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On Jenson Button’s 200th Grand Prix
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Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2011   |  6:20 am GMT  |  63 comments

I don’t normally make much of driver milestones in F1; usually occasions when some kind of cake gets presented because no-one can think of anything better to symbolise a numerically important moment.

But I’ll make an exception for Jenson Button’s 200th GP, about which we will hear a lot this weekend. It’s a lot of races and the narrative of his career, which started at Williams in 2000 is a real journey. From boy, to playboy, to frustrated racer, to world champion.

Britain’s highest ever points scorer in F1, eight more points will take him to Number 4 in the all time lists behind Schumacher, Alonso and the driver he admires most, Alain Prost – although the much higher points yields these days rather skew these statistics.

I’ve covered all of Button’s career, witnessed the arc, with its few ups and its many downs, leading to the extraordinary moment when he won his World Championship in 2009. Button got the job done, just the way he and his father John always intended.

I commentated on his first win here in Hungary in 2006; a moment many people thought might never come.

My mind goes back to my first proper encounter with him and John, at Macau in 1999. He was a 19 year old Formula 3 driver then, a few pimples on his face, fuzzy hair. He hadn’t won the British F3 championship and he didn’t win Macau either, but he seemed to have a lot of momentum and hype behind him.

John Button in customary pose (Darren Heath)


We found ourselves in the Italian restaurant in the Macau pit building, where all the greats have slurped spaghetti, dreaming of F1 stardom. It was lunchtime on practice day, Jenson was with his Dad, his then manager David Robertson and his trainer at the time. They wanted to know about F1; how it worked, who did what, the ins and outs. I’m sure they pumped many F1 people for information in the same way in that period, it’s a time-honoured tradition.

I’d just been working on a book with Michael Schumacher and had spent a fair bit of time with him and Ross Brawn, who was then the technical director of Ferrari. It had been a fascinating process, learning the inner workings of that relationship. Clearly the key to success was being in the right car and then being able to maintain consistency at a high level and never giving anything away to the opposition and I told Jenson that. Ross created the right environment for Schumacher to thrive and Schumacher kept it on the limit the whole time. He didn’t question Ross’ demands, he just did it.

I was reminded of that in 2009 when Brawn created the right environment for Button to shut out the opposition with a perfectly timed pole lap, make an aggressive pass at the start to set himself up for victory, to make things happen.

Today he is pretty consistent; not as fast by his own admission, as Lewis Hamilton in qualifying, but able to always be there or thereabouts and on his day to win spectacularly, as he did in Montreal this year.

Because the truth is that for most of his Formula 1 career Button was not able to make things happen. In fact quite the reverse; he made mistakes, chose the wrong career move, changed management like he changed his shirt. And that was a source of great frustration to him and to the man who has always believed in him the most, his father John.

But he got onto the right track and it came good for him and it’s an object lesson in determination.

There has always been a debate among fans about how good Button actually is and I suspect that this will never be fully agreed.

Ross Brawn admitted in 2009 to being surprised at how good a driver he was, not having really seen many signs of it as an opponent.

But the most eloquent advocate of Button’s skill as a driver is Gil de Ferran, who was sporting director of the Honda F1 team in 2005/6 I would often chat with him on the way back from Grands Prix and he was evangelical about Button’s gifts. I think this was partly because Gil was schooled in American racing where the teams are more open with information than in F1. He could see what Jenson was doing and felt that it shouldn’t be a secret known only by the team,

“It became apparent to me very quickly that Jenson’s skill was at a very high level looking at his data traces,” recalled De Ferran, once a champion driver himself in America, “There was never any exaggeration in his throttle, brake or steering, everything was done the precise amount. He would never over do it and come back,

Button on the limit in the Brawn (Darren Heath)


“It indicated tremendous amount of feel, I think a driver that has the level of feel and sensitivity in his hands and feet that Jenson has, is able to drive at a very high limit without ever making mistakes or overstepping the mark.”

Pressed for examples, De Ferran remembered qualifying for the British Grand Prix 2005 in particular. Button qualified 3rd, but, as is sadly all too common in the sport, the brilliance of what he had achieved was appreciable only by the handful of people inside the team with access to the telemetry,

“I remember looking at his data after qualifying and thinking, ‘Jesus, Christ!’ He had basically judged every corner to absolute perfection. That’s something the public doesn’t see; the tiny adjustments he made to find a whole new limit was very impressive to me. It was perfect – there was not one correction too many. It was all done with surgical precision; the throttle, brake and steering were all just perfect

“I can’t tell you how hard it is to go that fast and be smooth. The public likes the guy with the tail out but in my opinion, being on the limit without those moves, demonstrates a higher degree of skill. “

It’s all subjective stories of course, as so much of the debate about drivers is. And as the comments section on this site and on other sites prove, fans will always talk up their favourites and talk down drivers they dislike.

Button is one of F1′s front runners and race winners at a time of very intense competition among drivers and teams, that’s all that really needs to be said.

He’s also a world champion and the spring in his step these days is because he knows that no-one can take that away from him.

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63 Comments
  1. Brisbane Bill says:

    I have been a huge fan of Jenson across his F1 career and have been equally disappointed that some of his career moves didn’t reward him in the way that his skill and talent deserved. My wife disagrees totally with me – but then she assess drivers from a totally different standpoint. I appreciate his skill and finess in not only driving fast but driving sensibly, protecting his machinery and tyres. I will concede that he may not have been the quickest driver to adapt to some of the technical changes in the sport but his class cannot be denied. He has been a worthy champion and really should have had more than one title, but that’s the way the sport, the politics and luck goes. Great article James, as always.

    1. wayne says:

      I had dismissed Button right up to the point where he joined McLaren and kept Lewis honest. Even during his wdc year I was convinced that he lucked into it (and to some extent he certainly did). However, the wdc seems to have freed up his spirit to enjoy and express himself at McLaren and this is leading to the most accomplished drives of his career for me. I think of Jenson as the best ‘second driver’ in F1. He is not an Alonso or Hamilton, but there is no one I would rather have in a car alongside them than Button. For his talent, his calm, his experience and his measured honestly and straight talking. Happy to have Button prove me wrong all these years.

  2. Michael says:

    James,

    Great read and greatly appreciated. I’ve been a Button fan since his BAR days and enjoyed your take on his career.

    One trivia question someone here may be able to answer. Regarding the picture of Jens driving the #22 Brawn BGP001 (perhaps in Malaysia), how often has a driver won the world championship with a car number in the 20s?

    1. Miha says:

      1980 – Alan Jones #27
      1990 – Ayrton Senna #27
      2008 – Lewis Hamilton #22
      2009 – Jenson Button #22

      :)

    2. Spanco says:

      Looking at the last 3 world championships, I’d say 66% (Button with #22 in 2009, Hamilton with #23 in 2008), but overall I have no idea.

    3. Dennis says:

      At least two times. Think Lewis Hamilton won the title in 2008 with the #22 McLaren (they were kicked out of the construcstors championship in 2007 due to ‘spy gate’, right?)

    4. Andrew Carter says:

      Didnt Schekter have the #28 car in ’79?

  3. goferet says:

    Congratulations to Jenson Button on his 200th Grand Prix, meh I guess this makes him one of the F1 veterans.

    Unfortunately when Jenson retires, he won’t go down as one of the greats partly due to his earlier playboy career (I wonder how other drivers resist the urge … Duh – Pit babes) in mid field teams but also because of the fact that when he won his WDC he did it in a pretty dominant car in the first half of the season, and to make matters worse, he didn’t win any race in the second half.

    But you have got to hand it to Jenson for his bravely for apart from Aryton Senna and perhaps Lewis Hamilton, he’s the only WDC champ that had the marbles to team up with another WDC champ in other team partly to test himself against the elements & partly to show the World he was a worthy WDC champ.

    Yes, the metal Jenson showed with this move is somewhat similar to what Schumacher did when he joined a pretty lame Ferrari team back in 1996 so he at least gets points for that.

    So all in all it’s been a pretty rollercoaster ride for Jenson’s career which shows in this sport, the planets have to align together in your favour if you’re ever to achieve.

    P.s.
    As a gift for Jenson to mark this milestone , he’s going to finish second in Hungary for a Mclaren 1-2

    1. F1_Badger says:

      James’ article was better. Of course he’s one of the greats, he’s a WDC. There’s not many of those. None of us could go what JB (or even JT) has done. So rather than knock him, I’ll say thanks for being an ambassador for our sport and country. I couldn’t see the Italian or French fans complaining about their driver winning a WDC in the first half of the season, in a low budget car that out-developed! well done for reaching 200 JB, I’ve enjoyed the rollercoaster!!

    2. garoidb says:

      When did Ayrton Senna or Lewis Hamilton, having won the WDC, join a team with an incumbent who had also done so?

      Senna was not a WDC when he joined McLaren. Many future champions have joined teams with a former champ in situ.

      Off the top of my head, Graham Hill joining Lotus in 1967 qualifies. Also, Rosberg at McLaren in 1986.

  4. Shane says:

    I became really interested in F1 starting 10 years ago. I have watched a number of drivers come and go all being touted as the next best thing. All the while, Button has been quietly producing. Sure, he lacks the outright speed of an Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel, but given a consistently competitive car I imagine Button could end up beating any of them in the long run.

    And, he has proven to be the consumate professional and gentleman of late.

  5. Phil says:

    I used to dislike Jenson extremely prior to 2009. Primarily from the over-zealous coverage that he got by you James at your time at ITV coverage (there was too much focus on Jenson considering his standing in the field at the time IMO).
    While that dislike has eased, he’s by no means my favourite. But as you said James, he is a world champion, and I give him a lot of respect for that.
    I did cheer on Jenson during his 2009 year to win the championship (while still preferenceing Webber to win!), and when attending the Australian GP, I walked away content in the knowledge that Jenson and Brawn GP did something amazing that day (and for the whole year).
    That year, Button earned my respect (not that that means much!  ) and I think the respect of a lot of people who doubted his talent.
    Good on him, and best of luck to him in the rest of his career.

  6. Steven_muzzy says:

    I remember the early bar days, showing great promise but just not getting the breaks and the sheer dejection in his voice driving that pig of an earth car honda however the elation when he won oz in the brawn showed his true character
    He comes across as such a geniune guy and for me that is what makes him
    Hope mclaren can keep him in a race winning car

  7. jamie norman says:

    Hi James

    Couldn’t find where else to contact you, so sorry about using the comments section to do it, what your thoughts on this http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/9550930.stm, i think its shocking as will most f1 fans

    1. Lea says:

      It is a mistake… lots of fans upset.

    2. NorthernSands says:

      I personally think that’s a bad idea and a blow to F1 in the UK. Why show only half the races? Who are the TV team going to be? If the BBC keep Brundle, for example, that means he can’t go to Sky to cover all the races.

      It now does not give an F1 fan a choice, they have to go Pay-TV to watch all the races, so it may as well not be on the BBC at all! Only the poor amongst us, and those that dip in and out, will watch it on the BBC. How many are there like that? Is it sustainable? I can just imagine their ratings will plummet and then they’ll try and get out of all coverage within a couple of years.

      I’m one of the poor amongst us and I will not be buying Sky just for F1, so the only people who lose out in all this is me and F1 itself ’cause there’ll be less people watching it. Sad day. :-(

      James, perhaps you could run a poll to gauge people’s reaction to this and what they intend to do?

    3. Paul H says:

      fully expect an article about this travesty later on today.

    4. Andrew W says:

      James, a suggestion for when you come to write about this – it is of course possible in the UK to pick up many free-to-air channels from other countries which will be showing all the races, with basic satellite equipment that costs a lot less than subscribing to Sky Sports.

      Perhaps you could invite readers to contribute suggestions for other channels? For example I have a satellite dish pointing to Eutelsat W2 and plan to watch next year’s non-BBC races on TVRi, in Romanian. No doubt there are many other options on other satellites.

      Great site, by the way.

    5. DonSimon says:

      I’m sure James is writing about this now, although I would imagine, given that there will be a few jobs flying about next year, he may be a little more moderated in his comments than Eddie Jordan’s twitter feed!

    6. Aljo says:

      This solution gets the BBC out of its ‘Antiques Roadshow’ conundrum. You can bet the races they will not show will include the Canadian, US and Brazilian. All those races cause them all manner of problems with scheduling.
      Sad but true and at least for the moment we can watch some of them on free to air.

      By 2018 at the rate online systems are evolving there may be some entirely new system/template for F1 coverage.

  8. Justin says:

    I concur

  9. Darren says:

    Excellent right up James. I particularly like the conclusion. This is a golden age of F1 talent and Button is still in the mix.

    He also seems to be a really honest and genuine guy.

  10. Kashif says:

    Agree. Also, appreciate his maturity and general attitiude. Who says you can’t be gracious and decent and not be a winner? Look at Raphael Nadal, as an exmaple. Always complimentary of Federer skills off-court and yet lethal on-court.
    Wish to see more of this behavior in the other top drivers.

  11. Andrew says:

    Such a shame that Button’s landmark day is ruined for F1 fans by the television licensing decision.

    Since I won’t be watching in future I’m afraid I’m just bowing out now. I hope JB enjoys his race, but I won’t be watching.

    1. Werewolf says:

      I wonder if mobile phone use among F1 stars will drop …

    2. Trent says:

      What do you mean?

      1. Peter C says:

        Probably Murdoch’s hacking. ??

    3. Tim says:

      Andrew, u’ve missed out on a rare Hungarian thriller and JB’s brilliant victory if u really didn’t watch.

      Congrats to JB and love to see him will another title.

  12. Glenn says:

    Congratulations Jenson.

  13. jpinx says:

    Congratulations Jensen Button !!!!

    Thanks for the insights James. It is difficult to really appreciate how good these guys are without access to inside information, so your resumé is well-appreciated. How about doing for each driver – working down from oldest? ;)

  14. quest says:

    There is a lot to respect about Jenson. He takes successes and failures in his stride with the same composure. He manages to be very laidback yet at the same time show that hunger for success.

    If you think driving/racing is an art, then Jenson is your man. So precise are his inputs to the car while driving, it’s a thing of beauty to watch.

    1. F1_Badger says:

      Well said

  15. Ted the Mechanic says:

    Yes it’s great that it all finally came to him after years of toil and dodgy decision-making out of the car along the way.
    He seems like a genuine nice guy and I’m sure his move into young driver development will do wonders for whoever gets the benefit of his mentoring, just like Mark Webber is doing.
    I couldn’t help getting a bit emotional while reading this story, I don’t know why…
    It must be the nice guys don’t always finish last thing and the great bond he maintains with his father and the mature driver still performing at the cutting edge and the evolution from pimply-faced youth to elder statesman/seasoned campaigner/200 race veteran… I suppose.
    Go you good thing! Go! More wins please!

  16. KK says:

    Jenson has more followers in twitter than the other McLaren driver which is a tribute to the way he carries himself on and off the track. I can’t think of a recent ruthless or mad act from his side on the track. He has always been a hard and fair racer and I particularly like his approach to racing. He’s quite a bit similar to my idol, Kimi in his smooth driving style and in how he never gets foulmouthed about anyone in and out of the team. I think he’s a perfect catalyst to make the HugoBoss-vodafone-Johnywalker-McLaern brand work.

    Congrats mate!

  17. Norman C says:

    I never fancied Jenson too much nor rated him that much before. But I have to respect the guy, he get the job done even if he is not on the front row. The cream does rise to the top indeed. A bit like Alonso with less agression. Thanks for a great insight James.

  18. AuraF1 says:

    As a long time fan of jensons it’d be great to see him so well this year. He may never have the innate speed and aggression of Lewis but 2009 was a fairytale to watch and he’s become one of the most likable drivers on the grid and proved he can race, overtake and still win GPs even with a teammate who is perhaps more of a natural racing talent.

    And I hope jenson shows some flare this year. Now the whole ludicrous deal with the BBC and sky means this is the last Hungarian GP I’ll see in full ever again, it’d be a nice farewell. Jenson may not be retiring but I think a lot of UK fans will be so he can, sadly, expect a lot less support shortly.

  19. captainj84 says:

    off topic james. just read an article about sky sports aquiring the rights for f1 coverage from ’12-18. Although half the races will be shown on bbc (which is a a slight bit of good news among this bad) how do you feel this will affect f1 moving to a pay for service? my own opinion is i will not be following a single race on sky but that’s my personal boycott.

  20. Werewolf says:

    Congratulations to Jenson, its been a fascinating career with the deserved rewards finally being received. Mrs Werewolf thinks he’s “adorable” (I’ve been told to say that; but she says the same about Jake Humphrey and David Tennant, too, and has photos with all three to prove it!). I just think he’s bloody good.

    One of the fascinations is that most of the real mistakes have been off-track, being in the wrong team at the wrong time and the associated, much publicized contractual debates, etc. The Prost influence is clear on Button’s driving but the Frenchman was a far better politician, albeit in a less aware era; however, people continue to say some pretty unpleasant things about Prost’s off-track methods (one former driver describing him as a sh/t to me last year) but I’ve never heard anything even broadly comparable about JB and on the few occasions I’ve met him, he’s been charming, even taking time to talk about his dad’s rallycross VW (which there was some talk of him restoring).

    On-track, Button’s normally been pretty sound and surely no one can argue that he has pulled off some great overtakes.

    Two hundred GPs have flown by but I hope JB will be around a while longer yet, score some more memorable wins and continue to present F1 in a good light.

  21. James B says:

    Murdoch wins….the fans lose

    James Allen must be rubbing his hands in glee, surely he is odds on for the Sky commentating job

  22. Ben G says:

    Jenson – you’re truly a legend. Well done on making 200 races.

  23. Robert says:

    James,

    What are your thoughts on the new TV rights deal in the UK?

    And most importantly do you think we will be hearing your commentary again?

    Thanks

    Robert

  24. mad max says:

    It’s good that Button is finally getting the renegotiation he deserves after all the rubbish printed about him not being a deserving champion and how Hamilton was going to destroy him as a team mate.

  25. DonSimon says:

    Yes, well done JB. Never been his biggest fan, but he is a world champ and he always will be now, like it or not. Plus he seems like a very nice bloke. Pity there will be an elephant in the room on his special day. Martin Brundle found out last night! He’s “out of contract” for next year. EJ has described it as terrible. They were putting a positive spin on the FP1 commentary, but basically using 50% of the races on BBC to advertise the other 50% on Sky is crazy. I am devestated.

  26. Uncle Buck says:

    I don’t understand the Button myth. Nor the Brawn myth for that matter. Honda developed a fantastic car. Brawn inherited it. Button was/is superior to Rubens. A race he is not.

    The best part of the Button myth however, is his remarkable skill of driving without his tires touching the ground. Race after race, He manages to return his tires to the pits unused.

  27. Guy says:

    Please can we start a petition for JA to be on sky [..provided this website keeps going...!!]

  28. Paul H says:

    I’ve always been a fan of Button because of his driving style. I just love watching the in car footage, the smooth precision reminds me of Prost, my favourite driver when I first saw F1 as a small child. I think that his career has had a far more undulating path than the majority of racers on the grid today. He started at Williams, did well, then was farmed out to Benetton. Had a bad time there which was a partly his own fault, though Briatore always has his favourites and own agenda. I remember being at the Melbourne GP in 04 during a year travelling, telling everyone that Ferrari would dominate the season and Jenson would be the one to watch. Sure enough he finished 3rd overall and the Ferrari bore-fest came true. The fact Schumi had such a dominant car that year and other years shows how impressive Jenson’s point’s tally is, especially bearing in mind that since the new points system came in he has only had a couple of wins.

    What strikes me most is his popularity with foreign friends, they all like him because of his character and attitude outside of the car. The whole fairytale of the 09 season is often called undeserved because he had a dominant car and only won the first few races. Well what about all the Newey car drivers whose cars totally dominated? Schumi had a massively dominant car. It says more about Button’s style that he scored points in all bar one race and only used a single chassis the entire season.

    There was a great article at the start of last season in F1 magazine, or the BBC F1 Special, can’t remember which, extolling both Jenson and Lewis’ strengths and the story of their careers and the history of their relationship. Did a great job of explaining Jenson’s style and the inherent weaknesses within it.

    Yes he had his playboy years, but not on a scale of a typical footballer. He was no different to the rest of us growing up, just scaled up for money and publicity. He has matured into a superb driver, a deserved world champion and an excellent ambassador for the sport. I just hope he gets a good result to mark the 200 and not another retirement!

    1. garoidb says:

      First, I believe Jenson deserved his WDC. I would cite Brazil 2009 and certain other drives from that year. His reputation has been cemented by some great drives for McLaren. I would also note his points scoring performance relative to Hamilton (behind, I know, but not by much).

      Having said that, why does he not the credit awarded to the likes of Schumacher, Mansell, Vettel, Hakkinen, Hill, Villeneuve and others who have benefitted from equally (or more) dominant cars?

      I think it is because he lucked into the dominant car. In the other cases, the teams recruited their drivers based on their competitiveness, targetting the best talent available to them. The top teams recruit who they think are the best drivers, and there is some long term meritocracy involved. It is no concidence that Ferrari and McLaren have recruited Alonso and Hamilton respectively.

      Brawn became overnight contenders, and only after that could they attract Rosberg and entice Schumacher out of retirement. Hence, Button was never actually recruited as the team leader of a potential championship team, and that is usually the biggest obstacle to be overcome.

  29. Andrew Flemington says:

    Jenson is a nice guy and a smooth driver but no one above is spelling out reality.? He won 6 races in a BGP [mod] with a huge advantage over the rest of the field. Once the DD was copied and the playing field leveled he was average for the rest of the season. Even Barrichello (a confirmed #2) won races. His other 4 wins have come in conditions favourable to his car and his driving style. He is clearly slower than Lewis and needs to win a dry race on merit before he can be considered a top driver and a worthy WDC.!!

    1. AuraF1 says:

      I think the fact that Jenson drove such an amazing overtaking race in Brazil to seal his 09 WDC was actually more impressive than his earlier wins. As Brawn has mentioned they had no money for development and the car wasn’t improved in the latter half of the season against the massive budgets of McLaren, Ferrari and RBR. So – although I agree Jenson tightened up and psychologically broke mid-season, he recovered enough and was up fighting against the RBRs in the final race – you could see as soon as he had the WDC tied up he relaxed and was racing for the podium again.

      Even Lewis in his WDC year had to take it down to the wire and had some horrible moments in 08 and could easily have lost it to Massa. Vettel last year never even led the championship and it could easily have been Alonso or Webber with a WDC if they hadn’t blown it.

      I’m struggling to think of a recent WDC where it was utter domination since the Schumacher run obviously – well apart from Vettel this year and it’s already been seen, if he can’t blitz it in quali, he can struggle. No driver is perfect. Remember – the brawn wasn’t the only car to run a DD – I didn’t see the others running at the front. And if Barrichello was so brilliant second half of the season, why wasn’t he blitzing Jenson in the first?

      1. Andrew Flemington says:

        Vettel started behind Button in Brazil and finished in front of him. Didn’t make the headlines because he is not British.? The BGP as a superior car all year but only had two #2 drivers. Max Moseley gifted the DD to the 3 basket cases (Honda/BGP, Toyota & Williams) in an attempt to split FOTA. Fortunately he failed but Williams are still a basket case & Toyota have gone. Mercedes are still second grade after taking over a WCC team.!!

  30. Andrew says:

    Congrats to Jenson. His calm and mature off track attitude is refreshing too.

  31. Monktonnik says:

    It’s nice to hear some comments from another driver/team boss/whatever quantifying some of Button’s plaundits. I remember Ross Brawn’s comments and have always thought that JB compared mostly very favourably to Rubens in their time as team mates.

    I thought that Williams made a mistake farming JB out. I think he would have won races in his second season. I think the perception of Jenson would have been different in that case.

    I think that when we talk about a driver’s prowess in the wet it often says more about our prejudices than the driver’s ability. People, rightly, applaud Senna for his wet victories, whereas they deride Button because his skill tends to shine in difficult conditions.

    Ok he isn’t on the same level as Lewis over one lap. Alonso found LH a handful in his first season though!

    For me, his performance in 2006 is what legitimises his quality, where from Hungary onward he outscored everyone in far from the best car.

  32. Mark in Australia says:

    JB is definitely one of Formula One’s journeymen. We all love the playboys in sport, particularly the pinicle, like F1; but I think we can all agree if the sport had mire gentlemen like JB we’d all be better off.

    He may be a WDC with millions of dollars and the underwear model girlfriend, but one can relate to JB because he seems to be simply a good bloke; I am sure you could confirm this, James.

  33. Joe S says:

    Jenson has been my main driver since 2003. My happiest moment was probably his first win. In 2009, he had a poor second half of the season, and in some races, he got involved in collisions and was terrible at times. He disappointed me then, and just about got across the line when he needed to.

    With regard to the “greatest second driver”, I’d say either Fisichella or Barrichello.

  34. Neil Jenney says:

    Huge Jenson fan from day 1. 2009 was magical. He had the car and he did it. That fact will never change. It’ll be a very sad day for me when he’s no longer on the grid and therefore getting me out of my chair.

  35. Rich says:

    He’s certainly a big hit with my girlfriend!

  36. Daniel Neves says:

    James -

    A thought. What if there were world drivers points (not team points) awarded to the top 10 drivers in qualifying for tracing the ‘perfect’ telemtry figures? In other words, judge out in the open, with points riding on it, what De Ferran was describing to you… a driver then would be battling his own ability to max out the car without overstepping, regardless of where he ends up on the grid. Could be really interresting… for example I’ll bet Kovi would score high in that respect. Would be fantastic to numerically judge driver acuety against nothing but himself. Just a thought…

  37. Neil says:

    I see many comments regarding Jenson’s WDC in 2009 and how he was in a dominant car for the first half of the season. The sub-text being that he wasn’t\isn’t that quick otherwise.

    If that is the case what does it say about Sebastian Vettel?

    Good article James and congratulations Jenson on your 200th Grand Prix

  38. Giles Hindle says:

    I’ve been a JB fan since his Williams drive in 2000. At first because he was British and a new talent; I was hoping we had one of the great drivers. His career was frustrating to watch and I was very emotional when he won in Hungary 2006. His 2009 championship is one of my all time favourite sporting experiences; I loved the whole season, although it was frustrating to see how people interpreted the first and second halves of the season. Great to hear James’s analysis of his talents – he’s clearly shown he’s a top driver. Probably not one of the greats, but then very few people are of course. What nags at me a little is that I think he has the talent to go a bit faster and get on LH’s level – a bit more aggression or urgency. Maybe the penny will drop and McLaren will build him the right car and he’ll do it again. Either way I’ll always be a fan and thanks for 2009 JB!

  39. noahracer says:

    Button will always remain my F1 “Rockstar.” From zero to hero and now a (former) World Champion, he is always on pace and maybe more likely than his teammate to cause a failure in the leading driver.
    I hope my son can emulate his racing savvy and with luck his career.
    Go Jenson.

  40. Damian J says:

    James,

    Many thanks for doing this tribute to Jenson’s F1 career.

    While at McLaren, Jenson has showed his class in many ways apart from being a genuine WDC contender and competitor to Hamilton. He has also proven to be a great asset as a calming force at McLaren making a wonderful pairing at the team.

    Hoping Jenson has a great drive this weekend.

  41. alan says:

    In my eyes, Jenson is THE best driver in F1. Myself I am a lewis Hamilton fan, but i admit that Jenson Button is a much better driver. Hamilton is a more aggressive driver, but thats not really a good thing because he cant handle it when he cant get the job done as easily as he would like, then he makes mistakes. But Jenson is always so calm and cool, and rarely makes mistakes, and when he wins, he wins in pure STYLE. Truly an amazing driver and people should appreciate him more than they do. He has a rare gift.

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