x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Button's royal delight

Jenson Button rubbed shoulders with royalty on Sunday following a regal performance around the streets of Monte Carlo.

Jenson Button hugs one of his Brawn GP mechanics after triumphing in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix. It was the Briton's fifth win of the season and he now leads the championship by 16 points.
Jenson Button hugs one of his Brawn GP mechanics after triumphing in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix. It was the Briton's fifth win of the season and he now leads the championship by 16 points.

Jenson Button rubbed shoulders with royalty on Sunday following a regal performance around the streets of Monte Carlo. Button realised a boyhood dream with victory in the Monaco Grand Prix, after which he lived it up at the post-race ball hosted by Prince Albert. Tagging along were his mum, dad and girlfriend Jessica Michibata, and the delighted Englishman said: "Monaco puts on a good show."

That is what he did in taking his fifth win in six races this year to extend his championship lead to 16 points over Brawn GP team-mate Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian, whose 37th birthday was on Saturday, must be fed up with finishing second as it was the third time to Button this year and the fourth occasion in his 17 races at Monaco. With a third of the season now gone, there appears no stopping the Brawn/Button machine, although he is loathe to look too far ahead.

When it was suggested to him people were commenting he cannot lose the championship, he replied: "Yeah, I know. "I don't know how you can make that after six races. I've won five but you are sort of putting negative energy in there and saying it is mine to lose. "I wouldn't put it like that. I am 16 points in the lead and I have more of an advantage than others to win the championship but it is all to play for.

"It is not mine to lose for sure. I am doing the best I can and, at the moment, that is good enough. We will see what happens over the next few races." The triumph in Monaco follows on from successes in Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain and Spain, and Button has been on the podium in every race. And he is determined to soak in the success after the miserable winter when for a long period he looked as if he may be without a drive after Honda announced their pull-out of the sport, only to be saved by Brawn's takeover.

"I am just enjoying this moment, as the whole team should be. Every win is great but, for the whole team, everyone in Formula One, you want to win in Monaco and you want to win your home grand prix. "In a way this is both for me." That was reference to the fact his apartment is a short walk away from the eastern edge of the circuit at Portier, allowing him to put a different perspective on his triumph.

"Before the weekend I said this grand prix doesn't mean anything different to any other grand prix but we all know the truth," he said. "To win here is fantastic because this circuit is very different to anything else, with the last two laps the most enjoyable laps of my career I would say. "I could just enjoy the moment. I had a big enough lead and I could just enjoy winning Monaco. "It is something you always dream about as a kid. You watch it on television and you think it is an amazing spectacle.

"But actually driving in it and winning it is just fantastic. I am very happy, and with a one-two finish as well, it is exceptional. "The performance of the team this year is definitely going to go down in history. It has been staggering." * PA Sport