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Jenson Button: 'Unbelievable' to have reached 300 F1 race

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Mixed results for Button in Malaysia (1:31)

Maurice Hamilton recounts some of Jenson Button's more memorable performances at the Malaysian Grand Prix. (1:31)

Jenson Button admits it is "unbelievable" to be preparing for his 300th grand prix in Malaysia this weekend, a mark only one other Formula One driver has ever reached before.

Button is set to join former Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello in the 300 club, to cap a career spanning 17 seasons. The McLaren driver will not be racing in 2017 as he steps back into a reserve driver role with the team, though there is a possibility of him returning in 2018.

Reflecting on a career that started in 2000, Button, now 36 years old, admitted he never believed he would still be in F1 when he turned 30.

When asked what his place in F1 history meant to him in the Malaysia press conference, Button replied: "That's a good question that deserves a very long answer and I'm not going to give it to you here. It means I've been around for a hell of a long time...

"I remember when Rubens got to 300 and it was unbelievable that he got to 300, I thought 'I'm never going to race that long'. I remember when I started in 2000 I remember speaking to my dad and he was saying 'how long do you think you're going to race for, will you still be racing in your thirties?' and I was like 'no, I'll be done by the time I'm 30 years old!' And here I am at 36 and this weekend at the start of my 300th grand prix."

Button said the key to a long career in F1 is not to get too downbeat in the bad moments.

"It definitely sucks you in, Formula One, it doesn't let go, as long as you're performing. It's been a great ride to 300, lots of ups and downs, as every career will have. The important thing is that you stay on top of those bad times as much as you can, because you never know how long they're going to last. So a very exciting career to this point, 300 races, and if any of these guys around me can achieve the same thing, fair play to them because it's a long time doing the same thing!"

The 2009 world champion reaches the milestone at Sepang, a circuit which holds special memories for him - including his maiden F1 podium.

"I won here, which is a pretty good memory, back in '09. It was quite a strange race - the rain was so severe we had to red flag the race and it wasn't restarted. I won the race but only got half points, which was a bit of a pain! It's always been a great circuit to race on.

"It's also the place I scored my first podium in 2004. I was running third in 2002 as well and on the last lap my suspension failed and handed the third place to Michael Schumacher - so that would have been my first podium. So I've got a lot of great memories here."

It is actually Button's 303rd weekend in F1. He and BAR were disqualified from the 2003 San Marino Grand Prix due to an irregularity with the car -- which led to them sitting out the next two races. He also failed to start the 2005 edition of the U.S. Grand Prix and the Bahrain Grand Prix last year.