Today I will be the champion.
Cameras firing, flash guns flashing, photographers run around shouting the driver’s name.
Car 22, a fifth-place finish, an Englishman champion at Interlagos – again!
No, it’s not a flashback to 2008, it’s 2009 and Button’s the man.
The similarities with the year before are many, but in one respect this outcome is very different.
Of all the drivers in Formula 1 Jenson is perhaps the most popular, and as a result there is genuine joy up and down the pit lane at his title success.
And what a way to take the crown. Sure, the season went a bit shaky for JB after his Istanbul triumph back in June, but through it all he kept smiling (mostly), believing in himself and the team.
As with all top-line sportsmen, mental attitude is the key. There’s no doubt – as he’s manfully admitted – that Button was suffering under the weight of expectation, reading too many articles questioning his ability to get the job done.
As the soaking wet gloom of a Sao Paulo Saturday turned into night, Jenson’s mood was as depressed as the weather, the betting odds shortened on a Barrichello win, and many predicted an Abu Dhabi showdown in two weeks’ time.
They need not have bothered.
It’s as if Button had decided that today – Sunday October 18, 2009 – he would be the champion. Maybe his fitness man Mikey had had a word. Maybe his manager Richard had convinced his man to go for it, and of course his dad John is always on hand to gee-up his boy.
When a champion–elect finally grasps his crown it’s always fitting that he does so in style, and on Sunday he did just that. Pulling off incisive moves with plenty of panache and derring-do, Jenson got the job done.
For many of the photographers covering the grand prix and the post-race celebrations there was a real buzz and enjoyment to it all. Sure, it’s a bit of a fight to get the shot, but sometimes it’s a pleasure to be involved in a right good sharp-elbowed tussle with your colleagues and competitors.
When the guy on the other side of the lens is someone you like, respect and feel genuine happiness for, it makes it all worthwhile.
Good on yer, champ!