F1 Flashback: Jenson Button becomes world champion

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Four years ago today, one of the greatest fairytales in the history of Formula One was completed as Jenson Button became world champion at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Briton may now be one of the best drivers in the sport, but his career had largely been a case of “close but not close enough” until 2009. Having finished third in the championship with BAR in 2004, Button claimed his maiden grand prix victory in 2006 when the team became Honda. However, the team’s formed nosedived in 2007 and 2008, prompting the Japanese manufacturer to withdraw ahead of the 2009 season.

The team was rescued by Ross Brawn and subsequently rebranded Brawn GP for the 2009 season. With a raft of regulation changes, the car had been in development for two years and was immediately a success. Button won six of the opening seven races to enjoy a healthy lead in the championship, but a downturn in fortunes meant that he was soon under pressure from teammate Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (who had just four career victories to his name at this point).

However, come the Brazilian Grand Prix, Button had the chance to become the second successive British world champion following Lewis Hamilton’s success in 2008. Despite qualifying down in fourteenth, the Brawn driver managed to fight his way through the field to finish fifth and clinch the title.

Upon crossing the line, Button broke into a rather muffled rendition of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” as he capped off a memorable season.

In 2010, Brawn became Mercedes’ works team that still competes to this day, whilst Button secured a move to McLaren with whom he has won eight races and came second in the 2011 drivers’ championship.

Verstappen picks illegal Raikkonen pass as favorite F1 2017 overtake

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Max Verstappen has picked his illegal pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix as his favorite overtake of the Formula 1 season.

Verstappen was one of F1’s most prolific passers through 2017, making 22 overtaking moves as per Pirelli’s end of year data.

When asked to pick out his favorite in a post-season interview on his official website, Verstappen picked his bold move on Raikkonen at the Circuit of The Americas that sparked controversy when he was penalized for completing the overtake off-track.

The Red Bull driver had charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third, only for a five-second time penalty to deny him a podium and drop him to fourth in a snap call made before the post-race ceremony.

“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move.’ But when you look at the rules, it was not correct,” Verstappen said.

“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalized for it. But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap.

“It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result.

“It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”

Asked if it was his best move of the year, Verstappen said: “Yes, because this year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes.

“With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights, which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”