Marbles ~ Laura Marieee: 10-21-09

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This week there’s really only one thing for me to talk about: Jenson Button. The 29-year-old from Frome is the second consecutive Brit to become Formula One World Champion. Let’s face it he put in a stellar performance on Sunday afternoon. Even when it looked like he would have to wait until Abu Dhabi, he didn’t give up, and with the overtaking manoeuvres he pulled its fair to say he proved he is a worthy champion… And then there’s Barrichello, who just like Massa last year, didn’t quite do enough, but he’s been gracious in his defeat, and he even leant Jenson his private jet…

Button may not have won in Brazil, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve to take the title there, with a race left to go. Having started from 14th on the grid, coming through to take fifth, and finish ahead of his Brawn teammate who started from pole, is nothing to be sniffed at, in fact the passes he made were those of a champion who has the skill and determination to succeed.

Button pulled an amazing comeback in Australia, and while that may now seem like a long time ago, as the season nears it conclusion, when you consider how Honda’s pull-out from the sport had appeared to spell the end of Button, and indeed teammate Barrichello’s, careers, the Brawn team have achieved a lot in a short space of time.

Going into Brazil it was a three way fight for the championship, but after an action-packed qualifying session where rain postponed Q2 by over an hour, it was Barrichello who looked set to gain the most starting from pole in his home Grand Prix with Button down in 14th, and Sebastian Vettel in 15th after their poor performances in qualifying. As the lights went out on the penultimate race of the season it looked like the title was going to be left until Abu Dhabi to be decided.

But after the safety car made an early appearance, Button was able to make a move on some of the mid field, taking Romain Grosjean on the first lap after the restart, and Kazuki Nakajima on the second. Perhaps his most impressive move was passing Timo Glock’s stand-in Kamui Kobayashi into turn one- a dive up the inside and job done kind of pass- after spending a fair few laps being held up behind the rookie. It’s perhaps these impressive moves that make him a deserving champion. While Barrichello soon slipped down the pack, Button was making his way through the field to finish with a position high enough to secure his dream. After all, that’s what this season has been all about for Button.

Button’s performance at the top end of the season put more than half his total points on the board, scoring six out of seven wins. He dominated the season opener in Melbourne, putting Brawn in the headlines, he took a win and half points in Malaysia a week later to well and truly stamp Brawn’s mark on the season. While China was about Red Bull, Button commanded in Bahrain. Then came the European leg of the season, where he dominated the next three races, stealing the victory in Spain, dominating in Monaco, and rounding it off in Turkey by taking victory from second on the grid, when no one has ever won from a position other than pole.

In the following nine races there was a bit of a lull, a lull that had a few fans asking if he was even worthy of being champion. But by Brazil, his charge from 14th to fifth saw the fight back in Button, and arguably the drive from a true champion. At the end of the day the rules state that the person who scores the most points by the end of the season is the champion. What Button’s critics need to remember, is that while he hasn’t won for nine races, he has still come back from almost nowhere at the end of 2008, to winning six races in one season, and regardless of when they were won, statistics prove that’s more than either of his closest rivals, Barrichello and Vettel.

After the race Button said (as reported by Autosport on Monday):

“This season has been a rollercoaster ride from the elation of the wins at the start to the hard graft in the second half of the season which has seen us grind out the results needed to take the titles.”

He added: “I’m just reveling in the achievement of a lifelong dream. It’s going to be one hell of a party tonight!”

Now that Jenson has wrapped up the championship, there is still one question left unanswered- who will finish second? Vettel’s fourth place finish in Brazil from 15th on the grid, and Barrichello’s eighth place finish after a puncture in the final stint of the race, which resulted in a third pitstop, means Vettel is now placed second in the championship, two points ahead of Barrichello, with just Abu Dhabi remaining to decide the final standings…

But regardless of where either finish in the final standings, it has to be said that Barrichello showed what a true sportsman he is, being gracious in defeat- he let Button borrow his own private jet so he could stay in Brazil and celebrate with the team on the Sunday night, rather than race back to the UK for media appearances straight from the circuit. A nice touch it has to be said, and you’ve got to admire him. As reported on Autosport on Monday, Barrichello said after the race:

“I’m truly pleased for Jenson as a friend and he is a great champion. We have a fantastic relationship working together and that has really shown through this year. Well done to him. It was a true fight and I fought really hard but he really won it in the first half of the season.”

For now though, I personally want to congratulate Jenson, the new Formula One World Champion 2009…

…And this made me smile, from @The_Real_JB himself on Twitter:

“WOW! I don’t know what to say! I suppose there is only one thing I can say, I’M THE WORLD CHAMPION 2009!!! Woohoo!! ;-))”

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