After all the penalties had been applied, Button lined up 14th on a rain-soaked grid (the first in Hungarian GP history) for his 113th race start. What followed was a masterclass in managing the miserable conditions from the 26-year-old. Using his revered smooth style and tactical nous he carved his way up the order, running in the lead pack within seven laps.
Reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso had also battled his way to the front, from one slot behind Button, and looked to have things in control for Renault once polesitter and erstwhile leader Kimi Raikkonen had crashed his McLaren.
However, when the Spaniard spun into the barriers with a lose right-rear wheel, Button took over at the front and reeled off the remaining 20 laps to finally secure a win at motorsport’s highest level. He was joined on the podium by first-time visitor Pedro de la Rosa, the Spaniard bringing his McLaren home half a minute adrift, and German Nick Heidfeld, who gave BMW Sauber its first top-three finish.
After almost 10 years, 14 more wins (including the 2011 Hungarian GP, his 200th start) for Brawn and McLaren, the 2009 Drivers’ title and another 181 Grand Prix starts, Jenson Button remains one of Formula 1’s – and British motorsport’s – greatest assets.
Photography courtesy of LAT