Jenson Button disqualified from Ironman Triathlon championships for speeding on bike

Sean Gibson

Old habits clearly die hard for former F1 driver Jenson Button, who has found himself disqualified from a triathlon for speeding during the bike stage.

The 2009 Formula One world champion finished third in the 35-39 category of the World 70.3 Ironman Triathlon Championships in California, which according to Button was enough to qualify him for the world championships.

However, going too fast through a 'slow zone' during the bicycle stage saw the Briton – as well as several other competitors – come a cropper.

The former McLaren driver, who has began a sabbatical at the end of the 2016 F1 season, is an experienced triathlete though one thinks he might have been more likely to slow down at the correct moment if the organisers had flown some of the yellow flags more familiar to motor racing.

In a post on his Instagram account after the event, Button said: "Well that was a pretty interesting 70.3 Ironman!

"Swim went well then I jumped on my awesome new bike to find that I hadn't charged the battery for the gears so I was stuck in the toughest gear with 900meters of climbing.

"Ran a 1hr23min off the bike which I was pretty happy with, finished 3rd in age group so qualified for the World champs only to be disqualified for speeding in a go slow zone."

Button celebrates winning the F1 world title in 2009Credit: BRUNO DOMINGOS/Reuters

The 15-time Grand Prix winner remained sanguine about his punishment this time around, though.

"Ah well onto the next one!"

Button took up triathlons as a way to raise his fitness levels midway though his Formula One career, and has since set up the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon to help support his chosen charitable causes.

The 37-year-old, who has made the third-highest number of Grand Prix starts (305) in F1 history, still has an option with McLaren-Honda to return to drive in 2018 – though this current contract situation was agreed with Ron Dennis, who has since been ousted as McLaren chairman and chief executive.

Button seemed more than happy to be leaving F1 at the end of 2016 and few expect to see him return to a full-time race seatCredit: Mark Thompson/Getty 

Speaking on the announcement of his sabbatical, in September 2016, Button said: "To be clear, I’m very definitely not retiring.

"I’m contracted for both 2017 and 2018, I intend to work hard on car-development, and I’m sure I’ll get behind the wheel of the new car at some point."

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The new MCL32 McLaren-Honda car has been a huge disappointment so far in 2017, perhaps vindicating Button's decision to take a break.

But with speculation growing over the future of star driver Fernando Alonso, who is fast losing patience with the team, Button's service could well be required come next season.

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