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Button gives thanks to loyal supporters 09 Aug 2006

Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing. Jenson Button Honda Promotional Tour, Shanghai, China, 8 August 2006. World ©  SUTTON.

Honda’s Jenson Button has paid tribute to his long-suffering fans following his maiden Formula One victory in last Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Button’s inaugural triumph came almost six and half years after he made his debut in the sport with Williams.

After 13 podiums from 112 Grand Prix starts, many had started to question whether Button would ever win a race. But his faultless performance at the sodden Hungaroring not only proved his critics wrong, it also gave his loyal followers what they had been so patiently waiting for.

“It is a really nice feeling to have a chance to repay them for their effort and support over the years - it’s been a tough few years,” said the British star. “My time at Honda has been fantastic, but we’ve had some low times, and this is the best time of my career. And so I say a big thank you to my supporters for staying with me and being supportive through the difficult times.”

Those difficult times have included some frustrating seasons with Benetton and BAR, plus Button’s much-publicised contractual problems, which last year saw him buy his way out his long-term Williams deal in order to stay at Honda. Through it all, Button says his fans have been there for him.

“I have got a lot (of fans) out there that I’ve seen through fan mail, and support at (the British Grand Prix at) Silverstone and all around the world,” he said. “It is a really nice feeling to have a chance to repay them for their effort and support over the years.”

Unfortunately, as his fans across the world celebrated, Button didn’t have much time to party, as just hours after his momentous win he was jetting off on a four-day promotional commitment in China. He did, however, promise to rectify the situation on his return.

“I’ve got a great holiday planned - I’m heading out with my friends to the Mediterranean and celebrate,” he revealed. “We do need to celebrate it, and then we can start moving on and look to the next race.”

That race will be the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul on August 27, and with no track testing allowed before then, Button and Honda will arrive in confident mood.