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Jenson Button's career defining moments

Updated on January 7, 2016

1999 'shoot-out' for Williams F1

In 1999 the boss of the Williams F1 team, Sir Frank Williams, gave Button a chance to race for a seat for the team in the next season. He was to race in a shoot-out against the Brazilian racing driver Bruno Junqueira, the winner of which would get the drive for Williams F1 team.

Button won his seat for Williams, entering Formula One and replacing the Italian driver Alex Zanardi. Jenson entered the record books as it made him the youngest driver to enter the sport. He was 20.

The record would later be beaten by Belgian-Dutch driver Max Verstappen who entered the sport in 2015 at the age of 17. This record would never be beaten as new rules introduced by the FIA in 2016 stipulated that a driver would have to be at least 18 years old to apply for a Superlicence.

Joining Brawn GP

In 2008 Button had raced for Honda. The season had been a poor experience for Honda and they decided to exit the sport due to the $300 million budget and staff of 700. Honda blamed the decision on the global economic crisis.

This left Button with no seat along with his teammate Rubens Barrichello and the pair faced a stark future. There were no seats left in F1 for them to take.

Luckily for Jenson, Ross Brawn (who had been Technical Director of Team Honda) bought-out the Honda team and began to construct Brawn GP. Jenson would start the season in style, winning 6 of the first 7 races, and be crowned 2009 Formula One World Champion by the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

Almost any Formula One fan or commentator will chose this race as Jenson Button's best win. Many more will probably say it (eventually) ended up as one of the most gripping final laps of any modern Grand Prix.

I can remember this race like it was yesterday. The weather was unpredictable, there was a lot of rain and a lot of problems for Button. First all all was his poor qualifying position of 7th caused by a lack of downforce compared to competitors. The race then started under a safety car - in the rain - and Button would later come together with team-mate Lewis Hamilton shouting the famous line "what is he doing!" over team radio. Jenson was also handed a drive-through penalty soon afterwards for speeding behind the safety car and emerged in 15th position.

It got even worse, with Jenson and Alonso having a minor collision and to top it all off he got a puncture meaning he left the pit-lane in 21st position.

What Jenson would then go on to do would demonstrate his superb management of tyres, excellent rain-race management and his trademark, smooth, driving style. He made up 19 places leaving Vettel, Schumacher and himself finishing the race. Schumacher had looked as if he may win the race but he older tyres eventually let him down and he started to lose pace.

However, Jenson was still fighting and catching Vettel. Vettel - also on old tyres - was under pressure and in turn six of the very final lap span off the circuit allowing Jenson to overtake him and win the race.

This really was the best Formula One race I've ever watched. I jumped up, kicked my beer over and stubbed my toe on the table leg...but it was worth it.

The death of John Button

John Button, Jenson's late father, was a larger than life character and regular paddock guest. He followed Jenson to as many races as he possibly could and would often be interviewed when Jenson was at the top of his game. He could often be seen enjoying a glass of red wine.

Jenson and John's relationship was one of the best on-screen relationships I've ever seen and there was clearly a lot of love between the two.

The future for Jenson Button

In August 2015, it was announced that Button would be replaced in 2016 with a new driver, Stoffel Vandoorne. However, this never occurred and he remained with McLaren for another season.

But Button's future in Formula One after 2016 looks unlikely. There appears to be no intention for any other teams to sign him and although extremely experienced it's unlikely another team would be prepared to pay the high salary that a driver such as Button would command.

Over the years fans of Formula One has learned that Button is a charismatic person with a good sense of humour and whom understands the sport inside-out. Hopefully we'll see him presenting on the sport and perhaps even commentating. Button has been tipped for a spot on the BBC's new Top Gear program. We'll see.


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