Jenson Button: The Return Of The Also Ran

Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIMarch 30, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and Brawn GP celebrates on the podium after winning the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 29, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Jenson Button is not a natural championship winning driver. He has spent much of his career as an also ran, hardly showing any remarkable out-performance of the armour beneath him.

Teammates have appeared relatively equal to the youthful driver, and rarely has the Englishman shown a style of team dominance that could elevate him to iconic status.

Yet Jenson’s second victory and first triumph minus offerings of weatherly help was something of a truly inspirational spectacle.

Here was a driver, so down and out after years of mid field finishes, miserably evolving into a back of the pack hell, reversing his fortunes, with a surprise new package, dominating one of the most intriguing openings to any recent championship.

Last season must surely have been an all time low for the Englishman. He suffered a second season being eclipsed by countryman and instant success Lewis Hamilton, and was demolished in parts by his surprisingly superior team mate Rubens Barrichello. He finished the season with his career seemingly in tatters, stuck in a team that just did not seem to care about his or their own future.

His career seemed to mirror in a lot of respects that of his great friend David Coulthard – a driver who many expected so much from, but despite occurrences and flashes of brilliance failed to consistently live up to the optimistic promise.

Amazingly so then, Jenson appears to have become electrified into action with his maiden victory of the 2009 season, relishing the masses of unexpected praise and glorious celebrations that have come his way as a result.

His stature reflects that of a boy in his first sweet shop, so overcome with elation and excitement that he can do nothing but produce a constant display of happiness, a beaming smile and a confident hope for the sensational season that could become.

The pessimist inside does believe that as soon as the other nine teams get their act together and overthrow the slight embarrassment of losing to a rookie team, that Jenson, Rubens and Brawn GP will gradually yet painfully slide back towards the foot of the pack.

However, something about the revitalised demeanour of the passionate Brit gives us a fantastic sense of greater things to follow and a season that in many ways could reflect the ultimate story of a flailing underdog, returning from the pit of oblivion and coming back a thousand times stronger.

Obviously it is too early to begin talks of a championship fight, for Jenson. The media and Formula 1 fanatics can not expect too much from an opening race of such ravishing events.

At least we know that a driver who once portrayed the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, is back where he truly wants to be, and back to a point in his career where even a slight downturn in his fortunes would still keep him in the sport for a good few years to come.

Jenson Button, although decidedly average in his credentials, is well and truly back in the eyes of supporters and competitors alike.