Jenson Button has just recounted the story of his unfortunate encounter with armed robbers in Sao Paulo last night.
Button and his entourage had a lucky escape, because a group of Sauber engineers were later attacked, losing their rucksacks, among other items. Their attackers comprised a group of five men, one of whom had a machine gun, which matches the description of the Button attackers.
Button explained the events as follows: “I was with our driver, we were driving in a B-Class Merc, heading down just outside the circuit, about a kilometre away, if that. We pulled up at some traffic lights about three rows back. It’s a three lane road, about six or seven cars in front of us.
“Our driver as always stops early, doesn’t pull up right behind the car in front. and we looked to the right and then we saw a few guys gathering just at the side of the road, just at the entrance to a building. They were just stood there, they looked a bit suspect, but we didn’t think anything of it. Then Richard saw that one had a baton hanging down from his arm. One guy was playing around with something in his trousers, and it was a gun.
“As soon as I said that the driver looked across, and they saw him look and started running towards the car. So we angled the car and floored it – it didn’t look like there was a big enough space there, and we got between six cars, just rammed every single car to get past, got through in the end and got away. Looking behind there were two guys with hand guns, quite simple looking hand guns, and one guy with what looked like a machine gun.
“We were in a B-Class Merc, which is not the biggest of cars, but it was bulletproof, so it’s pretty heavy, and it’s good at going through traffic like that. It stood up, which is good.
“It was blacked out, so you can’t see anything. We stopped right outside the entrance, so I think we were probably unlucky more than anything else. A B-Class Merc is a smaller car, one of the cheapest cars they have, so it’s not a big flash car. You see a lot more flashy cars on the road that drive around this streets.
“It’s a horrible thing to happen. I feel fine now. There’s obviously a lot of attention because it’s the first time it’s been a driver that’s been held up, but hopefully it will show the dangers down there and we’ll take more care. I think from what I hear most of the drivers have got police escorts into the circuit as well as a bulletproof car and as well as a policeman as a driver. It’s not a comfortable feeling, but we’re here now and we’re here to have a good race. That’s the most important thing.”