MONACO (AP) — Jenson Button's Formula One comeback ended with a crash at Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix and a rebuke from the driver he ploughed into.
Returning as a one-off favor to McLaren, the British driver got a bit too close to German driver Pascal Wehrlein near the end of the race.
As they turned to head into the tunnel, the nose of Button's McLaren scooped up Wehrlein's Sauber and dumped it on its side. Wehrlein was able to walk away from the crash, but it was a scary moment for him considering he has only recently returned from a serious back injury.
"It was a silly move. It was just scary," Wehrlein said. "I couldn't get out of the car, the only thing I wanted to do was get out of the car."
After a few moments, the 22-year-old Wehrlein jumped out. He did not appear to sustain any serious injury, but will need precautionary checks after bumping his head.
Wehrlein missed the first two races of the season after injuring his back in a crash at the Race of Champions in Miami in January. He sustained hairline cracks in vertebrae and compressed some of his intervertebral discs.
"I touched again (my) head on the barrier, so I will have to do another scan next week for my back," he said. "Obviously with the injury I had, I'm not too sure."
Button has competed in more than 300 races and won the F1 title in 2009.
He put the incident down to an accident. However, he had not done any actual test driving with this season's heavier and wider cars before racing in Monaco.
"I looked across and saw that he hadn't seen me, so I tried to back out, but obviously it was too late by then," Button said. "I gave it a go and thought it was a fair enough judgment, but it didn't work out. You never like seeing a car tip over because you don't know if his head's going to hit anything, but the most important thing is that Pascal is OK."
Button was persuaded out of retirement to replace Fernando Alonso. The two-time F1 champion was given permission to skip Monaco so he could race at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
Alonso will be back in two weeks' time for the Canadian GP in Montreal, and it will be a familiar scenario when he returns.
After six races, McLaren remains the only team not to score a point. Stoffel Vandoorne also crashed late in Sunday's race.