Jen­son’s F1 ca­reer looks un­but­toned once and for all

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORSPORT -

FOR­MULA One may have seen the last of Jen­son But­ton fol­low­ing the 2009 world cham­pion’s Monaco Grand Prix come­back as stand-in for McLaren race reg­u­lar Fer­nando Alonso.

The 37-year-old Bri­ton made it abun­dantly clear at the week­end that while he en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence more than ex­pected he had no de­sire to do any more For­mula One races this year.

“It has not whet­ted the ap­petite for any more - def­i­nitely not,” said But­ton, who started last and from the pit lane due to penal­ties and re­tired from the race af­ter col­lid­ing with Pas­cal Wehrlein’s Sauber.

But­ton, who was deemed at fault by race stew­ards and given a three­place grid drop for a next race that may never hap­pen, will have breathed a big sigh of re­lief to see dou­ble world cham­pion Alonso emerge un­scathed from a crash­strewn In­di­anapo­lis 500.

Had the Spa­niard been in­jured in a race he led for 27 laps be­fore his car’s Honda en­gine ex­pired in all­too fa­mil­iar cir­cum­stances with 21 of the 200 laps re­main­ing, But­ton’s ser­vices might have been re­quired fur­ther.

Asked be­fore the race whether he might re­turn as a stand-in later in the year if re­quired, But­ton replied: “Who knows, but I don’t plan on it.

“I also know that the team don’t plan on mov­ing their race driv­ers around.

“So no, it’s def­i­nitely not the plan for me to race again this year in For­mula One. In other cat­e­gories, pos­si­bly yes. But not in For­mula One, I’ve got my own things that I’m en­joy­ing away from the sport at the mo­ment.”

For­mer cham­pi­ons McLaren the only team yet to score a point this year - have an op­tion on But­ton for 2018 but he left no doubt that he had not missed the sport he left at the end of last year.

While he said he had en­joyed prac­tice “more than I have for a cou­ple of years to be fair”, he was also clearly un­set­tled by the width and char­ac­ter­is­tics of the new cars and the prospect of try­ing to over­take.

The best mo­ment of his af­ter­noon was per­haps a phone call from Alonso be­fore the start, with the Spa­niard wish­ing him luck and ask­ing him to take car of his car.

“Ok, I’m go­ing to pee in your seat,” replied But­ton with a laugh.

Sun­day’s Monaco GP was won by Fer­rari’s Sebastian Vet­tel ahead of his team-mate Kimi Raikko­nen and the Red Bull of Daniel Ric­cia­rdo. Vet­tel opened a 25 point cham­pi­onship lead over Lewis Hamil­ton, who only man­aged sev­enth place in his Mercedes af­ter qual­i­ty­ing 14th.

- Reuters

But­ton started last and crashed out of the Monaco race.

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