It seems like if you were a regular McLaren driver from 2015-16, some sort of bug went around that caused you to make your off-road racing debut this year. Fernando Alonso has been doing plenty in preparation for next year’s Dakar, and Button spent his weekend racing in the Baja 1000 in Mexico.

Or rather, he was hoping to, only to be thwarted by a breakdown. That’s not uncommon in long-distance rallies. What is unusual is that Button and co-driver Terry Madden were so far away from anywhere that they had to camp out by their truck – for 17 hours. Writing about the experience on Instagram, Button said:

“At mile 235 my co-driver and I heard a really loud clatter and lost drive, we had broken the differential, strange as all temps were good and we looked after the truck but hey this happens. The problem was we had found the most remote place to breakdown which meant we spent the whole night and a total of 17 hours under the stars.”

To add insult to injury, other competitors did stop – but only to ask for help themselves. Button continued:

“The only people we saw were other racers asking us to wipe their dirty light bars clean.

“Fuelled by energy bars and a fire that needed constant help as all we could find was twigs, Terry and I could just enjoy the moment of peacefulness by telling stories which always ended with “it’s Baja”.

“A life experience but not the one I expected, but I’ll take it.”

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We come away from the Baja1000 with a story to tell, not the one we wanted but a great Baja story all the same. Started well, past 5 moving trucks and then another 7-8 broken or crashed, found a really good rythym of looking after the truck when needed and hammering the fast flowing sections. At mile235 @terry_madden my co driver and I heard a really loud clatter and lost drive, we had broken the differential, strange as all temps were good and we looked after the truck but hey this happens, the problem was we had found the most remote place to breakdown which meant we spent the whole night and a total of 17hrs under the stars, the only people we saw were other racers asking us to wipe their dirty light bars clean 🙄fuelled by energy bars and a fire that needed constant help as all we could find was twigs Terry and I could just enjoy the moment of peacefulness by telling stories which always ended with “its Baja”. A life experience but not the one I expected but I’ll take it. . Big thanks to all our sponsors as without them the Baja1000 would not have been possible #skysportsf1 #mobil1 #esso #foxshocks #alpinestars #kchilites #dare2b #bfgoodrich #methodracewheels #dukeanddexter . Lastly big thanks to our small but awesome crew @chris_buncombe @mazfaw @terry_madden @dudeabiding Javiers and @marty.fiolka

A post shared by Jenson Button (@jensonbutton) on

On the plus side, having driven for McLaren in the early years of the Honda partnership, at least he already had plenty of experience of being stranded…