Jenson Button has revealed that off the back of a brace of victories from the opening four grands prix of F1 2010, he is having 'the best time of his life' – and fully justifying his status as defending world champion after many had written him off even before the campaign began.
Contrary to all pre-season predictions, returning to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona early next month, Button once again leads the standings, just as he did this time twelve months ago. The British star is the only double-winner of the year to-date – courtesy of his inspired tactical triumphs in both Australia and China – and, perhaps even more unexpectedly still, has out-qualified his esteemed McLaren-Mercedes team-mate and title-winning predecessor Lewis Hamilton 3-1 and outscored him by 60 points to 49.
The same Lewis Hamilton, that is, who most had suggested would blow his compatriot away if not indeed serve Button up for breakfast for having had the brazen audacity to enter his
team in the belief that he could successfully challenge him.
That, though, is precisely what the Frome-born ace has done and then some thus far – and as he coolly and calmly called all the right shots in tricky circumstances both in Melbourne and Shanghai, it was indeed his countryman who looked ragged and out-of-sorts, with off-track indiscretions and on-track controversy blighting his efforts and letting Button steal all of the limelight.
“This is the best time of my life, no doubt,” the 30-year-old told the Daily Mirror
. “You can write that as big as you want! I'm the world champion and I've got the confidence that brings. I'm driving like a world champion. Last year was amazing; the experience of winning six races and fighting for the championship was very special. It was always my target and I've won it now.
“I told my physio, Mike Collier, before the  season that I would be happy if I won two of the first four races. I think his reply was: 'Idiot! But at least you're being positive.' I won three of the first four last year and now two out of four this season – that's not a bad position to be in. Whatever happens in my career at McLaren now, I think I've had a lot of fun already.
“I also know it's not going to be a walk in the park for the next 15 races. Every race we go to, it's going to be tough. It's not like last year when in the first three races we had a better car than everyone else. We're chasing down the Red Bulls but we're leading the championship, so it's quite weird.”
Admiringly describing Hamilton as being 'like a pit bull' for his aggressive and determined charges up through the order in Australia, Malaysia and China, Button admitted that he loves 'having a team-mate who's like that' and insisted that 'we are going to be pushing each other very hard this year – that's what I live for'. As to his doubters, meanwhile, he opined that perhaps they should have had the sense to wait a little longer before judging him.
“Sometimes we should sit back and watch and enjoy instead of speaking out aloud too much,” the nine-time grand prix-winner told The Guardian
. “[The predictions] might be true in the future – you never know, I don't know – but I feel happy with what's happening now.”