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Jenson Button, who returns to Formula One for a one-off appearance for McLaren at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, has insisted he is confident in his ability to come back strongly despite not having driven this season’s new specification cars.Button retired at the end of last season after 305 grand prix starts and 17 years of racing in F1. He was retained by McLaren as a reserve driver and drafted in to replace Fernando Alonso when the Spaniard opted to take part in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 race instead of the grand prix. “Preparation has been good apart from I haven’t driven the car so it’s not perfect,” he said. “I have spent a lot of time in the simulator getting a feel for it, most of the stuff is the same, there are a few things that are different, a few things to learn but it is still a racing car, I am just getting used to it being a little bit wider.”Button’s last grand prix was at Abu Dhabi in November 2016 when he retired after 12 laps. He also has had no experience with the new Pirelli tyres which are proving more durable and allow drivers to push harder. He was offered an afternoon of testing at Bahrain after the race there but chose not to take part.The 37-year-old winner Authentic Curtis Granderson Youth Jersey of the F1 world championship in 2009, who won at Monaco that season, admitted returning to the Monte Carlo street circuit was of particular importance. “I am very relaxed, very excited, it’s interesting coming back for one grand prix and it being Monaco is very special,” he said. “I have won here before and I lived here for 17 years.Questions have been asked about how eager Button was to return to racing as he has been pursuing his passion of competing in triathlons since his retirement, having just qualified for the world championship. However he insisted he genuinely wants to come back.“I said yes and it was my decision. I could have said no if I wanted to,” he said. “No one wants a racing drive who doesn’t want to drive.”His underpowered McLaren has been well off the pace, a problem that will be partly negated by the tight turns of Monaco, with Alonso’s fifth place here last season the equal-highest finish the team achieved.“It’s exciting Authentic Adidas Adam Henrique Womens Jersey but I don’t feel any pressure,” Button said. “I want to be competitive – getting the best out of yourself and the team and the equipment, that hasn’t changed. The car seems to be working well. I drove the upgrades in the simulator and there is a definite improvement.”Other drivers have questioned the Briton’s preparations for such a testing circuit. When asked if he would be concerned that Button has never driven the new car, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen said: “I am not sure if he cares. If he wants to prepare like that it’s fine, if he feels comfortable with it.”Button, alongside his former team-mate Lewis Hamilton, expressed his sympathy for the victims, and their families, of the bomb attack in Manchester, sentiments that were reflected throughout the F1 paddock as preparations for the race began.“It’s horrific, it’s amazing how often it seems to be happening around the world and more and more in Great Britain,” Button said. “There aren’t any words for it really apart from my thoughts are with everyone who has been affected.”The plan to make Fernando Alonso a 35-year-old rookie Indy 500 Button also stressed the target made the attack particularly shocking. “The most heartbreaking thing is, while every life is important, with mostly kids going to the concert, that’s what hurts the most for everyone,” he said. “I am not a parent but I know people who are and that’s what hits home the most. How heartless certain people can be.”There will be a one-minute silence before the race during which the drivers will line up at the front of the grid as a mark of respect and the cars will also run “Manchester” on their livery in tribute to the victims.Hamilton had already expressed his sadness on social media and reiterated them in Monaco. “I am carrying them in my heart as we are as a team this weekend, I am sure everyone is,” he said.“Since the incident I’ve been thinking walking around this could happen anywhere. Are we safe anywhere? Are our families safe? It’s definitely a worry and a concern but I just can’t even fathom how the families that have lost loved ones are feeling today.”Maybe that scrutiny is a bit harsh for a rookie, especially one who has never raced on an oval. But Alonso, a two-time F1 world champion, is a singular breed of racer– “one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Gil de Ferran, the 2003 Indy winner, told the Guardian. Alonso’s talent shone through during his 4 May test at Indy – an internet-breaking event that, apart from a double aviaricide, was flawless.The success, as with most things in racing, was in the set-up. Andretti Autosport, which guided Nascar champion Kurt Busch to a sixth-place finish at Indy in 2014 and former F1 driver Alexander Rossi to the victory lane just last year, has proven a prime shop for Indy’s crossover episodes. Marco Andretti, one of three veteran IndyCar drivers who Alonso now counts as a team-mate, broke-in the Spaniard’s car in testing. After swapping seats Alonso didn’t really have to concern himself with much other than getting up to speed, and topping out at around 220mph during his 110-lap session. He was the only driver on Indy’s two and a half-mile expanse, after all.Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 move signals new McLaren era under Zak BrownNow comes the hard part. There will be traffic to reckon with (and a spotter in his ear, talking him through), pit stops to make (not just for tires but fuel too), and rolling restarts that must be timed to perfection. The fickle central Indiana weather may well play havoc with the 35-year-old rookie’s car too.

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