In celebration of Jenson Button completing his 200th Grand Prix – and sealing the fairytale by winning it – the Badgerometer looks back over the Frome Flyer’s career and picks it’s favourite moments from many.
When you win a World Championship, it’s only natural for companies to try and get you to promote their products. Here’s Jenson in his Head & Shoulders advert:
Brilliant and cringe-worthy in equal measure!
Anyone remember just how Button got into Formula One in the first place? Thanks to a successful early career, including winning the Formula Ford Championship in 1998, and finishing 3rd in his first season in British F3 (with 3 wins) made him a hot property. He won the McLaren BRDC Young Driver award, which granted him an F1 test at the end of 1999 with the Woking squad. A test with Prost Grand Prix followed, and before you knew it Button was the hottest young driver in F1. Frank Williams saw this potential and granted the youngster from Frome an opportunity he couldn’t refuse; racing for an F1 seat against F3000 stalwart Bruno Junqueira. No one gave him a chance, but he won. The rest, they say, is history.
It’s special to win at Monaco, it’s the jewel in the crown of F1 and it’s what drivers dream of. Did you know that when you do secure a victory there, you have to park on the start finish straight, and not head into the pitlane? Jenson seemed to have forgot when he won there in 2009, probably after so many seasons of mediocrity at Honda. The resulting run to the podium made the win that slightly more special!
Many thought that Button would go on to be one of the unluckiest drivers in the sport – by the time it got to 2006, and after seven seasons and 113 starts in the sport, he still hadn’t broken his duck. On one wet(ish) day in Hungary though, that all changed.
Starting down in 14th thanks to a 10 place grid penalty, the Brit had fought his way up to fourth after 10 laps. Kimi Raikkonnen and Juan Pablo Montoya retired, as did Fernando Alonso while running second to Button with the Brit still to stop. All was needed was Jenson to bring the car home for a fantastic first victory.
Everyone who’s an F1 fan knows the Brawn story. It’s one of success after years of mediocrity and being hung out to dry by Honda. Even though the BGP-001 was fast at the start of the year, updates by Ferrari and Red Bull meant the title would go down to the very last races of the season. Main rival, and teammate, Rubens Barrichello took pole position at a damp Sao Paulo, while Button could only manage 14th. It seemed that it was all slipping away from Jenson.
On the first lap, thanks to a few collisions in front of him, Button was up to seventh. He then spent time behind debutante Kamui Kobayashi, dicing with the Japanese driver and showing his displeasure at the rookie’s defensive tactics. With Barrichello picking up a puncture late in the race, it dropped the Brazilian down to 8th, while Button sat in the 5th place needed to bring the title home. On the after race radio, it was clear just how much it meant to him.
Did you know that back in 2010, Badger’s very own Tess Tarossa had a natter with ‘Our Jense’ for GQ magazine? Yep, that’s right – Badger moves in many circles! You can see the interview video on the GQ website: “When Jenson met Tessa” (note: that’s Jenson meets Tessa, not the other way around!)