The Time Button Finished Second With A Broken Helmet

Jenson Button put in a stellar driver at Hockenheim in 2004 to finish second, despite having to deal with a broken helmet in the closing stages of the race

2004 was Jenson Button’s breakthrough season. The BAR 006 was a peach of a car and Jenson made the most of it to score 10 podiums throughout the year and finish third in the championship. If Ferrari hadn’t built one of the most dominant cars in F1 history, he might even have been a title contender.

The German GP was one of his best drives of the year. He qualified third but started 13th due to an engine penalty. He quickly worked his way up the order and by half-distance was already up to third, battling with Fernando Alonso’s Renault.

It was a mega scrap, but without around 20 laps to go, something about Button’s driving became unusual. On the straights, he was lifting his hand up and holding his helmet. What was going on?

The team thought his visor might have broken, but it was a bit worse than that: over the course of the race, his helmet strap had worked itself loose. At speed, the air pressure was therefore lifting the helmet off of his head and choking him. He was holding his helmet down so he could, y’know, breathe.

Despite the uncomfortable distraction he found his way past Alonso and finished second, just eight seconds behind Michael Schumacher. A great drive? Absolutely!