“Get Out, Push the Car”: When Jenson Button Was Asked to Push the Car to Finish Line in a Heartbreaking Finish

Published 04/09/2020, 11:52 AM EDT


The 2006 Australian Grand Prix became a forgettable race for poor old Jenson Button. On the last lap, he was battling former teammate Giancarlo Fisichella for 5th place. Sadly, his engine erupted in a huge plume of smoke, and he was forced to pull over and retire. The British driver trundled to a halt, a mere 20 metres from the finish line.

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Interestingly, Button deliberately stopped his car before the line. At that time, the F1 rules stated that drivers had to complete two races with the same engine. Obviously, he had to change the engine for the next race, but his actions helped his dodge a ten-place grid penalty at Imola.

Australia was already the 3rd race that season, with Imola being the 4th race on the calendar. So, it would have been disastrous to change the engine and risk a penalty.

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What happened to Jenson Button after that race in Australia?

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The Briton was quite possibly thanking his lucky stars for avoiding the penalty because he qualified 2nd in San Marino. Unfortunately, a bungled pit stop cost him a chance of fighting Michael Schumacher for the win.

What was even more frustrating was the fact that Schumacher had his own issues towards the end  of the race. Although Fernando Alonso caught Schumacher from 5th on the grid, he couldn’t overtake. Jenson Button stood a chance of jumping the Ferrari in the pits.

It became a tale of what could have been for the Honda driver, until the Hungarian Grand Prix. He stunned many people when he crossed the line to take a maiden victory for himself and Honda. Three years down the line, who knew that he would go on to become a world champion with the newly-formed Brawn GP.

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A year later, he switched to McLaren and would remain with the Woking outfit until 2016. He retired from F1 at the end of the year, but returned for the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix when Fernando Alonso took part in the Indy 500. Since then, he has not stepped in an F1 car, and his Virtual F1 Grand Prix race does not really count.

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Dhruv George

11760 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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