Istanbul: World champion Jenson Button put Formula One firmly ahead of his love life on Saturday after fending off awkward questions about breaking up with his lingerie model girlfriend.
“I am here to focus on the weekend which is obviously the main reason why we are here so I need to be totally focused,” the Briton told reporters at the Turkish Grand Prix when asked about the relationship.
“I don’t want to be answering questions about my private life.
“I have always had great people around me, including family and obviously my partner and friends, and that is important for me,” added the 30-year-old McLaren driver, who has had a string of girlfriends over the years.
“To have people around me that know me as a person, know me on my good days and bad days, and basically I have still got those people around me. My father is here and my physio who I have been with for a few years.
“I have still got that little family around me and I really feel at home here,” said the Briton, who moved to McLaren from Brawn at the end of last season.
“This does feel like my family, which is great. It’s important to fit into a team and be welcomed and it makes a difference to your performance.”
Newspapers reported on Friday that Button and Argentine-Japanese model Jessica Michibata had separated after being together for more than a year.
The Briton qualified on the second row, and behind team mate Lewis Hamilton, for Sunday’s race at a circuit that saw one of his most dominant wins last year.
Button said he had struggled with his car bottoming out through turn eight of the track, a tricky triple apex corner, and was happy with his performance.
“I obviously start on the dirty side of the track...but I’m happy to be fourth,” he said. “It’s not a bad place to start and good for tomorrow.
“I’m happy with the car, I think it’s worked really well all weekend...the great thing is that we are close to the Red Bulls and if you look at Barcelona, we were almost a second slower.
“Being two tenths, or a little bit less, in qualifying, I think we can have a good race.”