If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again. Somebody must have drummed that into Jenson Button, who took the 2009 Formula One World Driver's Championship this weekend.
It’s taken him nearly 10 years to get to the top, at least eight years more than the hype portended, but Jenson Button finally did it. It took him six years to win his first race, driving a Honda, after 113 attempts. What does this say about money, the way Formula One is run, and the disparate qualities of cars and teams? If Tiger Woods had taken that long to win a major, one suspects he would have ended up working on Wall Street instead. And consistent with the golfing metaphor, Button was once touted as the next big thing, but was more like Colin Montgomerie, as the biggest talent never to win a major. Now he’s done it, has the man at last been matched with the car?
Before winning the title, he drove for Williams, Benetton, Renault, BAR and Honda in quick succession, before a management buyout at Brawn gave him a drive in a Mercedes-powered car. He went on to win six out of seven races in a row, equalling the feats of Michael Schumacher and Jim Clark. The only constant in this career may be Button’s consistency. And now that he has a car to fit, his winning the title is perhaps less amazing, despite coming in 15th in 2007 and 18th in 2008. In stock market terms, he has improved 1,700% over the past year, making him a definite “Buy”. Only next year will show whether he will at last fulfil his promise, or whether he is a one hit wonder. But after 10 years Button may have finally lived up to his slicks.