Having not met any of F1’s current superstars previously, I bumped into Jenson Button last week for a story you can read about in the new year. And what struck me was very simply what a nice chap he is.
Although he most certainly had the aura of a mega-being, he wasn’t in any way arrogant or elusive or awkward. We spent most of the day together on and off and an hour or so almost exclusively in each others’ company, yet the whole time Jenson was just one of the lads, quite obviously enjoying what he does, and doing it in an endearing style that’s quite clearly all of his own.
There was no affectation, not even the merest hint of a tantrum when he was asked to perform a couple of frankly pretty tedious sounding PR errands. He just got on with it and delivered the goods through a big warm smile that looked genuine, looked real. Was real.
There is no caveat here, either. I’m not going to end this by saying he was a nice bloke but…Because as far as I could tell there is no but with Jenson (absolutely no pun intended). And I suppose that’s the point in this instance. You read and hear so many stories about how today’s F1 stars are either boring robots, nasty pieces of work or a combination of the two, it becomes hard NOT to assume the worst.
And in Jenson Button’s case nothing could be further from the truth. So good on you Jense, here’s hoping you flatten them in 2008. Especially when they take the traction control away.