Button reaches 250 GP landmark with more to learn

03 April 2014 02:31

Jenson Button will become only the fifth driver in history to rack up 250 grands prix on Sunday, but the 2009 world champion insists he is still learning his trade.

The 34-year-old Briton follows Rubens Barrichello (326 races), Michael Schumacher (308), Riccardo Patrese (257) and Jarno Trulli (256) into Formula One's long service club with no sign of his powers declining with age.

After two races of the 2014 season, where he has finished third in Australia and sixth in Malaysia, Button says the secret to his longevity is to watch, listen and learn.

"For me, being 14 years in the sport, I still feel like I have more to learn," Button said Thursday.

"I'm definitely not the perfect driver yet, and I never will be, but there is always still more to learn. That's something, for me, that's exciting about the sport."

Button started his F1 career with Williams in 2000 before switching to Benetton, Renault, Honda, Brawn, where he won his world title, and then McLaren.

"I've learned a lot along the way, as you can imagine, racing for 14 years in Formula One. The thing that surprises me is how quickly it goes by. Fifty races ago I was in Hungary, celebrating my 200th grand prix, which I won by the way," he added.

"So, it's amazing how time flies. You really do have to enjoy every moment of it as much as you can."

Button stands fourth in the championship ahead of this weekend's third round in Bahrain.

The dusty Sakhir track was the site of one of his 15 career wins, achieved in 2009.

His first career win -- in a Honda at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix -- remains a standout memory.

But there are others.

"Canada 2011, when I went from last to first and overtook Sebastian (Vettel) for the lead on the final lap, was another special one, as were my wins at Spa in 2012 and Suzuka in 2011.

"If I had to pick one victory as my best, I'd say Japan. Suzuka is such a special racetrack and the year in which I won, in 2011, just after the tsunami, made it particularly special."

There have been personal and professional setbacks along the way for Button.

In January this year, his father John passed away at the age of 70.

Last season, meanwhile, was one to forget on the track with McLaren failing to record a single podium before former team principal Ron Dennis returned over the winter to a more hands-on role.

But whatever happens in the rest of his career, Button says his relationship with his father will always keep him motivated.

"The nicest thing anyone ever said to me came from my dad. He said: 'You might not be the quickest driver in the world, but you're the best.' Those words meant a lot, and they still do."

Source: AFP