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Hamilton and Button to cheer on England

ESPNF1 Staff
June 11, 2010 « Jacques Villeneuve to make final bid to return to Formula One | »
Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are looking forward to cheering on England in the World Cup © Getty Images
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McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will put their pre-race plans on hold to cheer on England in their opening World Cup game against the USA.

England's opening Group C clash in Rustenberg kicks off half an hour after Hamilton and Button jump from their McLaren cockpits after qualifying in Montreal and both drivers are planning to rush straight to watch the match before their debrief.

"We don't know where we're going to be, but hopefully we will be able to watch the game," said Button. "Possibly the engineering debrief will go out of the window for a couple of hours because it's mostly English involved. Obviously, the most important thing for us this weekend is the race, but second to that will be watching the game. I don't think it will be as easy as some people believe."

Although Button does not claim to be die-hard football fan, he says he is always keen to cheer on England in whatever sport they play.

"I'm very patriotic and I'll always support my country. I get very excited by international sport, so I'm looking forward to it. It's an amazing sport when it comes to the World Cup because the whole world will be watching, and everyone becomes so competitive and so patriotic, I love it.

"It's such an important thing, and I'm sure the whole of England at the moment is going crazy with excitement. Hopefully the boys won't be too nervous, but they know what they are doing. It's like us when it comes to racing."

Unlike Button, Hamilton does not foresee nerves getting the better of Fabio Capello's men and thinks England will go a long way in South Africa.

"I don't feel we're going to have problems in the first game, but I don't think the guys should take it easy either," said Hamilton. "They should at least pace themselves and then bring it 100% for Brazil in the semi-finals. I think everyone is excited to watch the World Cup, to really see how we do. But I've definitely got football fever. It's already kicked in, but I need to go and get a shirt."

Button may yet even get to go to watch an England game live as he has been offered the opportunity to head out to South Africa depending on his own personal schedule and England's run in the tournament.

"A couple of people have asked me to go, and they'll sort me out and look after me, which would be wow, amazing," said Button. "I'm not sure if I'm free yet, but I'm going to try my best to get out there.

"It would be a wonderful opportunity because I've never been to watch a game at that level. It would be very special. Hopefully England are going to be in the tournament for quite a while so I would then get a chance to go and watch them."

Like their McLaren rivals, Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be cheering on their teams in the World Cup, albeit in not such a friendly manner as Germany faces Australia in their opening match.

"Germany will clearly win the match as Australia is the weakest team in our group, so winning should be imperative, even though Mark has a different opinion on that," said Vettel. "But as we know, the both of us have lately had some different opinions on things anyway."