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The First Time - with McLaren's Jenson Button

17 Nov 2014

This season has followed a somewhat unusual trajectory for Jenson Button, encompassing everything from a podium in the first race to uncertainty about whether the 2014 finale will also be his last Formula One Grand Prix.

Ahead of what could therefore be an emotional race, we asked Button about some of the other 'firsts' in his life, from his first driving lessons with 'Papa Smurf' to his first big accident, and from his earliest sporting success to his first reaction when he landed an F1 drive...

Who was your first hero when you were a child?

Jenson Button: That was probably Bananaman. A real superhero!

What was the first Grand Prix you can remember watching?

JB: It was a race in Adelaide - I remember the bright yellow of the Camel-Lotus.

How old were you when you first decided you wanted to be an F1 driver?

JB: Probably when I was a teenager. Before that if somebody asked me 'do you want to be an F1 driver?' I'd say 'yes, of course' - but you didn't understand what that really means. I wanted to drive cars - and that was all I wanted - but it was only as a teenager that I realised F1 could really be an option.

When was your first big accident in a race car?

JB: 2003 in Monaco. In karting I had some pretty big accidents too. One was in Suzuka - it was a massive accident, and a steep learning process.

What colour was your first helmet?

JB: Black, red and yellow. We bought a helmet and dad changed it for me.

When did you win your first trophy in racing and what did it look like?

JB: I guess it was very 'plasticcy'. I got it when I won my first kart race. I'm sure that I still have it - even if I haven't seen it for probably 26 years!

What was the first road car you drove?

JB: It was my dad's BMW 7-series when I was about 12 or 13 years old. It was big and heavy - the most I learned with it was how to park! I bumped it quite a few times. (laughs)

Where was the first house you lived in?

JB: My parents' house. I was in Frome the other day at my sister's wedding and I drove past our old house - that was somehow touching.

How nervous were you on your first day of school?

JB: I think everyone is. You're stupid if you weren't.

What was the first meal you ever cooked?

JB: I haven't got a clue. Probably spaghetti. Something foolproof! (laughs)

What was the first thing you did this morning?

JB: Turned my alarm off.

What was the first thing you did after getting your first F1 seat?

JB: Cried. My dad was there - but I called my mum too.

What was the first record you bought?

JB: UB40 - Rat in the Kitchen.

What was the first sport you participated in as a kid?

JB: We used to have running races at school - something like an egg and spoon race. I won my first race at school - actually a lap on the school's sports ground - when I was six years old.

When was your first romantic kiss?

JB: I was probably four or five. I was on holiday in Majorca and I kissed a girl there.

When was the first time you were asked to sign an autograph for a fan?

JB: That was 1996, in karting. It felt weird and very embarrassing.

When did you first taste champagne?

JB: Probably at a kart race. I can't remember.

Which would you eat first - a piece of fruit or a piece of chocolate?

JB: Fruit, always - berries most likely. I don't eat fruits generally as they have so much sugar, so berries.

What was the first word you said as a baby?

JB: I haven't got I clue - and I never asked mum or dad.