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GP Week : Issue 199
F1 >>> FEATUrE 22 GPWEEK.com // 22 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Jenson, You’re only the fifth driver in history to reach this milestone. What does it mean to you? JENSON BUTTON: It means I’ve been around for a long time! I’m very happy with my career, even though there have been highs and lows. One of the things I’m most proud of is the way I’ve stacked up against my team-mates. I’ve had 10 of them in 15 seasons, so I’ve needed to prove myself to the new guy sat beside me virtually every year. It’s a very funny sport in that respect because even after everything you’ve achieved, you’ve still got to prove yourself time and again. (Readers: try and name all 10 – the answer will come at the end of the interview ...) Which of your 15 victories to date would you rate as your best? The first one – Hungary 2006 – was pretty special because the conditions were tricky and it meant a lot to win my first race. 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 ’11 (above).. But 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 ’11, just after the tsunami, made it particularly special. Can you name your best qualifying lap to date? My pole lap at Monaco in 2009 was pretty awesome, as was my lap at Spa in 2012 when I was 0.4s quicker than everybody else – and I didn’t have a bad team-mate at the time (Lewis Hamilton). There’s also my first pole position, at Imola in 2004. To drive a V10-engined F1 car around that track was amazing because you were on the ragged edge all the time and you couldn’t afford to make a mistake. If I had to pick one lap, it would be that one at Imola. What’s the best track you’ve driven on? That has to be Imola – a proper circuit. IthasagreatflowtoitandIlikethe way you clamber over the kerbs. You use all of the circuit because it’s narrow, but you don’t go over the track limits because it’s unforgiving. When you get a lap out of the car there, it means a lot because you know you’ve really had to push the limits. What’s been your best overtaking manoeuvre? There have been a lot of them because I’ve been around for 15 years! But a few stand out: in 2006 I overtook two people around the outside of Turn 6 at Interlagos, which was pretty exciting because it’s a quick corner. I also went around the outside of Adrian Sutil and Felipe Massa at Austin last year. That’s been my move: going around the outside of two people! There was also Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim a couple of years ago. We had a 10-lap battle and it was real wheel-to-wheel stuff. That was probably the best battle I’ve had during my career. There was respect, but we were pushing the boundaries. Can you think of a race where you deserved more recognition than you got at the time? Spa 2013 was a very good race for me. I finished sixth, but managed to hang onto the cars in front and was only 13s behind third place at the chequered flag. I don’t think our car deserved to be that competitive, so that was a very special race. There was also Brazil 2009, the race at which I won the World Championship. I finished fifth, but got everything out of