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Saturday 22 July 2017

Motorsport: Milestone moment for class act Button

David Coulthard

I will never forget the day Jenson Button rugby-tackled me to the floor despite the fact I happened to be naked at the time.

It was on my boat a few years ago out in Corsica. Several drinks had been consumed and there were some fans about in the harbour trying to get autographs and photos and so on.

In my tipsy state, I decided it would be a good idea to give them a bit of a show, so I stripped off and was about to open the curtains when Jenson came over all Jonny Wilkinson and leapt on me. I will be forever grateful that he saved me from the humiliation of having the family jewels splashed all over the internet and red tops.

That episode taught me two things about Jenson. One, that he has the maturity and wisdom to see the bigger picture. And two, that he is a true friend. If you are prepared to risk close association with my nether regions then you must be either that or mad.

I say all this to give a little insight into Jenson's character on the occasion of his 200th Grand Prix, which appropriately enough comes at the scene of his maiden win.

The years seem to have flown by. I can remember Jenson's debut in Australia at the age of 20 like it was yesterday. He had a little spin in free practice and the doubters asked if he was ready. Well, he was ready and has built on his natural talent; he has maximised his potential.

It has not always been easy, but the cream rises to the top. Jenson is a class act, a great ambassador for the sport, and fully deserved his world title in 2009.

Will he go on to 300 races? I'm not sure. He is 31 now. He could easily drive until he is 35 so he will certainly get well past my 247. For now let's just celebrate a great driver and rugby tackler.

WHO'S HOT

Lewis Hamilton's stunning win at the Nurburgring last weekend reminded everyone what a brilliant and instinctive racer he is. His move around the outside of Fernando Alonso was hugely impressive.

That commitment to overtake does mean he comes unstuck at times, but he has the wind in his sails now and he is one to watch this weekend.

WHO'S NOT

It would be harsh to say Sebastian Vettel, but by his lofty standards he did not have the best weekend in Germany. Seb is 24 years old and, like anyone his age, he is less than happy when things do not go his way.

But he is a very smart guy. He knows he has a 77-point lead over Mark Webber. He does not need to win them all. What he needs is to avoid mistakes. It will be interesting to see if he goes all out this weekend or plays it safe.

PREDICTION

Despite McLaren and Ferrari's resurgence, the safe bet for pole is still one of the two Red Bull drivers. (Daily Telegraph, London)

Hungarian Grand Prix,

Live, tomorrow, 1.0, BBC 1

Irish Independent

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