F1 star Jenson Button training in Phuket

Posted: March 25, 2014 by kirisyko in Fitness and Training, Formula1, Motor, Triathlon
Tags: ,

TRIATHLON: Former world champion Formula 1 driver Jenson Button has been spending the past few days at the Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club in Phuket getting ready for next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Photo: Flickr


While other drivers may be taking it easy, Button has been doing some serious triathlon training with Jurgen Zäck and friend and fellow triathlete Chris McCormack, Thanyapura’s Executive Chairman.

Button was not available for interview, but the sports club’s CEO, Michael Gilliam, has spent downtime with Button and his fiancée, model Jessica Michibata, over the past few days, and spoke with The Phuket News about the race driver’s training regimen and his attitude to racing.

“He’s come here for acclimation work [in the run-up to Malaysia] because of the heat and humidity. He said it helps dramatically, especially in the last 15 laps [of a Grand Prix] and can maybe make the difference between winning and losing.”

Button is an accomplished triathlete. The 34-year-old driver has competed in many major events around the world. His charity, the Jenson Button Trust, stages a triathlon in England every year to raise money for cancer research.

Button himself naturally takes part – being able to compete against him is part of the attraction of the event. Last year he came 17th out of a field of hundreds.

Over the past few days at Thanyapura he has set himself a gruelling pace, Gilliam, said. “On Saturday he did 60km on the bike,, with a swim. On Sunday he did 110km on the bike and a swim in the afternoon. Yesterday he rode for three hours again and had a run last night on the track and today he has ridden and this afternoon he will swim. It’s pretty serious work.”

Though Button is the only F1 driver to have trained at Thanyapura so far, other race drivers also use triathlon as a way to get fit and stay that way. In 2010, Button, Bruno Senna, Lucas Di Grassi and Alexander Wurz were all competitors in the TriStar111 Monaco, consisting of 1km of swimming, 100km of cycling and 10km of running.

“He’s a fit boy,” said Gilliam. “No question about that. He’s a damn hot age-grouper. No doubt if he had a go an being a pro [triathlete] he’d be really competitive. On the 100k on Sunday we averaged 36.4k an hour in the atrocious heat.

“His holy grail is he wants to compete in the Kona in Hawaii when his F1 days are over – and he’ll be going there to compete, not just for the experience.

“Interestingly, he says that he doesn’t get nervous before F1 races, but he gets nervous before a triathlon. He says he sleeps pretty well before a grand prix but he sleeps rough before a triathlon.”

Gilliam has noticed that Button’s approach to triathlons is similar to the way he drives in Formula 1. “He’s very smooth. You see him on a bike he rides very smoothly. It’s like the way he drives. Not brutish at all.”

Button is popular with the people at Thanyapura, by no means the prima donna. “The people who train with him have asked for photos and he’s been more than obliging,” says Gilliam. “He’s a thorough gentleman. A true bowler hat.”

An F1 world champion in 2009, Button came third in the first Grand Prix of this year, the Australian GP on March 16. Practice for the Malaysian GP starts on Friday (March 28), with the race on Sunday.

– See more at: http://www.thephuketnews.com/f1-star-jenson-button-training-in-phuket-45355.php#sthash.MRAgZmRH.dpuf

Photo: Flickr

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