On this day in 2009: Jenson Button crowned Formula One world champion in Brazil

By Sports Desk October 18, 2023

Jenson Button won the Formula One world title on this day in 2009 after a fifth-place finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

A combination of brilliant driving and dramatic incidents saw the Brawn GP driver elevated into fifth spot at Interlagos, while rivals Sebastian Vettel and Rubens Barrichello finished fourth and eighth, respectively.

That left Button with a 15-point cushion over Vettel, with Barrichello two points further back with just one race remaining.

He became the 10th British driver to win the top prize in motor racing, inheriting the crown from compatriot Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion.

The 29-year-old Button may not have wrapped it up in the way he would have liked, having won six of the first seven races of the season, but his Brawn team also claimed the constructors’ title just over 10 months after they appeared to be on the scrapheap when Honda pulled out of the sport.

The tears and the champagne flowed at the end of 71 laps, with Button’s father John admitting he and his son “cried like babies” when they
embraced each other after the race.

“You don’t win the world championship and feel relief, you feel ecstatic,” Jenson Button said.

“All the memories, good and bad, go through your mind, not just from this year, but previous years in the sport, especially this year.

“I had such a great start to the season and then the last few races were pretty stressful for me because the pace was there, but we struggled a few times.

“This team has done staggeringly well and what we’ve achieved this season after the winter we’ve had is exceptional, and I don’t think there has been a season like it in Formula One.

“It’s great to be sat here as world champion and I personally think I thoroughly deserve it. I’ve been the best over 16 races and that’s what world titles are all about.”

Button completed the 2009 season with a third-place finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix two weeks later, finishing 11 points clear of Vettel.

He moved to McLaren the following season and was runner-up to Vettel in the 2011 title race. He retired from F1 in 2017.

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