What an idiot! After 'first-lap nutcase' row, Button turns fury on Japanese driver
21:12 GMT, 14 October 2012
Jenson Button launched a stinging attack on Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, branding him an ‘idiot’ after being forced out of the Korean Grand Prix on the opening lap.
Future McLaren team-mate Sergio Perez did not escape cricitism either after he also shunted Button although it was Japan’s Kobayashi — whom the British driver nicknamed ‘Kobacrashi’ — who bore the brunt of the fury.
‘It seems both Sauber drivers think the first lap of the race is the only lap,’ Button said as he conceded his slim title chance was finally over. ‘They have got a great car underneath them and could score such great points here if they just kept their heads together. I don’t know what they were doing.’
Crash: Kamui Kobayashi collides with Jenson Button in Korea
On a day when Sebastian Vettel registered his third win in a row, Button could not contain his anger at Kobayashi’s rush of blood.
Thumped on the right rear, Kobayashi then wrecked Button’s right front suspension as he tried a late breaking manoeuvre between the McLaren and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes. The German’s afternoon ended on the first lap like in Japan last weekend.
Button raged into his radio after slewing off at turn three: ‘Hit by Kobayashi, what an idiot.’
Even back at the garage Button’s anger had not abated. ‘Going down the back straight, I was having a good drag race with Nico. Then suddenly I felt a big bang on the right hand side and Kamui flying past,’ said Button who had started from 11th.
‘It is pretty poor driving standards considering this is the pinnacle of motorsport and it is such a long race. The race is not two corners long and some people need to learn that.’
End of the road: Button was forced into an early retirement in Korea
Kobayashi was handed a drive-through penalty by the stewards and, after retiring himself on lap 17, took full responsibility for his error.But two hours after the race, Button still could not resist a dig. ‘Kobacrashi, sorry Kobayashi, said on Twitter that he was very sorry that he caused the incident which is very nice,’ he jibed before accepting the apology.
‘The first thing is to say sorry. Then you forgive them and move on. You just hope that you limit the chances of it happening again. With Perez, I think he locked up and ran really deep into the corner and I suppose lost control. I think he misjudged it.’
After Button’s race ended early, out-going team-mate Lewis Hamilton put on a masterclass to limp home in 10th place. Battling from lap 18, his car handling atrociously following a rear anti-roll bar failure, Hamilton could have been forgiven for calling it a day.
His cause was not helped by a piece of Astroturf which became lodged in a sidepod later on as he tried to claw his way through the field following a third pit stop.
Good effort: Lewis Hamilton battled hard to finish 10th in Korea
But McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was genuinely taken aback by Hamilton’s determination to bring his car home — a performance which surely ended any speculation he would not give his all for his current team despite the Mercedes move.
‘We have just got one of the hardest won single points this team has had for many years,’ said Whitmarsh. ‘Lewis did a fantastic job. The amount of sheer determination to get one point was superb.’
Such qualities will be required by Hamilton at Mercedes next year given their continued lack of competitiveness. Michael Schumacher finished a lowly 13th.
‘It was a pure struggle with the car and in your mind,’ said Hamilton. ‘I feel pretty good because I remained strong throughout that struggle.’