Debut & Williams (2000)
Jenson’s breakthrough into Formula 1 came in 2000 when he made his debut for Williams and achieved the accolade of being the youngest ever Brit to score a world championship point in only his second race for the team. He ended his debut season with 8th place in the drivers championship with 12 points.
Bennetton & Renault (2001-2002)
2001 saw him move to Benetton where the highs of his debut season were replaced with the crashing reality of an unreliable and uncompetitive car, leaving Jenson 17th in the championship after scoring only 2 points all year. He stayed with the team in 2002 as it evolved into Renault and scored in 7 races and finishing seventh in the championship.
2003 once again saw Jenson move teams, this time to BAR, where he regularly out performed his team mate, the former world champion Jacques Villeneuve. 2004 was by far Jenson’s best season to date, with 10 podium finishes he managed to finish third in the Driver’s Championship with 85 points and only the Ferrari’s ahead of him.
2005 was again back to the hard times for Jenson, the promise shown in 2004 had gone and it wasn’t until the 10th race of the season that Jenson managed to get his first points of the season. Although Jenson did have a strong finish to the end of the season, the early disqualification and subsequent two race ban for having a car under the weight limit made 2005 a year to forget.
One of the things Jenson is probably best known for his contractual controversies during 04 & 05 as to whether he would be a Williams or Honda driver. In the end a speculated £10 million was paid by Jenson to remain at Honda for 2006. It was finally at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix and after 114 starts that Jenson Button managed to win his first grand prix. Although for the last 6 races of the 2006 season Jenson was the highest point scorer of anyone. He ended up 6th in the drivers championship with 56 points.
2007 would force Jenson to once again endure a torrid season with a car that he had hoped would help him battle for the title, it instead had difficultly keeping up with the Spykers! Described as ‘undriveable’ and ‘devoid of any straight line speed’, Jenson was relegated to the back of the grid, where parking it and becoming a spectator must have been more appealing than carrying on racing. His hopes quickly became pinned on the 2008 car and let’s face it, it couldn’t have been any worse than the 07 car.
Although 2008 was a dramatic improvement on 2007, the car and team were still firmly locked in and amongst the back markers. A 6th place finish at the Spanish GP proved to be Jenson's only point scoring result all year. What was even worse was his team mate Barrichello enjoyed much better results, including a podium finish at the British GP.
As if things couldn't get any worse for Jenson in early December of 2008 Honda announced that they would be withdrawing from Formula 1 due to the growing economic crisis.
Brawn GP (2009) – His Championship Year
2009 would prove to be the break through year Jenson had been waiting for. After spending most of the winter wondering whether he would have a car to drive next season, he arrived in Melbourne for the first round with the fastest and comfortably took pole and the race win. Only the second of his career. He repeated this at the rain socked Malaysian GP and took an early lead in the championship.
Jenson’s sensational start continued winning four races on the trot from Bahrain to Turkey, making his start one of the all time greatest starts to a season in F1. Winning 6 out of the first 7 races is a feat only equalled by Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher.
However after Turkey Button began to struggle after a revived Red Bull challenge. Although he had a comfortable lead in the championship his competition started to rack up stronger results. His first DNF and only DNF came at the Belgium GP after a poor qualifying he was hit from behind by Renault newbie Romain Grosjran in a multi car first lap crash.
Although he didn’t win another race that season, consistent points finishes allowed the Brit to claim his first ever World Championship in Brazil. With 6 races wins, 9 podiums and 95 points.
Yet after securing the Drivers title and help Brawn to win the Constructors Championship, the team failed to resign Button. It was announced late on in 2009 that in a shock move Button would move to McLaren for 2010 to form an all British line-up with Lewis Hamilton.
Jenson tweets at http://twitter.com/The_Real_JB.