Jenson Button says he is excited to compete against former team-mate Fernando Alonso at the Le Mans 24 Hours and admits he is “one of the drivers you worry about” when racing – no matter the series. Both Button and Alonso will make their debuts at the prestigious race in June, at SMP Racing and Toyota respectively, with the Spaniard combining his World Endurance Championship campaign alongside his F1 duties with McLaren. And 2009 world champion Button, who was Alonso’s McLaren team-mate at McLaren for two years before retiring at the end of 2016, has praised the 36-year-old as one of the best drivers in the world.
“He’s definitely one of the drivers you worry about,” Button, who starts his WEC campaign at Le Mans, told Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater. “Whatever you’re racing in, if he’s competing – you’re going to worry. “He’s not just quick. He’s a very clever driver, he’s got the experience and he is always there. If you have a great day, you might out-qualify him and you might have a great race but he will always be on your heels. He very rarely has a bad race, which is tough when you’re team-mates with him.” And though both drivers will be rookies at Le Mans, Button added: “We’re going to go into Le Mans racing against each other and I know if we’re in a stint together, he’s not going to put a foot wrong. “It doesn’t matter if its 3 o’clock in the morning or 3 o’clock in the afternoon, he’s going to be 100 per cent. “You’ve got to keep up with that and it’s tough but that’s what I love about racing against the best drivers in the world. They keep you on your toes.”
Alonso is taking on the WEC challenge as he pursues a career ‘Triple Crown’ – by clinching the Monaco Grand Prix, which he has won twice, the Indy 500, which he attempted last year, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But even if he wins Le Mans with LMP1 newcomers SMP Racing, Button, who has also been racing in Super GT in Japan this year, doesn’t think he’ll consider an Indy 500 challenge. “I’m going to leave that one for Fernando to do,” the Englishman said. “This is pretty much the busiest season I’ve had in my career.”