Button escapes armed attack

Button escapes armed attack

The Briton, who won his title in Brazil a year ago, was in traffic outside the Interlagos circuit when a group of men with guns targeted his car.

“We were going back from the track and were outside a shanty town and moving slowly on a busy road,” Button told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

“I saw a dog come out, which was very cute. The next thing I saw was a man with a gun. I said 'isn't that a gun?' and as soon as I said that, the driver angled the car and floored it.

“That's when we saw six men, all of them brandishing machine guns.”  McLaren said in an earlier statement that Button was quickly driven away from danger by an armed policeman trained in avoidance techniques who was at the wheel of the bullet-proof Mercedes provided by the team. Button's father John, his manager Richard Goddard and physiotherapist Mike Collier were also in the car.

Goddard said that they had left the circuit at 1900 local (2100 GMT) and were stationary in a queue of cars when they spotted a group of men running out of a building to their right.

“I noticed one of the guys had what looked like a big truncheon and then someone shouted 'One of them has got a gun',” he said. “And another one seemed to have a much bigger weapon.

“The guy pulled the gun out and someone else pulled an even bigger one out and they came running over towards the car. We told the driver 'Go, Go, Go'.”

The driver hit several other cars as he forced his way through the traffic to safety, Goddard said. Meanwhile, a group of Sauber engineers were robbed at gunpoint shortly after Button escaped unhurt, the team said on Sunday.

“They left the track -- three engineers together in a van -- at around 8 pm on Saturday," a spokesman said.  “They had to stop at the red light, and then all of a sudden five people were around the car, one with a machine gun, and they opened the door and took two rucksacks and disappeared. So nobody was injured.”

Later, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone dimissed any threat to Brazil’s place on the racing calender.

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