Jenson Button is finally fulfilling the potential of his huge talent. A prodigy on the karting circuit, Button became the youngest Briton ever in Formula One when he signed for Williams in 2000 but it was not until his spell with Honda BAR and now Brawn that he has matured into the driver everyone knew he could be, starting the 2009 season in fantastic form.
A colourful character, Button was sometimes known as much for his off-track behaviour as his racing skills. That has all changed in recent years with Button reaping the rewards of a more focused approach. In 2004 he finished third in the drivers' championship with the ever-improving BAR team, his highest finish to date. In 2005 he put his career above his bank balance to buy himself out of his contract with Williams and continue to race for BAR.
One year later came the moment Button had been waiting for his entire career – his first grand prix win. And what a win it was. Penalised for an engine change during qualifying, Button started the race in a lowly 14th place on the grid. In difficult wet conditions, the Englishman took the initiative from the start, adapting better to the heavy rain than his competitors and by the tenth lap he had eased his way up to fourth place. As more drivers dropped out he was soon up to second.
With conditions improving, Fernando Alonso took a pit-stop to change to dry tyres and Button took his chance and seized the lead. With the Spaniard chasing hard on his heels in the closing stages his Renault was forced into retirement and Button had a clear run to take the chequered flag.
Plagued by technical problems, BAR's form dropped off in the next seasons and at the end of the 2008 campaign Honda withdrew its funding of the team. Things were looking bleak for Button until Ross Brawn took over and the new season started with the new Brawn GP team immediately proving a major player. Button and team-mate Rubens Barrichello gave the team a debut 1-2 finish in the Australian Grand Prix with the Englishman taking first place.
He would go on to win two out of the next three races as well to put himself and Brawn in a commanding position in the drivers' and constructors' championships. After just four races the 2009 season was already Button's best in Formula One and there should be even better to come for the late-blossoming Briton.