Formula 1 World Championship leader Jenson Button has suggested that Brawn GP's incredible phoenix from the flames-like comeback will go down as one of the most remarkable stories in the top flight's long history.
Another flawless drive to triumph in the prestigious and coveted Monaco Grand Prix at the weekend means Button has now prevailed in five of the opening six races of the 2009 campaign, and heads to the next outing in Turkey with a 16-point advantage in the title standings.
If his Melbourne victory had meant a lot given that it was Brawn's first, and the subsequent Sepang victory had meant perhaps even more because it proved that the Australian success had been no flash in the pan, then the British star – now firm favourite to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Lewis Hamilton in lifting the laurels at season's end – admitted that glory around the narrow, tortuous streets of Monte Carlo was something else again.
“I said before the weekend that this race wouldn't mean anything more to me than any other if I won it,” he reflected afterwards. “[That was a] bit of a lie really, but I was just trying to take a bit of pressure off myself. It is very special winning here. It is a completely different circuit to any [other] that we race on. If you are quick in Barcelona you are quick on many circuits, [but] this is just different and to win here is a great feeling.
“The last 15 laps were tough, as when you lose a little bit of concentration anything can happen – it is not that you are not thinking about driving, but there is a part of your mind that is thinking about something else – but the last two laps were the most enjoyable laps of my career, I would say. I could just enjoy the moment. I had a big enough lead and I could just enjoy winning Monaco. It is something you always dream about as a kid. You watch it on television and you think it is an amazing spectacle, but actually driving in it and winning it is just fantastic. I am very happy.
“I struggled at the start of the weekend; we started off with a car that I was not happy in at all, but we worked with it, the engineers did a great job and the car performed very well in qualifying and the race. For me that makes it even better to come away with the victory. I am just enjoying this moment, as the whole team should be. Every win is great, but I think for the whole team – and I think everyone in Formula 1 – you want to win in Monaco and you want to win your home grand prix. In a way this is both for me.
“It was an exceptional weekend, I think, for myself and also for Brawn and Rubens [Barrichello – team-mate]. A one-two finish for Brawn is exceptional. It has been staggering. It is a great moment the boys; they are all going to be very emotional, so well done to them. This will definitely go down in history – the performance of the team this year and a new team winning in Monaco. It's a great feeling – winning here is very special. I won in Monaco. That's a special feeling that will last for quite a while, I think.”
If he ultimately took the chequered flag almost eight seconds clear of Barrichello in the sister car – having at one stage held a lead of some 16 seconds, before backing off in the closing stages – then it was not all plain sailing for Button in the glamorous Principality, where in seven previous outings he had only once finished inside the points, in second position for BAR-Honda back in 2004.
The Brazilian certainly put him under pressure in the early laps – indeed looking to be the pacier of the two before his 'super-soft' tyres faded – but from thereon in it was the Frome-born ace who assumed control, in much the same manner as he had done in Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain and Spain. If only he had remembered where to park his car when he got to the end of the race...