Sunday was pay-back time for Jenson Button. Many dismissed him as a chance world champion in Formula One racing, as a driver who would struggle to repeat his success and one who would play second fiddle to his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton after joining the team from Brawn GP.
But on Sunday, Button became the first driver of the season to win two races and also moved to the top of the drivers’ standings with 60 points — ten more than second-placed Nico Rosberg in a Mercedes.
More importantly though, Button has managed to convince those who doubted that he had the talent and skill to compete at the very top.
“It is not luck that took us to the top,” he said after winning the Chinese Grand Prix. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: “He drove like the world champion that he is.” Former world champion Niki Lauda also heaped praise on Button, whose first season victory was in Australia.
“The most intelligent and the fastest driver won,” the Austrian said.
The 30-year-old from Frome in south England was long considered as a talented driver who never really showed what he should be capable of.
Last season his surprising world championship was the result of the Brawn car, which was streaks ahead of all others, his doubters said.
But after his surprising move to McLaren, Button has shown that he will also be a force to be reckoned with this season.
“We still do not know how good we are in dry conditions, but we will forget that for the time being. We proved that our car is very fast over the whole race distance,” Button said.
His race on Sunday showed quite clearly that he will not give up his title without a fight.