Jenson Button embarrassed after ‘massive whack’ from Kimi Raikkonen

Ex-F1 World Champion Jenson Button has admitted that his first NASCAR outing around the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) was “terrible.”

Jenson Button’s NASCAR debut saw him start 24th on the grid after a disappointing qualifying session before he fell backwards through the pack in the opening stages.

Button, who won the 2009 F` World Championship, was racing against 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, who got the better of the Brit in qualifying.

“The first stint was really bad – it was embarrassing for me,” Button admitted. “It was terrible… I must’ve been last by the end of it.”

For Button, despite the poor start, a pit stop would allow him to claw back some places, ultimately climbing his way up to 18th.

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“The pace was good, consistency was good. I was really happy, and passed a few cars which was nice,” the British driver said.

Button’s performance might have been slightly better if it hadn’t been for an unfortunately timed safety car.

“We got a little bit unlucky with the Safety Car because it was just two laps before our window. Pitted, then the next stint was mayhem. We also made a couple of changes that just didn’t work. Big oversteer – went from the car feeling great to really difficult to drive,” Button explained.

The situation would prove even more challenging for Button when he made contact with Raikkonen in the latter stages of the race.

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“I also had a massive whack from Kimi, and it fell off after that. The car wasn’t quite right. Every time I turned in, the rear tyres would chatter, then immediately to oversteer,” Button added.

“Finished 18th after almost stopping because I had heat exhaustion,” Button said. “It was so hot. I don’t have a fan in my seat which really didn’t help me too much.

“The team kept me calm, and it’s the reason why we got a good result in the end. So, I was happy,” he explained.

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Raikkonen, who has a good record around COTA, having secured his last Formula One victory at the 2018 Grand Prix around the circuit, had a similarly frustrating race.

Having been at P4 towards the end of the race, Raikkonen suffered a spin and some contact that saw him fall back to P29 by the time he saw the chequered flag.

“We got unlucky with the incidents that happened. It was one of those things, unfortunately,” Raikkonen explained.