9 Nov 2010

Brazil red-faced about traffic assault

6:41 pm on 9 November 2010

Brazilian authorities are looking hard at their organisation of world-class sporting events after Formula One driver Jenson Button escaped a roadside assault outside the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The attack was averted by a police driver who rammed his armoured Mercedes through stalled traffic to escape half a dozen armed men.

It's drawn further attention to Brazil's challenge in taming street crime ahead of hosting the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

Sao Paulo's mayor Gilberto Kassab says state and federal police are committed to finding those behind the assault outside the Interlagos circuit.

Button says when the men, two armed with pistols and one with what looked like a machine gun, approached his car his driver quickly accelerated, smashing the heavy Mercedes through stopped cars to get away.