The end is near
Yas Marina 2017
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Button: “The best race of my life”
Button: “The best race of my life”
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Oct 2009   |  11:22 pm GMT  |  107 comments

Jenson Button has made himself hoarse with shouting and celebrating his world championship victory, giving endless interviews.

He claims that today’s race was the best of his career to date,
” This was my best race I’ve driven in my life, I know because of the emotion that’s involved in it, but also because I knew what I had to do – I did it, and that is why I am sat up here as world champion, ” he said. ” I am going to enjoy this moment very much. The people around me have been so supportive. I might have come across like I don’t care about this in the past, but that was just me keeping a face. It shows a weakness if you show it is hurting or stressful, but I can say it now, it was very a tough few months and I needed the people around me, especially the team to fight for this.

The champion reflects (Photo : Darren Heath)

The champion reflects (Photo : Darren Heath)

“Today I didn’t win the race but I did best I could with the car and it felt like a win to me. I am the world champion – I am not going to stop saying it!”

Button admitted that he has made life difficult for himself in recent races, not least because of his uncertain qualifying form.
“Qualifying has been something I couldn’t get my head around for the last few races, ” he said. “I don’t know what it is, but it is something that we need to look at for the next race. I don’t want to be beaten in the next race as the world champion. Maybe it is the stress of it all, maybe it’s just that we haven’t got it together. I think it’s probably the latter.”

Certainly at the same time and in the same car, Rubens Barrichello was getting it together and putting Button’s championship lead under threat.

Ross Brawn made a reference to Button making hard work of it recently and it’s interesting to hear Button admit that maybe the stress and pressure got to him a little bit. He was definitely edgy before the podium result in Monza, which steaded the nerves a bit, but he kept getting himself into trouble in qualifying, which gave him too much to do in the races. He relied on the bad luck of his rivals through that time and after qualifying it looked like he might be in trouble again. But there is always a strong chance of either rain or a safety car in Brazil to give you a chance to make things happen and today he got a safety car.

He must feel a huge sense of relief above anything else that he has not thrown it away. Today’s race winner Mark Webber summed out the rivals’ perspective on Button’s state of mind recently, “I think he will sleep better now, because he’s been incredibly nervous, there’s no question about that, ” he said. “He’s been absolutely bricking himself the last few weeks, so he can sleep better now.”

Another strong result today for Webber’s team mate Sebastian Vettel moved him into second place in the championship and he can look back at the opportunities he had to win the title. Of the races he has finished this year Vettel has had a higher points average than Button. The crashes and reliability issues are what cost him the title.

Button admitted that there were points in his career when he thought he might not ever be champion, not least when it dawned on him in his second season in F1 with the Benetton team that he wasn’t mature enough to handle Formula 1.

Ironically, given what has happened this year with Nelson Piquet, Button was struggling at the Renault team in 2002 and was dropped by Flavio Briatore, his team boss. David Richards hired him for BAR, allegedly against the advice of Bernie Ecclestone and that started a relationship, which had many ups and down but has culminated in today’s success. His string of podiums in 2004 and the win in 2006 cemented his belief that he had what it takes to win in F1, he just needed the team to give him the car to do it in. He got that car this year,

“I suppose my second year in F1 was the toughest personally,” he said, reflecting on his low point of lack of belief. “After my first year it wasn’t enjoyable. It was enjoyable at Williams and got great results, but I really didn’t work hard enough. Basically I was too inexperienced and too young to be racing. The second and third years of my career were very difficult, especially my second. That is when I knew it wasn’t just speed, you can’t win races with just that. You need to work on many different areas and F1 becomes your life. That was the most difficult season.”

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

He is the World Diffuser Champion. Last 10 races no wins, mediocre qualifying performances, poor on race day except maybe Brazil

I have no doubt in my mind Alonso and Hamilton would trounce Button in equal cars, They are a cut above and i dont believe JB would stand a chance against them.

Roll on 2010, Cant wait to see the 'best' drivers go toe to toe with each other


If it was down to the diffuser,as you claim then one of the 2 Toyota drivers should of been world champion,if i remember rightly they had a better diffuser than anybody.Consistency and reliability over the whole season are what is needed and Brawn managed it better than everybody else.


Totally agree!


World Diffuser Champion?

Not a fan of Jenson, however is it a worthy champion? Quite frankly I don't know, we'll probably find out next year. But does he deserve the crown? Absolutely.

People tend to forget the Red Bull's, and Toyota all had the same advantage the Brawn team enjoyed at the beginning of the season, but couldn't capitalized on it somehow.

They are few people here trying to compare the win of Hamilton with what Button achieved yesterday, and I think its very silly, I mean Hamilton nearly won the thing in his first year while driving along side a double world champion, then comes back in the second year and takes it. Do you lot think Button can beat Alonzo in the same car? Please let us not compare the incomparable Lewis Hamilton is in a different league, and this year has proved it.

It is also interesting to note that, among the non-diffuser starters Lewis Hamilton, and McLaren are doing tremendously well for a team that couldn't even make it to the second part of qualification at the beginning of the season.

He's in 5th behind the diffuser teams, while Alonzo lays in 9, and Kimi coming in 6th place with one more race to go.

May also remind some folks here that in 2008 according some F1 insiders, the Ferrari cars were superior to the McLarens, is not as if Lewis had some sort of huge advantage as Button clearly enjoyed in the first half of the season, Hamilton had to do it the hard way with all the controversies, with Kimi, and Massa breathing down his neck, the later certainly on top of his game.

I think the talk of Button been an unworthy champion stems from the fact that as soon as other teams caught up with their own diffusers, and few minor adjustments, Button was no where to be seen, but that still doesn't mean he shouldn't have won it yesterday. They are, and always going to be doubters out there, and only Button can silenced them.

Next year, with all the teams starting from scratch, it will be very interesting to see where he ends up.


It was Williams and Toyota with diffuser along with Brawn. Red Bull didn't have it to start with. You would have to say that the Brawn probay hasn't been the best car all season.


"World Diffuser Champion"?

This is getting a bit old now. If the success of Brawn and Button was solely due to the Double Diffuser, then why was the title race not between Brawn and Toyota or Williams?


At the start of the season, Button had a car that suited his driving style, and both suited the range of tyres Bridgestone supplied (remeber it's a return to slicks and a lot of races with 2 grades apart). When other drivers had problems, Jenson was able to do the best job. I can't see why you blame the diffuser situation solely - yes it was a factor in the first races - but certainly not the deciding factor. If Vettel had completed more races he'd be champion - arguably with the best car on the grid once Red Bull perfected their diffuser. But he threw away points throughout the season.

Hamilton and Alonso may well be able to beat Jenson in an identical car (although I suspect then it would be down to setup, track conditions and tyres). F1 isn't about equal cars.


The point being on this occasion they did not have the best car. When Jenson did he made most of it.

I agree that Hamilton and Alonso are probably best drivers but only next season will tell.

But jenson is world champion and surely we should congradulate and celebrate not least for Ross Brawn and all that has been achieved there.


I agree. But the fact is that in 2009 there was a rare chance to become world champion, and he was the only one that got the job done.

I think there are better drivers than button that never became f1 world champions. Montoya, villeneuve..., but you need luck when you are not a super skilled driver, and he put it all together. We have to congratulate him on this one. It may be the last year he even get a gp victory.


Villeneuve did become WDC though. Montoya was fast but erratic. I was a great fan of his, but he was no championship material.

Button is the prototype of a driver who will be WDC once he has a car that is capable of winning. Fights hard during the race, makes only few mistakes, runs the strategy to perfection and overtakes when he needs to.


Villeneuve did win a championship, and Button beat him when they were in the same team as far as I remember.


I guess he means Gilles


I'm assuming he meant Gilles, not Jacques.


Oh dear, a shame you can't give credit where it's due. Brawn were not the the only team with the double diffuser. The fact is Button won 6 races this year, more than Hamilton ever did in his two championship contending years.

I think I'll refer to Alonso as the "mass damper" champion from now on.


Oh my lord! Really? Are we still having this debate?

The poor bloke has RACED like a champion all year, and not just when he had the best car at the beginning of the year and still people like you can't give him his due.

Give over!


"poor on race day".

Were you watching a different championship?


There are things more important than racing, and things

which transcend money and what it can buy.

And never ever quitting is one of those things.

Mr. Button never quit, and he finally achieved his goal.

Words fail me at this point, except to say : congratulations !


I found Mark Hughes piece on the Autosport website interest context. Certainly there's no way that you can say Jenson is best driver in the world in they way that Usain Bolt is clearly the fastest runner on earth. Being British or Japanese or German is a significant advantage to getting to be a Formula 1 driver, so it is interesting that Renault played a key role in bringing Jenson to Williams' attention.

I think a key thing in Jenson's appeal or lack of it, relates to his preference for an understeer biased car. Footage of Jim Clark sliding a Lotus Cortina, or Ronnie Peterson, Gilles Villeneuve sliding to moderate success stirs the passion more than sliding the front end 'till it clips the apex. Hamilton's driving style, with turn-in oversteer, is just more exciting, partly as it is rarer, if not necessarily any faster. Still, being able to drive around problems is a key skill, and this apparent deficiency with oversteering cars seems to be the key black mark against Jenson when I listen to someone like Martin Brundle.

Jenson's overtaking ability was aided by the functionality of the car - excellent mechanical grip and low speed aerodynamics. The German race was a good example of the Brawn's ability to follow another car more closely than any other car in the field. However, he was better than Rubens in this regard.

To be a worthy World Champion, it helps to beat your team mate. There were several occasions where Jenson outclassed Rubens during the race, even if the starting positions meant Jenson started and finished behind. There aren't many clear-cut examples in favour of Rubens (Silverstone, possibly Valencia), and many more to Jenson.


spot on. You could watch Lewis all day and there is no doubt he has more innate talent than anyone bar Alonso in F1 but the overtakes yesterday were of the highest order and in the end hes WDC, thats all he needs to say. what is it?.. 40 odd men in the history of the world that hve managed that. not bad company whatever people think about your talent.


Nice analysis.

I'd like to add that it also helps that Button knows when to take risks and when not. When Button overtakes he makes it stick and there is little touching. When Barrichello attempts to overtake there is almost always touching involved (like in Australia and Turkey where damaged the car).


'Knows when to take risks.' Exactly. The best poker players I know are business-like about it. What the crowd most wants to see does not serve their playing. And, amongst other things, that's something I appreciate about Jenson, and that he stayed with what got him there regardless of the naysayers.


Thanks for sharing that and your views. Found it insightful.

I think Jenson Button can claim this year's title on one basis that nobody else has had a better season. Whether he's top 3 in the world is a more debatable matter in my view. Maybe the coming years will determine whether he's a Hill and Villeneuve kind of World Champion or an Alonso/Raikkonen/Hamilton type.


"I think Jenson Button can claim this year’s title on one basis that nobody else has had a better season."

I'd suggest that that's the case for every other WDC in the history of F1, isn't it?


Best race of his life, most tense of mine!


There was a nice quote from Norbert Haug - "For the second year in a row, car number 22, driven by an Englishman and powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine has finished fifth in Brazil to win the world championship!" And then you remember what a tough job Lewis made of winning last year. There's been some talk recently that Jenson is an unworthy champion. This is clearly twaddle. Nice one, Jenson. Hope the contract negotiations go well!


Of course JB is a worthy champion, he has scored 89 points in 16 races and the nearest person to him is his team mate who is 15 points adrift so of course he is a worthy WDC, he has won the title with a race to spare.

If you look at the results for the season you will see that Jenson has failed to score in only the Spa race where he was put out by another competitor through no fault of his own.

Some people say he didn’t have the challenge from teams like Ferrari and McLaren which to an extent is true but he did have to compete against Red Bull. And it should also be noted that there has been six different winners this year compared to 5 in 2008, 4 in 2007 3 in 2006 and 4 in 2005, and I wont go back before that time when one driver won most of the races thanks to team orders.

If people feel they need to ask if Jenson is a worthy champion perhaps they should ask the same question re the 1994 WDC or perhaps one or two of the manufactured WDC since that time.




Your page currently reflects the driver's and constructor's points for Hamilton/Raikkonen and McLaren/Ferrari in reverse order, post Brazil.


Where do we begin?

Well done to Jenson, not just for the championship, but for grabbing the bull by the horns in that race - say what you will about relative cars' performances, but I wish that last year Lewis had drived in Brazil the way Jenson did this year...

Well done to Rubens - the race just went away from him, but you can't say he didn't try!

Well done to Webber, for a deserved win.

Well done to Hamilton, for coming from so far back to get one more podium.

(and by far, the most important thanks of all)

WELL DONE to Mr. Tilke, for staying well away from this track, so we can all remember what proper racing actually looks like!



Although i am an avid follower of the sport, and can only congratulate Jensen on his WDC, I have to say that your comparison of the number of WDCs to the number of US presidents on ITV/F1 is very cute.

Let's see how we're doing when we've been racing for 220-odd years. 🙂

Thanks though for all the insight and opinion over the course of this year. It has been a pleasure to read and follow.


Well it will carry on over the winter and I've got something special coming up for those who have been with me on this journey with the blog this season.


James, I hope the something special is an announcement that you will not be able to post so frequently to this blog, you will not be able to give us so many updates and you will not deliver consistently superb journalism. Why? Because they have finally sent Legard off to football on the radio where he belongs and you are back as the F1 commentator on the BBC. Apologies to my esteemed fellow contributors who are not in the UK or in a country which takes the BBC feed but really, if you had put up with what we have put up with this season, you might feel the same.


Are you taking us all out to dinner somewhere nice? Like Monao?


Monaco! That'd be great!

Also congratulations on this blog James. Can't believe it's been over a year since it started! Long may it continue.


If the forum continues to grow any more, that would surely double the population!



Good to hear that something special is coming up.But,Now that the title battle is over, are you looking forward to the battle for the 3rd place in the constructor Championship? I bet you are putting your money on Mclaren given that there is a feeling that Abu Dhabi is going to suit Mclaren.... What are your thoughts on that?

And my second question would be - other than the top 4 drivers ( from brawn and Redbull), how would you rate/compare performances of Hamilton and Kimi this year. They have been the standout guys among the rest of them.



Both have had a season of two halves. Hamilton has developed a lot as a person through the bad times at the start of the year and I reckon a year of struggle has been a good thing for his character - he's more humble now. As for Kimi he's an enigma. Why did he suddenly put in amazing performances when Massa was out of the way? Granted he had some good races in the first half of the season too, particularly Bahrain. But nothing to compare to the way he went from July onwards. As for P3 in constructors's I think McLaren will do it for two reasons, first the Yas Marina track will suit their car more and second, Kovalainen is doing a better job than Fisi and more likely to nick an extra point or two.


I hope it does carry on over the winter or I will have nothing to do with my time!


To anyone that says Jenson is not a worthy champion:

Most wins, Most podiums, Some brilliant overtaking manouvers in an era where we dont see many!

People are saying he won races because he was in the best car...well how far back do you have to go to find a driver managing to win the championship in not the best car? Maybe Prost in 1986? And even then his car was still one of the best even if not quite as good as the Williams. If Jenson had a better car all these years leading up to 2009 he would surely have won more races and definitely have been in contention for a few more championships. And as James says, when he first started in F1 it took him quite a while to become an all round good driver because of a lack of experience in lower formulae. If you take this into account, and some of the rubbish cars he has had to drive over the years (with the exception of 2004 - he did well mind you) then his career cannot be seen as a dissapointment. Well done Jenson, you deserve it.


I actually believe Hamilton, and McLaren could have won it again this year if their momentum wasn't thwarted by F1 politics with the so-called lying scandal.


Alonso 2005 for instance


The 2005 season actually parallels the 2009 season in some respects. I think it is misleading to say Renault wasn't the best car of 2005; it most certainly was in the beginning of the season. During the first four races, Alonso managed to pull a 29 points lead over Kimi. After that, Kimi and Alonso were quite even pointwise, Kimi winning 7 of the remaining races against 4 wins for Alonso (on top of the three wins in those 4 first races). In the end, Alonso won the championship with a 21 point margin. Their respective teammates faired fairly similarly as well, just 2 points separating them in the end, with Montoya ahead.


You cannot say that the WDC shows who is the 'best' driver. That is too much to ask of any arbitrary scoring system. Come in first, you get 10 points (or five I suppose), come in 9th and you get none. You get a puncture five laps from the end of a race you have led from the start and the theory is that that makes you a worse driver than the one who was going to be second but didn’t have the puncture.

The WDC is fluff: it is artifiical. It proves who scored the most points and that is all.

The car has always had a major influence on who is the WDC, as has team management, tactics and resources. Indeed, a significant feature of this season is that it is the first time the WCC went outside the ‘big four’, Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Renault (Benetton), since 1978 and then it took Andretti’s genius to give Lotus their last cup.

It would appear clear that before picking his apex, the aspirant WDC should pick his car.

Many things went Button’s way, most notably Brawn. Further, Honda acted responsibly with their exit strategy. The political situation helped the smaller teams as did the change in aerodynamics – any change hurts the established teams more than the newcomers.

What the Button WDC and the Brawn WCC proves is that the package was superb. That is what it is all about. A driver can make a difference. But it is of note that since 1958, the start of the WCC, there have been just four drivers who won the WDC without their car gaining the WCC: Hawthorn in 58, Rosberg in 82, Piquet in 83 and Hamilton last year. (Statistics subject to official confirmation.)

You can’t take anything away from Button’s WDC just because he was in what was the best car for much of the season. We have to accept it is a team sport.

Yesterday’s race was a thriller. It reminded me of why I watch F1. And it was due in no small part to Button’s drive. It was a classic. His overtaking, when he had so much to lose, was breathtaking. Vettel and Hamilton also had great drives. Imagine if that was the first GP you’d ever seen. Wouldn’t you have been hooked for life?

Enjoy it, Button. The WDC is ephemeral in many ways – ask D. Hill – but he’s worked for it for many years. So well done. I am happy for you.


While I agree with your package theory, as I do many of your posts, the statistics are flawed. DAN has added a fifth with 1973 but there is also Hunt 1976 (Const: Ferrari not McLaren); Piquet 1981 (Const: Williams not Brabham); Prost 1986 (Const: Williams not McLaren); Schumacher 1994 (Const: Williams not Benetton); and Hakkinen 1999 (Const: Ferrari not McLaren), making 10 in total to my knowledge.

Perhaps a driver needs one good car whereas a team needs (at least) two good drivers!


Point taken. I was going by memory and I'd forgotten how bad mine is. I should have looked it up. I've got enough books. I apologise. My only excuse is that I work from home and it was a busy day. As is this.

My main point was, as you obviously realise, that it is a team sport. Button no more lucked in to Brawn GP than Schuey lucked in to Ferrari/Todt/Brawn/et al. (Can I add Mosley to that without the moderator getting all red penny?)

For most of those years the whole Ferrari package was the strongest team I've ever seen. It killed a lot of the attraction of the sport for me but you could not take it away from them. They didn't have a weak spot, not even a chink. Whether each individual part had the same degree of importance is another matter and one, perhaps, we could run a thread on later. Certainly it fell apart when Scheuy and Brawn left. Todt on the other hand . . . Whilst many, on here and other forums, suggested that FIA politics played an important part in Ferrari’s success, and that was Todt’s department, he wasn’t an overwhelming success on his own. Brawn, however, got another package together (ok, took over an underperforming one) and in the first half of the season overwhelmed everyone.

I’m just glad we had an exciting race to go into the election on the back of. The result will, I feel certain, be a disappointment for everyone who has the interests of the sport at heart but if, despite all the wrangling, bull, name calling and disgusting behaviour, we can still enjoy a race like Brazil then there is still hope.


Absolutely nothing to apologise for, your points are perfectly valid.

The recent FOTA/FIA shenanigans prove (on balance of probability!), I think, that Ferrari did have an elevated position; yet Todt, Brawn and Schumacher (plus Byrne) were an incomparable team for all the right as well as wrong reasons.

As a positive, it is so good to see the change in Ross Brawn since freed from the Ferrari corporation. I guess it is to his professional credit that he played the part so well but the more genial, open and apparently straightforward Brawn of today is a breath of fresh air. I suspect few people are reading this older thread now but I'd love to see him pick up a New Year honour (alongside Button) for his efforts in 2009.

As for the election, my heart is with Vatanen but my head says not only that Todt will win but that his limited improvement over latter era Mosley maybe more workable than the division and controversy that Vatanen could bring. Regrettably, too many years of corporate politics have made me cynical of idealists in a world of vested interests.


in 1973 Stewart was WDC for Tyrrell but Lotus won the WCC with Fittipaldi and Peterson.


Thanks for that.

All great drivers, perhaps with the extra edge. Stewart of course. The odd thing with Rosberg was that despite him winning the WDC I always thought he could have done much better.

And although at the time I thought Piquet had it all, in talking to one of his mechanics, it seemed he was lacking in application. The chap was adament that Piquet 'switched off' during the years he had 1 on his car. Looking back there seems to be a lot of evidence to support that.

Hamilton's win without the WCC had certain 'special' characteristics so perhaps can't really be included.

I watched the race again today, apart from a few closing laps. I thought I would be able to pick holes in the hype surrounding Button's drive but I've got to say that it is great the second time around as well.

Hamilton's drive was really quite professional, given the weight he was carrying for much of the race. McL were banking on a pace car fairly early on, given the green tyres, and the risk paid off. But it still left LH with a lot to do.

There were some promising newcomers as well. I know we've here before but a Japanese WDC in the making perhaps? Enough to sway Toyota on the 15th hopefully.


Here is a nice youtube clip about Kamui Kobayashi.

Very much like Taku before him he seems to be the type of Japanese driver who approaches F1 using the approach used to good effect by all Major south-american drivers years ago (aka by moving to Europe and master english). This is very different from Tora Takagi who could not communicate in english at all when driving for Tyrrell. This will one day bring results. Quite why Kazuki Nakajima failed to score points this year when he scored some last year with a car not nearly as good as the 2009 one is a bit baffling.

Taku had one good year at Honda alongside Jenson and after that drove only bad cars so I would love to see him get another chance in a reasonably good car to see how much better he would be now.



“And although at the time I thought Piquet had it all, in talking to one of his mechanics, it seemed he was lacking in application. The chap was adament that Piquet ’switched off’ during the years he had 1 on his car. Looking back there seems to be a lot of evidence to support that.”

I don’t think that is right.

In 1982 & 1984 the BMW engine in the Brabham proved to be extremely unreliable, resulting in many DNFs. In 1988 the Lotus chassis was a pig even tough it had the Honda engine.


Also Akkinen in 1999 was WDC without WCC.

Ferrari won the WCC that year.


Well done Jenson! Great race and, on this point, i would like to ask James his opinion on this:

Having seen the action in Brazil (and Spa) has the time come to say loud and clear that the overtaking problems in F1 are not really to do with the car design, but with the circuits? Brazil and Spa have always given us great gp's, irrespective of car rules. How can Bernie at al not see this? use these two tracks as examples and build the new ones with them in mind, instead of those damned parking lots. Overtaking is alive and well in F1, just give the pilots a circuit where they can do it!


the OWG have said much the same thing - you ask a driver where they can overtake, and they might say just one or two corners are the only chance. their arguement was to have a track consisting of a lot more corners where you can overtake, but i'm not sure mr tilke has the formula for those corner on his computer...

personally i think it's both - some circuits simply do not offer any opportunity, but any series where it's a disadvantage to follow someone rather than an advantage will not give you close racing


A fantastic race & a worthy champion.

I can't believe the number of Button knockers out there. He's raced fantastically all year & the points show 'He is the World Champion'.

Schumacher many times had a far quicker car than the rest of the field & a team-mate with one arm tied behind his back. I know which situation I think creates a less credible Champion!

Well done to Brawn as well! 🙂


Yeah but no one prevented Rubens from qualifying better than Schumi and Schumi was way ahead of him at his prime.

Button was being beaten by the same guy for second half of the season who is about to retire.


You seriously cant be comparing Button to Schumacher. Button did a great job this year but he's no Schumacher. One win doesnt make a legend.


I was simply saying that having a good car doesn't make you less of a Champion. I also think that it's a lot easier to win when your team-mate is contractualy working for you.

I think Shumacher is a legend, but most definately a flawed one. Let us not forget that he even won a World Championship by knocking his chief competitor off the track (Adelaide 1996).

I know other Champions have pulled off similar 'dirty tricks' & to me this just highlights Buttons work this year. He's a nice guy, who finished first & I for one think that earns him even more of my respect & admiration!

To respond to Sam. Good point, but Button had something to lose in the second half of the season. It's always easier to push it when you've got nothing to lose. Also, many people including Rubens think that he's been driving at his best this season!


Sadly, I was unable to watch the race, but saw some footage on BBC this am, which featured some of Jenson's excellent overtaking manouevres in his combative drive to WC glory.Congrats to Jenson on a fantastic achievement. He may not be the best package on the present grid, but he has won more races than anyone this year and more points, so his achievement is thoroughly deserving.Some WC's won far less races in a season like Alan Jones and Jody Scheckter and were still worthy champions, so it seems appropriate to acknowledge Jenson's achievement for what it is - a great achievement.

In the same breath, one has to equally laud Brawn. Ross' ability to turn a very negative situation into a phoenix like story and produce the mounts for JB and RB to bring Brawn the Constructor's Championship is another brilliant achievement.Well done to all at Brawn.

Formula One is richer for this team's achievements.


James unlike many I won't try to compare JB to any other Champion or driver. Neither will I claim that this title was about a Double Diffuser. But I think your article illustrates the fine line between success and failure. What if JB had failed to get a decent drive in 2003 after being ditched by Renault, or what if Ross Brawn had not been able to save the old Honda Team? These are questions that have answered themselves. The fact that JB now says he was feeling some of the pressure is not surprising. After Turkey, he kept saying that the WDC was not in his thoughts, but how could it not be? I think Mark Webber got it spot on. His comments on JB are also worth a read on the Autosport website.

During his press conference he said "he deserved to be WDC". To me, this was a man, with his Prime Objective achieved putting two fingers up those who said that he was not worthy.

Jenson Button. 2009 World Drivers Champion. Congratulations!!


JB has done a fantastic ob with the car given.

I am sorry to say but in recent years, very few so called best drivers in the world have been able to win without a great car.

Therefore we need to consider that Brawns had at the beginning of the season the best car and, believe me, Ross Brawn knew that he did not need to waiste a lot of resources in the 2009 car because of the advantage accumulated in the first part of the season.

Other teams, ie Ferrari partly, McLaren, Renault, Red Bull, have developed the 2009 car relentless trying to gain as much as they could in this season.

Brawns did not need to update the car every race and they already have developed the 2010 car for at least 5-6 months, ahead I guess of most of the contenders of this season title.

Moreover JB has done what it was required, win as many races as possible and then then manage when the car was not performing at the level of others or his grid position was not the best.

And he has done that.

At the ned of the day if he did not score more points then everybody else, he woudn't be world champion.

Regarding the double diffuser, shall we remind ourselves of some of the technological advantages in recent years

Renault with a clever front dumper, banned

Ferrari with a clever movable wing, banned

Brabham with a turbo charged engine design for qualifying, banned

Just few examples


Do not forget that nothing provided almost 2 seconds a lap in the Barcelona testing.

Havind said this very bad for Rubens at the beginning.


Without doubt the worst driver to ever win, world Cship, thereby degrading the title.

1 podium in 10 consecutive races says it all.

Any Jenson promoters will to offer me odds on him repeating the feat next year?

Admittedly he was good when his car was more than 1 second per lap quicker than all others - but as the others caught up he was trashed by oldest teammate in the world.


Wow, that Brawn must have been a hell of car to win 8 races in the hands of a tortoise and a dinosaur.

Many championship results can be debated. A few obvious ones: Hawthorn or Moss 1958; Hill or Von Trips 1961; Hulme or Brabham 1967; Hunt or Lauda 1976; Rosberg or almost anybody 1982; Lauda or Prost 1984; Hamilton or Massa 2008 - there are many others. In the examples, with the exception of '82, the other candidate was, I think, very clear (even '82 could perhaps be Pironi) but I don't see a single clear candidate for 2009.

Button more or less wiped the floor with Barrichello in the first half of the year and Vettel has made mistakes in races; Webber has been inconsistent.

The winner is the man who does the best job with the equipment at his disposal over the course of the season. This year it was Button - and with some great drives along the way, too.

In terms of style, people will always have favourites. I found Senna more exciting than Prost but both were great drivers and I stil admire the latter's inate smoothness and mechanical sympathy, as I do Button's.


His last victory was Turkey 9 races ago.

Championships have been won with only one victory so your argument carries little validity.

His best season may have been 2004(I think)

where he finished second by outscoring Schmacher

in the second half of the season.


I guess with the same success I could say that you are without doubt the worst "fan" ever to ever post here.

You obviously haven't watched the F1 season at all. Did you just read the race results?

The Brawn GP was never 1 second a lap faster. besides from China onwards the Red Bull was faster or as fast as the Brawn GP. China they won, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco and Turkey they blew on poor strategy and driver errors.


Without doubt the worst comment ever posted here, thereby degrading the blog...


Yeah, he really sucked. Imagine having the fastest car on the grid for the first 7 races and only managing to win 6 times with it.

Sweet Jiminy...


"1 podium in 10 consecutive races" doesn't say it all any more than "6 wins in 7 consecutive races", and you can't dismiss the fact that "the oldest teammate in the world" is also the most experienced driver in F1 history, who may well have won his own world title before had he not had to play unofficial second fiddle to Mr Schumacher.

As others have commented, there have been plenty of champions who have got there because in some seasons they were in the best cars (and that includes Schuey), and the statistical likelihood is that there will be many more. JB undoubtedly let the pressure get to him over the last few months, but after qualifying on Saturday was ruined by the team's incorrect tyre choice he dug deep when he needed to and showed that he really did have in him what it takes to be a worthy champion.

As for being the worst driver to win the title, my first comparison would be how he eclipsed a certain Canadian former F1 champ when he was at BAR.


Thanks for all your great work this year James, there isnt a better place to find out the real story.

So a british driver, in a british team, with a mercedes engine & no. 22 on his car finishes 5th in Brazil to win the championship.

Identical to 2008!


Jenson Button - World Champion!

BBC Sports Personality of the year??


Awesome race! Reminded me of Schumacher's storming drive at Interlagos in 2006. Button is, without doubt, a worthy world champion. His overtaking moves this year have been a highlight of the season. Just reward for his natural talent and for his loyalty to the team last winter.

I hope Brawn can build a car that allows Button and the team to defend their championships next year and that we get to see Button fighting it out for the title with Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Massa and Raikkonen.

Bring on 2010!


Very pleased for JB and the team. The emotion in the voice of Ross Brawn remembering those who had to leave the team was an example of the man's class.

The Brazil race was a fitting champions drive, running round the outside of Grosjean was edge of the seat stuff as well as the other fabulous moves.

I agree that in equal cars that Lewis and Alonso would have been faster but that said his consistency in the early part of the season was exceptional.

Lets hope that next season is about more that 2 teams, would be nice if Brawn, Red Bull and the big 2 challenge all the way next year.


I think it was only natural for Jenson to be nervous and tentative towards the end of the season. He'd never been in that situation before and the only way he knew he would have a shot at the title at the end, was to be cautious. I think it's unfair of some to say he had a good car to start with and that he's not as good as other higher profile drivers.

Jenson did the best he could with what he had with how he felt at the time. I think DC said on Sunday, Jenson this year has won the same amount of races as Lewis the year before. It doesn't matter which order you win races, it matters how you end the season. This is very true and Jenson has been in the points for the majority of the races. Diffuser or not, he won it fair and square. Williams had the same "advantage" but didn't even come close.

Not sure about JB for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, but Brawn should definitely win Team of the Year. Amazing performance from them all and nice of Ross to thank past employees. You could see the whole year has been an exhausting and emotional rollercoaster for him and the entire group.


Great drive yesterday - a very worthy champ, well done Jenson.

I think he will be even better next year, he will be more relaxed, have less pressure than in the latter half of this year, and he appears to be able perform in a less stressed environment.

Also, well done Mark Webber, a bit out of the limelight yesterday!!!


Important point here Roger, about Mark Webber that is, a great drive.

Does it remind you of Japan 1976 when James Hunt took the title and everyone forgets that Andretti won the race.


Excellent race, Jenson you deserve it.

James your blog is fantastic, your observations are always very interesting and insightful, plus importantly most of the comments that people write are done so by very knowledgeable enthusiasts.


First of all, I like the guy and I think he deserves more any other driver this year. Big congratulations to him.

Now, he should enjoy this year because it will never ever happen again for Jenson. His middle name is Lucky, no doubt about that. The race in Brazil summarise his year for him. After a more than dreadful qualification the luck was on his side all along.

4 cars out (Kimi, Fernando, Suttil and Jarno) on the first lap, a safety car to regroup them, then Rubens, again, manage to bring all the bad luck and have a puncher. If the puncher was the other way around Rubens will be 3rd in front of Lewis and leaving Jenson with 85 and Rubens with 79 and another race to go.

The whole season has been almost the same, he was able to win having no opposition expect Rubens because of the car. As soon the rest of the teams were provided with competetive cars he was unable to make podiums (except Italy) leaving along wins. His only black spot was SPA, nothing else.

The only GP that he managed to win pre-Brawn was again just by pure luck, a Renault guy failed to place correctly the bolt of the wheel in the best race of the Spaniar in Hungary 2006. Let's face this is why his salary will never close to Hamilton, Alonso or Kimi.

For other drives, Vettel too many mistakes, and Ruben was not able to make happen when really counts. Mark was never a contender.


A deserving champion, regardless of whether or not he should be said in the same ranks of Schumacher etc, which I think now appears the topic many people love to give Button stick for.

A great start is always crucial to a season. You only need to cast your mind as recently as Alonso's 2006 season when it seemed he would dominate with 6 wins out of the first 9 races but didn't even come close to winning again apart from a lucky win with Schumacher's engine failure in Japan.

You also have to remember that only Ferrari and Renault were true front runners that year, whereas this season there have been several teams who could win at any Grands Prix in the 2nd half of the season.

And those who solely credit the championship due to the double diffuser, as someone mentioned earlier - what about mass dampers, and Michelin tyres? etc.

Button seems to restore the faith that overtaking is actually possible and not purely due to whoever has a heavier car at the start!


A very nice and balanced article, James, from what appear to be some very nice and balanced interviews. Such honesty from a world champion is refreshing.

Drivers have always matured at different rates, sometimes from extremely raw material (Scheckter, Hakkinen) or even seemingly lacking potential (Lauda, Mansell). They cannot all be Senna, Schumacher or Hamilton on arrival. There's room for all and one of the great appeals of F1 is that different seasons can have completely different feels and themes.


Great comment. I sometimes wonder if I'm the only person who remembers that Hakkinen could barely keep the car on the track in his early days. As you say, not everyone started as a superstar, sometimes it takes time.

It's pointless comparing too champions too closely across the years. The number of major rule changes for 2009 made it very different to the year before, and the changes for next will do the same again. But this year, with these rules, Jenson was the best by 15 points, and he deserves his time in the spotlight.


Now is the time for Bernie to pull the plug on Donington and let Silverstone get on with the job of getting ready for the British Grand Prix 2010 and let them start selling tickets so we can welcome home a new British World Champion.


Jensen is undoubtedly a deserving WDC.

6 wins, points in every race except Belgium where he was taken out by a rookie, and surely more overtaking than any other non-KERS driver?

Also, in the later half I have never seen a season with so many evenly matched cars, actually making it more difficult to close down the championship.

Is Button the best driver? No. But he is in the top 5, with Hamilton, Alondo, Raikonnen (when awake) and Vettel. I am still to fully be convinced by Kubica.

Is he the best qualifier? Absolutely not! And he can't get the best out of an under-performing car, unlike the truely great drivers.

Probably a one-off champ, but that does not denigrate his win in any way.


I forgot about Massa! make Button one of the top six.



"And although at the time I thought Piquet had it all, in talking to one of his mechanics, it seemed he was lacking in application. The chap was adament that Piquet ’switched off’ during the years he had 1 on his car. Looking back there seems to be a lot of evidence to support that."

I don't think that is right.

In 1982 & 1984 the BMW engine in the Brabham proved to be extremely unreliable, resulting in many DNFs. In 1988 the Lotus chassis was a pig even tough it had the Honda engine.


Great drive from Jenson Button. Worthy world champion, richly deserved.

The drive reminded me of Michael Schumacher's last drive in 2006, overtaking, lap after lap on the limit. Excellent Drive.

I thought Kimi would of won the race but for losing his front wing. I just hope he goes back to Mclaren. I can't stand to think of him in a Toyota.


Well done to Jenson Button. I am not going to get into the whole argument on the worthiness of his championship but it is worth pointing out he drove the best championship of his rivals. Reubens was too inconsistent and slow to start while Vettel and Webber both made too many mistakes.It seemed that he was the only driver out there with his eye on the big pictue.Its been refreshing to have a break from decades of big 4 dominance over f1 this season

Looking forward, if one was to put you on the spot and ask you to pick a favourite for 2010 who who would you pick James and why?


HI Ian

I agree 2009 has been a great year with the variety of winners and the general competiveness of the cars in the field. Thank God for Merc power.

As with 2009 maybe 2010 will have a few new surprises, wouldnt it be great if the Cosworth engine blew them away.


Always dangerous until you see the new cars on the track in February, but its got to be Hamilton vs Alonso/Massa, Button and Vettel in my book. Maybe slightly favour Hamilton at this stage, as I think he has grown as a driver this year through adversity and McLaren ought to have a good car. Question mark there is Mercedes' move towards Brawn and away from McLaren - will the impact be felt between now and 2011? It's a big year for Ferrari and the pressure is building on them already.


HI James,

Do you think the cost-cutting will affect some of the bigger teams? I suspect the first few stages of car development will have been completed, but at some stage McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull & Toyota will have to implement major changes to their staffing numbers. to have staff waiting to know where the axe might fall would not be good for morale. With Brawn having had 'the pain' of major staff cuts, do you think that they are in a better position to compete & develop their car all the way through 2010?.


Thanks for the Bloggs this season, I can only say that they were excellent! The BBC's loss has been our gain.


I think it will yes, but all teams are going to phase it


Next year will I think more or less the same at this year at the start of the season.

I think the tyre degradation will be a significant factor in races and the best car/driver managing the tyres will be able to come on top.

I can see Jenson being up there with the best, he is smooth and can manage the tyres.

I am afraid but I also can see Red Bulls having a superb car next year, Newey knows now what to do with douoble diffuser and the aero pack from this year, McLaren might regret letting him go.

LH should have a fantastic season if the car will be at the same level or therabouts with the rest.

One question James: Will Bridgestone change the compound for the tyres of next season and will the super soft have a bigger advantage with less fuel on board at the end of the race?


Another big question mark is the unexpected replacement of Gilles Simon by Luca Marmorini at Ferrari. As the rules prevent most engine development the impact of that might be hopefully limited but that could still be a problem for Ferrari.

The combo Martinelli/Simon delivered many good engines for Ferrari but Toyota's engine department for a long time run by Marmorini has yet to win a race.


Jenson thoroughly deserved everything this season. He is a deserving world champion on the basis that he's been the best driver this season in the Grand Prixs. Yes, he's made mistakes in qualifying, but can anyone tell me any mistakes he's made on race day this season?? Anyone? He has been pure perfection, gaining loads of points from starting positions which no one would have betted he would have got points from. Well done Jenson Button! The history books say it:

2009 Formula One World Champion - Jenson Button

and no one, no matter how bitter little people were making excuses that he didn't deserve it, no one can take that away from him!


Excellent effort by Button. he deserves the title, relative drop in performance over the year or not. He's suffered in comparison to Schumacher's dominance (doesn't everyone?) but more in comparison to the Hamilton fairy tale and the "win young or done" mentality that's overtaken the F1 world.

The man did the job and won the title. 'Nuff said.


Based on most of the sensible comments here we can conclude that:

A. Button is a worthy champion

B. But he is not the best driver on the grid.

Hmm That's sounds a bit funny doesn't it?


Not really, because F1 is a team sport and, even though the driver has to do a bloody good job, he can't do it without the car (and the rest of the team). Part of being World Champion is getting yourself into the right car at the right time. That has always been the case.

And how do you actually measure driving skill anyway? Even if you put the drivers in identical cars, that car may suit some drivers' preferences (oversteer, understeer etc) but not others who might be quicker in another chassis.

The fact is: the world champion is the driver with more points than the other drivers at the end of the season. And even under Bernie's medal system, Jenson would have been champ (ages ago).

There is no public phone in vote. It isn't X-Factor.


Thanks for sharing interesting views.

I was rather contemplating the definition of world driver championship and started to question if it is just a marketing tool to keep everyone interested.

If it is a teamwork, there shouldn't be driver championship, should it?

Most of the time, it is the machine that decides the title. The most talented drivers are just happen to be behind the wheel.

F1 business model is and has always been a constructor competition where interests are driven by debates.

And that's raises a lot of questions towards its creditability as a sport.

Rules change -> certain team benefited -> a talented driver win championship

My friend(who doesn't know F1) asked "Is Button is one of the best top 3 drivers?"

And I was like "Hmmm that's a good question."


I am not denying the fact that every championship winner is very very talented, including Button.

But it is undeniable fact that the competition does not always represent the best of the best.

Alain Prost said Lewis was very quick too. But the difference is that he can win in an inferior car. He can drives 0.7 sec faster than his teammate.

Zidane was may be the best footballer but he and his team was often beaten. It would be unfair to say that other team captain beat him for world footballer championship.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that F1 is the same as football, but a driver probably contributes just a bit more than what a team captain does in a football team.

So I am not sure if driver championship is as relevant as Bernie wanted it to be.


But the driver's championship is still relevant if you take into account that part of the challenge is to get into the right team / car in the first place. And you can follow that all of the way back to where the driver started. Most of the drivers had to be outstanding to climb the ladder to F1. At the time Button came into F1, he was noted as being exceptionally quick (by Alan Prost, no less). Where he has lacked "skill" is not behind the wheel, but in career decisions - until this season, that is.

And besides, even though JB wobbled somewhat before Brazil, he was genuinely brilliant in the first part of the season.

The only question mark over his abilities, for me, is the "wobble factor", but that happened to Hamilton too (twice) and I don't think that it will happen to either of them again.


Hi Sam

Not really the WDC is for the most consistent driver but most F1 fans would not put Button in the sports top three drivers.

Personally I rate

Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikonnen and Webber

all above Button in terms of driving talent.


Yes it sounds a bit funny, but it has nearly always been that way Sam, right back as far as Stirling Moss - no world titles!!


Great Season overall and definitely the right man won. It was excellent to hear a driver giving it some on the radio, and a great celebration, by the man who was the stand out racer of 2009.

Well done Jenson and Brawn

With no re-fuelling in 2010 looking after tyres is going to be key which may play against Mclaren/Hamilton and Red Bull/Vettel who work pretty hard in the cockpit. Button could well be winning next year as well. If Kimi goes back to Mclaren my money it on him. He has been stellar in 2010

James excellent job on blog, and I'm looking forward to it continuing, I have one final question if i may. On Saturday Jenson was complaining about excessive understeer. When the teams look at the telemetry can they verify this (steering angle vs speed difference on the tyres etc) or it something they have to take the drivers work for?

My reasoning being how much of the qualifying errors that have been Button has committed in the second half of the season were in his head..

Still can't be happy and looking forward to a free for all in Abu Dhabi



Kimi has been stellar in the second half of 2009

To the teams take the drivers WORD for things like understeer/oversteer


It's great to see the support for Jenson in the comments but I am disappointed that some people seem to genuinely believe that he doesn't deserve the title.

I think the F1 world divides into two groups: racing fans and driver fans. And I think it is the "driver fans" who are questioning Jenson's worthiness to the title.

If their "Boy" isn't winning, then no other driver can be "worthy" of the championship. We saw it last year with Lewis Hamilton. The degree of vitriol from Alonso (temporarily converted to Massa) fans was incredible - with some idiots suggesting that Glock was in the pay of McLaren, slowing down so that Lewis could get his 5th place. And now, equally ridiculously, we have people suggesting that because Jenson hasn't won recently, Barrichello is a more deserving champ. So what next? Should Bernie have the rules changed so that GP wins score higher towards the end of the season? Or maybe don't bother with points until the last race? Or maybe just have premium rate phone line where the drivers get "voted off" during the season? That would certainly make some money for Bernie.

I remember being at Silverstone during the height of "Mansell Mania". We were sat on the bank at Becketts, surrounded by "fans" who seemed to have no idea who the other drivers were (other than St Nigel). Amusingly, they got a bit confused and were cheering Prost's Ferrari each time it went by, waving their Union Jacks, convinced it was "il leone". These nationalistic nutters managed to put me off going to Silverstone until Nigel had hung up his (F1) helmet.

The good news, though, is that these "fans" come and go with their idols and leave the rest of us to enjoy F1, as I have been doing for 30 odd years.

We all have our favourites, of course, and may get disappointed if they can't win, but that shouldn't stop anyone appreciating the abilities of the bloke who strings it all together throughout the season.

So congratulations to Jenson and, maybe, next year I will be saying congratulations to Alonso, or Vettel, or Hamilton, or Webber or......


Brillant post Glen. I totally agree with that! Over the years I have admired many great drivers, supported a few and disliked a few more as well but I always acknowledged the achievement of the ones who delivered even if I was not necessarily a fan of them. What a real F1 fan wants to see is good racing irrespective of who the driver is or of his nationality.


Very well said! 🙂


I'm not a Jenson fan but I respect his points tally and consequently his WDC title.

Everyone above claiming Jenson isn't a worthy champion needs to learn some manners. The WDC is the guy with the most points at the end of the year irrespective of how much talent some ignoramus on a chat room thinks he has.

Well done Jenson and well done all at Brawn.

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!