Formula One World Champion Jenson Button has revealed his top six moments from motor racing history, via a new collaboration with Motor Sport magazine and Readly.
From the Italian Grand Prix of 1971, to the Silverstone round of the 2015 WEC season – plus three of his own F1 races – Button's six picks make up a collection of content sourced from the Motor Sport magazine back catalog and published by Readly, a subscription app giving digital access to thousands of magazines.
As part of the collaboration, I was invited to join Jenson on an exclusive video call to chat through his favorite races. We also chatted about a lot more besides – from his early career in karting, to life in Los Angeles, family, his classic car collection, and much more. You can read about that in an in-depth piece, also written exclusively for Forbes, here .
"I've put six races together that stand out for me, that made a difference in my life" Button begins. "The first is from 1971 and it's the only one of the six that I didn't see live. It's the Italian Grand Prix, with five people fighting for the victory, with all five within two tenths of a second when they crossed the finish line. It's an insane race, if you haven't already watched it."
Jenson's second highlight is from the World Endurance Championship, and the Silverstone race of the 2015 season. "It was all about a fight between two cars, a Porsche and an Audi in the LMP1 class. For 30 minutes there was just non-stop fighting.
"That one's really interesting because now WEC is growing and 2023 is going to be an exceptional year in endurance racing; I think it's nine manufacturers that are going to turn up at Le Mans at the top category. We've never seen anything like that before. Really, really looking forward to that and maybe I'll be in one of the cars, you'll have to wait and see."
I ask if Button really will be on the grid at Le Mans in 2023, he says: "The idea is to actually race next year, here in the States, and then do Le Mans the following year."
Button's third pick for Readly was the 1993 European Grand Prix at Donington Park. "It was where Ayrton [Senna] had his amazing drive, not just the first lap but the whole race. That's the first F1 race I saw live, I was there with my dad so that one stands out."
His final three picks, understandably, are his own races from his time in Formula One. "There's 2009 Monaco, 2009 Brazil when I won the World Championship, and the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix. I had to mention that one because everyone else remembers my career being all about that weekend."
"They weren't my best races," Button admits, "but they were the ones that stand out for excitement..That's why I chose Canada. It was the longest race in history and in terms of excitement, it's not just because I won, but with the race itself there was so much action and great racing."
Canada 2011 is best known for Button's comeback from last place to finish first in a race that was halted because of heavy rain, then gradually dried out once restarted. "In the wet I wouldn't say I was the best in the wet but the changing conditions are what I love; thinking on my feet and working out which tires to be on…it was the strategy side of things in those conditions that was my strength."
On how he developed his driving abilities in changing conditions, Button recalled how, when karting as a child, his father "would take me out in wet conditions and I would drive on slick tires. He said because he was trying to teach me how to drive in tricky conditions, but I think he just couldn't be bothered to spend the money on wet tires. I think that did help."
The Jenson Button capsule collection marks the launch of a new series from Readly called Readly Retros. This will see the magazine app will re-publish iconic retro issues throughout 2021. As part of the campaign, Readly is offering two free months of access to thousands of magazines for customers signing up between June 22 and September 30, 2021.
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