• Jenson Button attributes improvement to lessons from girlfriend
• Sebastian Vettel crashes out in morning session
Jenson Button was fastest in practice for Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix after admitting that he had been taking driving lessons from his girlfriend, Jessica Michibata.
Button, who won here in 2009 and was second last year, dominated the dry afternoon practice session on Friday after Sebastian Vettel had crashed out in the rain in the morning session.
The McLaren driver, who parked in the Red Bull pit bay during the last race in China, said: “The missus took the piss out of me quite a bit. She’s teaching me how to park.
“She can’t drive either. She passed her test two years ago and she hasn’t driven since. I have just bought her a car. It’s a nice little Mini Cooper cabriolet, which is an awesome bit of kit. Really nice, cream with a hot chocolate roof and hot chocolate seats. They’re even more chocolaty now after a couple of drives with her. The passenger seat anyway.”
Button said she had been driving him near his home in Guernsey, where the speed limit is 35mph. “It felt quite quick from the passenger seat. Guernsey is the most difficult place to drive as well because the junctions are blind. She did well. I’m very proud of her. She can park better than me.”
Button, who last won in China on 18 April last year, added: “I don’t night and day think damn I haven’t won a race for ages. I go out there and race and I enjoy myself. And if I win … amazing.
“That’s what I want to do. But if it doesn’t happen and I have a great race and loads of overtaking moves and good fights, that’s good too. It’s not as good as winning but it’s good. We should enjoy the moment and forget about the past and not look too far into the future. Just enjoy what we have.”
Button took advantage of the absence of Vettel – whose car was badly damaged in the morning – to edge past Nico Rosberg in the second practice session. Vettel ran wide on turn eight, a triple-apex left-hander, and crashed into the barriers, severely damaging the front and right-hand side of his car.
Button’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton was third, followed by Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber. Felipe Massa, who has won here three times, was sixth. Button, who last year lost out to Hamilton after one of their better battles, added: “There will be a lot of close racing here. I am looking forward to that.”
Fernando Alonso had been fastest in the earlier session but was hampered by a hydraulics problem later in the day. The bottom four places were taken by the two Virgin Racing cars of Jérôme d’Ambrosio and Timo Glock, and the Hispanias of Narain Karthikeyan and Vitantonio Liuzzi.