But­ton sur­prised by Alonso’s Indy move

New Straits Times - - Sport -

JEN­SON But­ton was sur­prised by Fer­nando Alonso’s de­ci­sion to race in Sun­day’s In­di­anapo­lis 500 and said on Wed­nes­day he had no de­sire to em­u­late his former team­mate.

The Bri­ton, Formula One world cham­pion with Brawn GP in 2009, is re­plac­ing Alonso at McLaren in Sun­day’s Monaco Grand Prix af­ter the Spa­niard opted to com­pete at The Brick­yard on the same day.

“Indy’s not re­ally been some­thing that I’ve thought about. Per­son­ally, I was sur­prised that Fer­nando was in­ter­ested in do­ing it but we all like dif­fer­ent things,” the 37-year-old told re­porters.

But­ton said he would like one day to com­pete in Le Mans, an­other leg of the famed Triple Crown of Mo­tor­sport along with Indy and the Formula One world cham­pi­onship, and also NASCAR in the United States.

“And then there’s the other mo­tor­sports that I love like Ral­ly­cross as well. There are many things, but Indy hasn’t been up there for me for many dif­fer­ent rea­sons,” said the driver, who stood down from McLaren at the end of 2016 while re­main­ing un­der con­tract as a brand ‘am­bas­sador’.

Alonso has qual­i­fied fifth for the Indy 500, im­press­ing view­ers on both sides of the At­lantic in the process, and the dou­ble world cham­pion can­not be ruled out as a po­ten­tial rookie win­ner of the anti-clock­wise oval race.

But­ton said he would watch — once he had been told what time the race was on — and had en­joyed Alonso’s first drive in the McLaren Indy car run by the An­dretti Au­tosport team.

“I watched when he drove the car for the first time, which is al­ways in­ter­est­ing, see­ing a driver ’s re­ac­tion,” he said smil­ing. “Ac­tu­ally, prob­a­bly it was more the re­ac­tion to the me­dia be­ing right next to him ev­ery sec­ond that he was out of the car.

“That’s the bit that I loved watch­ing the most — be­cause we all know how Fer­nando loves the me­dia. So see­ing his re­ac­tion to that was even bet­ter than see­ing his re­ac­tion to driv­ing the car around the cir­cuit,” joked But­ton. Reuters

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