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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBtOt6RlmzQ&w=560&h=315]

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.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.