Mark Webber insists that Jenson Button emerged from the Brazilian GP as a worthy winner of the F1 title, but has warned Brawn GP that his own Red Bull Racing team has its eye on the big prize next year.
While Webber secured his second victory of the season at Interlagos, Button was able to come through the field to finish fifth and pick up enough points to put himself out of reach of Brawn partner Rubens Barrichello and Webber's Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the standings.
Brawn also put themselves out of reach of Red Bull in the constructors' championship with one race still remaining in Abu Dhabi and Webber added his name to the list of people praising Button and the Brackley-based squad for its success.
“Jenson has driven well all season and his championship-winning race in Brazil was further testament to that,” the Australian wrote in his column for BBC Sport
. “He just nailed it. It was exactly the drive that he wanted and needed, especially after a disappointing qualifying performance put him under even more pressure on Sunday. But he delivered very well, so all credit to him. The scoreboard never lies. He has got the most points and he is the champion. He is a deserving champion too - if he doesn't deserve it then I don't know who else does.
“I am also pleased for Ross Brawn. I know Ross reasonably well and he is clearly a benchmark for a lot of people in Formula 1. He is a great competitor and has been involved in a lot of successful operations. He knows the industry well and knows what he needs to do to get results. All credit to him and what he has done - he is a special guy for motorsport.
“I think you learn a lot in life and in F1 through adversity, and all of the guys at Brawn have certainly been through a fair bit of that.”
Webber himself had been in contention for the title this season until a poor run of results late on in the year saw him drop out of contention, although the Australian heads for the Abu Dhabi finale having at least made the breakthrough as a race winner this year.
While he admitted there was some disappointment at the way in which his own challenge had faded away, Webber vowed to emerge stronger in 2010 and fight for a maiden championship crown.
“I am disappointed that my championship bid faded, but as always you need to put a whole season together,” he said. “We had a non-points scoring finish in Melbourne and a couple of ninth-place finishes in Valencia and Spa, where we got a drive-through penalty. Lots of little things turn into big things and that is how you lose a championship.
“The biggest lesson I have learnt from this season is you need to cut out the little things. You need to make each session count and really put it together across the season. Okay I am not 21, but I am not 40 either, so all of this will help me going forward into next year.
“Our hope for 2010 has to be to go for the championships. There is only one more position that this team can get, so that is what we have to aim for. We need to keep improving.”