 even though it was overshadowed by Sebastian Vettel’s clinching of his second straight World Championship.
“2011 was such a tough race, leading towards the end, running low on fuel with Fernando chasing me and Sebastian. It was amazing to win especially that year when Japan had had such a rough year as a country itself. So this was a very special victory, and my girlfriend was crying her eyes out,” he said. Button’s girlfriend, Jessica Michibata, is Japanese.
He rated two McLaren victories at Suzuka as his most memorable moments there, not either of the 1989 or 1990 comings-together between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
“Probably Mika Hakkinen’s win (in 1998), and for sure also Kimi’s (Raikkonen) win (in 2005),” said Button. “I was racing then. I remember having a qualifying in mixed conditions, and I qualified in the dry and managed to be on the front row, but Kimi caught the wet. He had to work his way through the field during the race, and he won it in the last or second-to-last lap only. That was a mega drive.”
- NASCAR schedule reveals some potential 2015 IndyCar schedule hints; Texas IndyCar returns 2
- Kevin Harvick riled at Tony Stewart portrayal in Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy 90
- Like a good stew, 2015 Sprint Cup schedule and new Chase format need time to simmer for best taste 1
- NASCAR AMERICA: How did the 2015 schedule come together? (VIDEO) 0
- NASCAR announces 2015 Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Truck Series schedules (VIDEO) 5
- FIA won’t punish Nico Rosberg after Belgian GP incident with Lewis Hamilton 15
- Will Power once again in position for IndyCar title – but this time feels different 1