JENSON Button returned to the site of his first Formula One victory to set a new lap record for a production front-wheel-drive car.
The former world champion, who retired from F1 in 2016, took to the Hungaroring in a Honda Civic Type R as part of a series of lap record attempts across Europe.
His time of 2min 10.19sec is the fastest for a front-wheel-drive car on Hungary’s twisty and narrow circuit, which features 180-degree corners and a complex chicane.
What makes it all the more poignant is the fact that Button was at the wheel of a Honda in 2006, when he was the first British driver to win an F1 race since David Coulthard’s victory in Australia three years earlier.
Button said: “We came here to the Hungaroring, where I won my first F1 race in 2006 with Honda, to set a new front-wheel-drive production lap record in the new Type R, and I’m very happy that we did it.”
The British-built Honda Civic Type R is the most in-your-face of the current crop of mega-powerful hot hatches, with its 2.0-litre petrol engine developing 316bhp.
It’s enough to propel the Civic to a top speed of 169mph, hitting 62mph in just 5.7 seconds.
Button was full of praise for the £31,525 car. He said: “The first thing I noticed when I left the pit lane was how neutral the car was.
“I come from a background that is not front-wheel-drive focused, so it was very different for me.
“But because the Type R is so well balanced it was instantly really enjoyable and more natural.
“The thing that surprised me most is how late you can brake with this car. The manual gearbox works really well, too.
“Most cars these days don’t come with manual boxes, so it’s nice to have that manual feel.”
The Hungaroring lap follows four previous records set by the Type R in 2018, including BTCC legend Matt Neal lapping Silverstone in a time of 2min 31.32secs.