• Japanese Grand Prix

Japan means a lot - Button

ESPN Staff
September 29, 2012 « 'Gloves-off' in the title race - Hamilton | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
Jenson Button and Jessica Michibata © Sutton Images

Fresh from a second place finish at the Singapore Grand Prix, Jenson Button is as determined as ever to go one better at a venue that is very special to him.

Button triumphed at the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix with the effects of the devastating Tsunami still fresh in the memory. And the country is one of his favoured destinations as his girlfriend, Jessica Michibata, is a Japanese fashion model.

"All of my grand prix wins have felt special, but winning at Suzuka in 2011, at the first grand prix held in Japan since the terrible tsunami last March, was an achievement that still makes me feel incredibly proud and emotional," said Button. "As everybody knows, Japan means a lot to me. It's a place I love, I've been here so many times - for business and pleasure - and I still feel that wide-eyed awe and deep emotion for a country that exists so comfortably on so many different levels."

Suzuka is also a favourite amongst drivers for the challenge it poses and with the iconic 180R and Degner 1 it is a circuit Button enjoys.

"Suzuka is definitely a circuit that puts hair on your chest. It's extremely uncompromising; like a street circuit, it doesn't allow for a single mistake, punishing you for putting a wheel wrong at almost every point on the circuit.

"But it's also extremely quick - there's only one line through the esses that make up the whole first section; the Degner corners are blind, hidden in dips in the track, and approached over bumps that jolt the car, trying to unbalance it. Successfully hitting the apex for Degner 1 is a bit like trying to thread a needle while running the 100 metres - difficult!"