BAR-Honda driver Jenson Button has admitted that he made a 'mistake' when he first came to F1 with Williams, by spending his earnings on sports cars, boats and big homes, and attracting unwanted publicity.

Speaking to British newspaper The Times yesterday, the Englishman revealed that he does regret some of his early purchases, especially as it detracted from what he truly wants to achieve - the F1 drivers' title.

Button told the broadsheet: "The house and all that stuff was a mistake. The house is just too big. I want something smaller and more central.

"It was the worst thing I could have done buying it, but I was just 20 and you want a big house and everything that goes with it.

"When I look back now, I realise it was all a big mistake, not financially, but for onlookers and what they thought I was up to.

"You don't realise when you are 20 that people are going to be jealous or assume you are not trying or performing.

"I thought I was still doing a good job and my focus was on Formula One but all this stuff was always there in the back of my mind."

The Brit, who sent a new lap record during testing with BAR-Honda last week at Barcelona, is now firmly back on track, and following a rather nightmarish two years at Renault (Benetton), his value went up again last season at BAR, when he overshadowed former team-mate, and 1997 F1 world champion, Jacques Villeneuve.

He added: "It was weird setting the record and then the other teams tried to rubbish it. Whatever was going on, eight-tenths of a second quicker than anybody has been around there is pretty quick. When I came in, the whole team had big grins on their faces.

"This year I could be a front-runner. We want to run alongside the top teams. I want to be consistently in the points and on the podium. We might even be on the podium four or five times - maybe the first time I am on the podium, I will win."

Button who of course has yet to finish in the top three, came close last year at the US Grand Prix, when he led during the rain affected race at Indianapolis.

"I might not be able to remember what to do if I win. But I have not forgotten how to lead," he continued, making reference to the American race. "When I was leading in Indianapolis last season, I actually thought I was going to win. It was a great feeling and I want more. Even though we didn't win in Japan, we finished fourth and that was important."

Button is now being linked to a return to Williams in 2005, to replace the McLaren-Mercedes bound Juan Pablo Montoya. His future it seems is bright again.

 

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