Jenson Button rebounded from an early setback at the first corner, to then bide his time before finally jumping Sebastian Vettel for the lead during a round of pit stops - and from there managing to hold off a charging Fernando Alonso in a thrilling climax to the Japanese Grand Prix.

"It was an amazing victory," said Button. "A hard race - the last five or six laps were extremely tough, I had to really look after the tyres and try to save a bit of fuel to get the car home."

Button had to back out of the first corner to avoid hitting Vettel - "otherwise there would've been an almighty shunt into turn one" - but came to see that as a good thing as the race wore on.

"Fighting back was so, so satisfying: the performance has been in the car all weekend," he said.

And it was a particularly special win for Button, who has come to love the country of Japan over his years associated with Honda and thanks to his long-time girlfriend, Jessica Michibata. "This is second only to a home victory for me," he confirmed.

Those ties meant he was especially aware of how much F1's presence at Suzuka meant to the fans, especially after the disasters that struck the country earlier in the year.

"It's such an emotional victory for me: there's so much history at this circuit, and the crowd here has been amazing," he said. "I want to thank every single person here in Japan who's supported us - hopefully we've planted a happy memory in their minds, because a lot of Japan has been through difficult times this year. We did our best and we put on a fantastic show."

McLaren's team principal Martin Whitmarsh was equally thrilled with "a great drive from Jenson" and the victory that Button had delivered to the team which he said was "incredibly well deserved."

"Obviously, those last few laps were extremely tense," he said. "We've been in the position of hunting for victory, but it's even more nerve-wracking when you're the car in front! It was a very tense but fantastic spectacle and Jenson didn't put a foot wrong. He drove with extraordinary calm."

And now Button and Whitmarsh are both looking forward to trying to beat Red Bull and the newly crowned 2011 world champion Sebastian Vettel all over again next weekend.

"For all of us at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, our ambition is undimmed," said Whitmarsh. "We'll be aiming to win all the remaining races, starting with Korea."