McLaren star laps Dubai Autodrome....on foot
As excitement around the UAE builds with the impending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, McLaren driver Jenson Button began his preparation for the race in rather unusual fashion.
Button was at Dubai Autodrome early this morning, but instead of donning his flame proof overalls he slipped into his running shoes to tackle the challenges of the race circuit on foot.
Button and his two man entourage, consisting of personal trainer Mike Collier and former race driver Richard Williams, arrived in the Dubai Autodrome paddock as the sun rose over the horizon. Their brief warm-up included some stretching and applying suntan lotion as they set off to tackle six laps of the circuit in the Dubai sunshine.
For Button the 35km run was part of his acclimatisation process ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, while at the same time part of his training programme ahead of his first full marathon he is planning to run in Hawaii in early December.
The Englishman, who lies sixth in the world championship standings with two grand prix wins this season so far, explained the rationale behind his training.
“It's good to do training in hot conditions, which is perfect for this weekend's race in Abu Dhabi,” he said.
“It's also good for my weight. It keeps it down. If I run I lose so much weight, which I need because you're limited on weight when you are a tall driver. And have you seen marathon runners? They're quite skinny.”
As for his marathon ambitions Button said before setting out on his 35km run at Dubai Autodrome: “It’s a challenge. I don’t want to make predictions regarding what time I am targeting. For now, my first full marathon, the challenge is to finish. I'm not going to set a quick time because it's a tough hilly course.”
After two hours Button completed six laps of the Dubai Autodrome Grand Prix circuit layout, but looked reasonably fresh and not out of breath for someone who had completed a long run in temperatures approaching 30 degrees under a hot sun.
He revealed: “At around 30 km I hit what they call ‘the wall’, which also happened to be the start of a hill and started to feel the pain, but got through it.”
Collier, who oversees Button’s training regime and accompanied the drive for the first 21km of the run, commented afterwards: “It was hot out there, but this is perfect conditions for Jenson to prepare for the race. From now onwards he will take it easy and we will work on getting him into peak condition for the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, where he gets back into the car on Friday for the first practice sessions.”
“Dubai Autodrome, thank you for your hospitality. It was a pleasure to run around you. Well done #TeamButton strong effort,” tweeted Collier after the workout.