x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Button is out for some fun

Jenson Button will savour his first outing as world champion when he takes to the track at Yas Marina today.

The world champion Jenson Button signs autographs in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
The world champion Jenson Button signs autographs in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

ABU DHABI // Jenson Button will savour his first outing as world champion when he takes to the track at Yas Marina today. The Briton secured the driver's championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix two weeks ago and is relishing the opportunity to race with the pressure off him.

"I am going to enjoy this weekend. It is very strange because it does not feel like part of the world championship, it is just a race to go and enjoy yourself," he said. "I have been relaxing, training and lying on the beach running over the Brazil weekend and thinking through what I have achieved." Button and the other 19 drivers will take to the track for the first time this afternoon for the first practice session. It will be the first time any of the drivers have experienced the course other than an computer simulations.

"I saw the layout of the circuit a few weeks ago and I wasn't too sure. It looked like a very low speed circuit," he said. "But having dri-ven on the simulator last week I really enjoyed it. It is a tricky circuit with a lot of negative camber. "I went out on a scooter a minute ago and it is a fun circuit. I think we're going to have a good race." The Williams driver Nico Rosberg announced yesterday that he was leaving the team.

The German refused to confirm his team for next season, though he has been heavily linked with BrawnGP in recent weeks. "It is my last race for Williams. And that is it really. It is a bit strange because for four or five years it is the only team I have worked with, so it has been a long time," he said. "I get on with everybody really well, obviously, and a lot of respect has built up - with the mechanics and everyone. So it will be quite strange to leave.

"I can also use this opportunity to thank the team, because all in all I think they have done, for my career, a lot of good. Especially Sir Frank [Williams], Adam Parr, Sam Michael and Patrick [Head], they supported my career all these years. So it is a big thank you to them." On a fascinating day in the paddock yesterday there were also suggestions that the German driver Timo Glock, who is with the Toyota team, had signed a deal with Renault for next season.

gcaygill@thenational.ae Practice sessions, 1pm & 5pm Abu Dhabi Sports