October 20th, 2009
06:07 PM ET

Button shows that nice guys can win

So, nice guys can finish first after all. Jenson Button’s rise to the top of the pile in Formula One having provided the sport with its second straight British world champion and 10th British winner over all.

Jenson Button's F1 world title has proved that nice guys can come first in competitive sport.
Jenson Button's F1 world title has proved that nice guys can come first in competitive sport.

And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, except perhaps his Brawn GP team-mate Rubens Barrichello who, despite the disappointment of failing to win his debut world championship, was fulsome in his praise of his younger colleague and even loaned Button his private jet so that he could stay longer in Brazil to celebrate. What a guy!

But then it’s been obvious for most of the season that there is no “side” to either of the Brawn drivers.

Both are wholehearted competitors. Both dealt graciously with being number-two at previous teams –Button at Williams, Benetton, Renault, and BAR; and Barrichello at Ferrari; and both have conducted themselves without apparent ego or tantrums throughout this scandal-ridden season in which they've been treated by Brawn as equals.

As a result, I doubt there’s anyone out there who begrudges Button the ultimate success. Not even those who believe that he’d not have won the title if it hadn’t been for the rear-diffuser advantage the Brawn’s enjoyed at the start of the season that helped him win six of the first seven races. He didn't make the rules after all.

No, Button is cynic-proof. A genuine “Aw shucks” type champion that you just have to like.

Branded as an unfocussed underachiever after he failed to justify the hype that greeted his early days in the sport, he’s plugged away, without taking himself too seriously, and can now legitimately ask his critics, “How do you like me now?”

But, to my knowledge, he hasn't done that, preferring instead to modestly enjoy the applause, notably from a British public that's always loved his boyish charm, while re-committing himself Brawn GP, should they want him, despite the prospect of bigger and better offers.

Like I said at the beginning, this is a genuinely nice guy. And while nice isn't "sexy", it may be just what this troubled sport needs to get it back on the right track.

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Filed under:  Motorsport
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Wilson

    Well earned, well deserved Championship! As a Brazilian fan dealing with lots of disappointments this season, his win pleased me greatly! This is sure a feel good story to Formula 1 fans! Congrats Button!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  2. Marcos - Brazil

    Those who know Rubens know that he is really a kind and generous guy. In a world of fake and vain celebrities, this is rare.
    Congratulations to Button, and we hope Rubens gets his well deserved title next year.

    October 20, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  3. Giancarlo Bonanno

    I am always so surprised that the Driver gets all the applause and praise, however Ross Brawn is the Man, who must be given all the credit and be lauded, becasue without his foresight and vision Button would have been driving a brick.

    WELL DONE ROSS.

    October 21, 2009 at 4:27 am | Reply
  4. Joao Manikan

    Congratulations to Ross Brawn! The champion maker!

    October 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  5. TEMG

    I have long thought that Jenson Button could be the champion if things would fall into place. It seems as though they have. He and his teammate always demonstrate grace and class. They are a credit to the sport.

    October 21, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  6. Tomsk

    It does not deserve to be a Formula 1 wold champion. Massa or even Barichelo are much better drivers....it was themost boring championship ever

    October 21, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  7. marie

    Although, I am a Ferrari and a Felipe Massa fan, I love Jenson Button's journey towards this year's championship...he drove for almost nothing, and for that he was rewarded handsomely for it "We are the Champions" indeed.

    October 23, 2009 at 11:49 am | Reply
  8. jc

    button is a good champion not a great champion.he was very poor in the second half of the season

    October 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  9. EmilHegle

    Button is a deserving champion, and nobody drove better this year! I have no idea how you define good or great champion, but Button has done a fantastic job, and even was not 100% brilliant in the second part he lost nothing to others as they were not particulary shiny as well. Massa is better? Barichello? it is all statements which have no grounds – Jenson is a World Champion, and only this makes sence!!!!

    October 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  10. Javier

    He totally deserves it. He did his homework early on in the season, what's wrong with that? It's like when you're a kid and they tell you to do your homework on friday afternoon rather than sunday night.

    October 25, 2009 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  11. peter russell ter poorten

    Well done Jenson!! And well done Rubens for a fair and competitive Brawn season.

    October 29, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Reply

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