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Formula 1

Jenson Button- World Champion 2009

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Jenson Button heads to Abu Dhabi this weekend with the pressure of securing the championship off his shoulders, having taken the title in Brazil two weeks ago.

After nine seasons in Formula One with only one victory to his name, it looked like Button's career was over when on 5th December 2008, his team, the Honda Racing F1 Team, pulled out of the sport over the current economic crisis. But when Ross Brawn, who had been Honda's team principal, bought the team, Button's hopes of having a championship challenging car, were just beginning.

Button began racing at the age of eight, after his dad, John Button, bought him his first kart. In 1998 he won the McLaren Autosport BDRC Young Driver Award, the prize of which was to test a McLaren F1 car, which he did at the end of 1999.

After testing a McLaren, Button joined Williams- winning his race seat after Frank Williams held a 'shoot-out' between him and Bruno Junqueira over who would replace Alex Zanardi at the team for the 2000 season.

Button stepped up to his F1 seat to drive alongside Ralf Schumacher at Williams. He finished eighth overall in the season, with his highest grid position third, and race position fifth at Spa that year. However, his biggest racing error saw him crash behind the safety car at Monza.

In 2001 he joined Benetton and had a dismal season in a car that was constantly under-going redevelopment. He finished fifth in Germany- his highest finish of the season, but failed to impress overall, finishing the season 17th in the championship.

Benetton was renamed Renault F1 in 2002, and Button continued to drive for the team as teammate to Jarno Trulli, who regularly out-qualified him. However, Button was faster overall in the races, and narrowly missed out on third place and his first ever podium at Malaysia, when on the last lap his suspension failed. He finished the race fourth. He scored another fourth-place finish in Brazil that year, and finished ahead of teammate Trulli in the championship in seventh.

In 2003 he was replaced by Fernando Alonso at Renault, and he joined BAR, partnering Jacques Villeneuve. His best result of the season was fourth in Austria, and finished the season ninth in the championship.

In 2004 Button finished third in the championship after a successful season that only the two Ferrari drivers of Michael Schumacher and his eventual teammate Rubens Barrichello could beat. He scored his first ever podium, finishing third in Malaysia, and eventually, later in the season took his first pole, and second in the race in the San Marino GP. The BAR team finished the season second in the constructors' championship.

2005 was less successful, while in 2006, Honda purchased BAR and Barrichello joined the team as his teammate. In Hungary he took his first ever GP victory after starting 14th on the grid after an engine change handed him a ten-place grid penalty. The race was dictated by heavy rain, and in the opening laps he fought his way through the pack. After first and second-placed runners Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso retired he took the lead and finished some 40 seconds ahead of Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld.

2007 and 2008 saw the Honda team struggling, and a month after Button's fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton took the drivers' title, the team pulled out of the sport. That was when Ross Brawn stepped up to the challenge, and just weeks before the 2009 season began, the team was saved.

And from there the championship was Jenson's, winning six out of the first seven races of the season. His dominance enabled him to pull out a significant lead, and he led the entire season to take the title with a race left to go.

Whether Button returns next year to retain his title, or Hamilton fights back to reclaim it, or even if Alonso in his new red Ferrari takes the third title of his career, Button is now a world champion, and after ten years, he thoroughly deserves it.

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