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Button's reputation boosted more by start of 2010 than whole of 2009

Defending world champion he may be, but Jenson Button has nonetheless arguably been the surprise of F1 2010 thus far - with the McLaren-Mercedes star's impressive start to the campaign doing more for his reputation than his title-winning charge last year, argue observers
His performances over the opening four grands prix of F1 2010 have done more for Jenson Button's reputation than the whole of his 2009 world championship-winning charge, argues David Coulthard – with BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz adding that the nine-time grand prix-winner is 'different' both as a driver and as a man this year.

The only multiple winner of the season to-date – following brilliantly calculated, tactical and downright gutsy victories in Australia and China – Button heads back to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix and the beginning of the European leg of the campaign atop the drivers' standings, much as he did this time twelve months ago.

Not only that, but the British star has out-qualified his McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton three-one, out-witted his compatriot more often than not and defied all the cynics who only a matter of weeks ago had predicted that he would be gobbled up for breakfast by his title-winning predecessor. Now, indeed, it is those very same detractors who are being forced to gobble up their own words.

“I am fully aware that what I am about to say may come back to bite me, but here it is anyway – I told you so,” wrote Button's former rival, friend and 13-time grand prix-winner turned BBC F1 pundit David Coulthard in his regular blog for The Daily Telegraph. “Dismissed by 90 per cent of fans prior to the start of the season, his performances this year have done more for his credibility than the entire 2009 championship-winning season put together.

“Then he was told he was only winning because of his Brawn machine. Now what can they say? That he has been lucky with the weather? The fact is, Jenson has proved he can handle the pressure of moving to a big team – alongside a world champion – and still do his thing. What we are seeing right now is a mature, confident driver – one who has experienced the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs – at peace with himself.”

Those sentiments are echoed by BBC F1 colleague Kravitz, who agrees that with the burden of still needing to prove himself having finally been lifted from his shoulders by dint of clinching the crown last year, the Frome-born ace is now more relaxed and confident – and as such even more the complete package than ever before.

“Certainly, Button's skill and application have come as a pleasant surprise to the McLaren team,” the Englishman wrote on his blog. “We spoke to chief engineer Phil Prew after the race [in Shanghai] and he admitted that, before the season, he would not have expected Button to have won half of the first four races for his new team.

“Bear in mind that Prew has been Lewis Hamilton's engineer ever since the youngster burst into F1 in 2007 and knows how good Hamilton is, so his regard for Button's driving carries considerable weight. In many respects, we're seeing a different Jenson Button this season, both in and out of the car.

“He's relaxed, brimming with confidence and secure in the knowledge he's with a solid team, whose car is not only quicker than the Brawn/Mercedes team he left, but who can also develop that package into the summer months and make it a true challenger to Red Bull on dry pace, rather than just a wet-weather wonder.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jenson Button (GBR) Honda RA108, David Coulthard (GBR) Reb Bull RB4, Turkish F1, Istanbul Park, 9th-11th May, 2008
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Podium: 1st Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25, 2nd Robert Kubica (POL) Renault R30, 3rd Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F10
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Esteban Gutierrez joins Ferrari as test and reserve driver
F1 veteran David Coulthard wins Race of Champions
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso and Ron Dennis at McLaren
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button alongside Kevin Magnussen. Pic credit: McLaren
McLaren confirms Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso

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Rozza - Unregistered

April 26, 2010 1:31 PM

When Schumi won in the rain, he was hailed as a genius, and proclaimed the "Rainmaster". He generally relied on good calls from Ross Brawn, but everyone celebrated the great relationship. When Button wins in the rain he's considered lucky, even when he makes the calls by himself. Hardly seems fair does it?

stevyweavy - Unregistered

April 26, 2010 1:06 PM

Don't understand why so many "British" people have the daggers out for a British world champion. Hamilton is already admitting he has underestimated Button and is keen to pick up some tips from Button. He has won 2 out of 4 races, he has out qualified Hamilton 3 - 1. Who cares if he is the best driver in the world just be pleased we have a British driver driving for a British team at the top of F1. What ever he is doing right now he is doing better than anyone else and this year he does not have the best car in the field as he did the start of last year. He might not win the world championship again this year, Hamilton may be a better driver than him, but right now he is top dog. Well done!



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