LONDON - Jenson Button declined an invitation to flush his head down the toilet yesterday after saying all bets were off in his Formula One title battle with McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton.
The world champion was left open-mouthed at a British Grand Prix news conference by a cheeky question posed by 11-year-old Carl Hillis, reporting for the Great Ormond Street Hospital magazine.
Hillis, who had a bone marrow transplant two years ago after being treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma since the age of three, asked the drivers whether they had a bet on who would be champion this year.
When told they had not, and after Hamilton had suggested the older Briton might want to wager one of the cars in his collection, the Essex schoolboy was asked what he thought the loser should do.
"Did you really just say that? 'Get your head flushed down the toilet'," asked Button with a laugh when he heard the answer.
"Sounds like a good plan, that does. I'm going to get my running shoes on if it doesn't work out for me this year," joked the champion, who famously ran down the final straight after winning last year's Monaco Grand Prix.
The news conference, organised by race sponsor Santander, followed a Formula One fund- raising party on Monday night that raised £500000 (R5,8million) for the central London hospital.
Hamilton, the 2008 champion, leads the standings ahead of Sunday's race at Silverstone with Button six points behind in second place.
Each driver has won two races this season. - Reuters