Jenson Button has described his Australian Grand Prix triumph as 'a fairytale ending' after a 'traumatic few months' for Brawn GP during which the whole team had lived through a veritable rollercoaster of emotions – as the British star sealed his second Formula 1 victory on an historic day for the sport.
In a race full of incident, Button led home long-time team-mate and friend Rubens Barrichello to prove to the cynics that the ex-Honda outfit's scintillating testing pace had been very real, with a lights to chequered flag success that marked the former Hungarian Grand Prix winner's first trip to the top of the podium in more than 40 races – and made Brawn GP the first team since, appropriately enough, current engine-supplier Mercedes-Benz more than half a century ago to secure a one-two finish on its maiden appearance.
What's more, the result has indubitably re-ignited the career of a driver that – after two years of scraping around towards the back of the pack in uncompetitive cars – looked to have permanently stalled. Jenson Button is back – and back with a vengeance.
“What an amazing day!” the 29-year-old enthused afterwards. “This is just a fairytale ending to the first race of our career together at Brawn GP. This win is for me, my family and my team. It's been a traumatic few months and I want to say a massive thank you to them all for being so strong and never losing belief.
“We're going to enjoy this moment, and I'm sure there's a lot of telephone calls being made back home by people working in the team to their families. I've got to say thank you to everyone in the team and their families for putting up with us lot over the winter, because I'm sure we've been very grumpy!
“This weekend we have achieved everything that we deserve for all of our hard work over the past few months. It's like yesterday (when he had qualified on pole position – his first since Melbourne in 2006), but times by 100! We've had it tough – I know I keep saying it, but it's the truth – and we deserve this. Hopefully this is the first of many.”
It was, indeed, an incredible outcome – and one that fully vindicated both the Brackley-based concern's decision to abandon development of its recalcitrant 2008 machine early on last year to focus its full attention on its 2009 successor, and the new rules brought in by governing body the FIA in an attempt to shake things up a bit. If he had made it look relatively easy to the outside world, however, Button was adamant that it had been far from straightforward inside the cockpit.
“It may have looked like an easy victory being in front,” he reflected, “but it really wasn't easy at all out there today. We brought the car home, though, and that's all that matters. It would have been a lot easier [without the safety car interventions]; it was tough, and I really struggled to get heat into the tyres. I think one of the issues was obviously the tyre temperature at the re-starts – it is quite cool here – and I made a mistake in the second pit-stop.
“I think we're running the car quite low, so I was hitting the ground when the re-start came and I flat-spotted the front left. It was square after that, so with the dim light and the vibrations I couldn't see anything when I was driving round. I especially couldn't see my pit board, so I didn't know how quick I was going!”