It may not seen like it but there once was a time in Formula 1 when Sebastian Vettel did not win every year. Huge credit must go to the German for his sheer consistency, but in between him and Michael Schumacher before him there were a host of drivers who could have been world champion.
One of those was Jenson Button. It was surprising, given that in the 155 grands prix he had entered before the start of the 2009 season he had won just one. Nevertheless, on this day in 2009 Button wrapped up his maiden championship win.
Before the 2009 season - the last that was won by anyone other than Vettel - Button's race seat was in question. His previous team Honda left Formula 1 at the end of 2008 and Button had few offers forthcoming. Fortunately for him, however, Honda team principal Ross Brawn bought out his old company and turned them into Brawn GP. He wanted Button as his main man.
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The Brit had Rubens Barrichello as his teammate and not many would have predicted the start that new team Brawn would get off to. Brawn had brought in Mercedes engines and the car was rapid from day one in practice and Button took it to pole in the Australian Grand Prix, with Barrichello a close second.
This start in qualifying translated to a 1-2 in the race, with Button leading from his teammate from start to finish. He followed this up with the exact same result in the next Grand Prix in Malaysia and had gone from one race win in 155 to three in 157. For Brawn, it was the first time a new constructor had won their first two races since 1950. Could anyone stop Brawn and Button? After the first handful of races, it was looking unlikely.
Button's brilliant start continued, but there was the slightest hiccup at the Chinese Grand Prix. The Brazilian qualified in pole, ahead of Button for the first time but they both - Button third and Barrichello fourth - finished behind the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber; an omen of things to come in the sport.
It was victory after victory following the China slip-up for Button as he claimed maximum points from the next four races. He now had a huge lead on his title rivals with 10 races to go, and it was just as well as he failed to win for the rest of the season.
What was vital for him was that even without winning he still managed to pick up important points for good finishes, which kept his head above water in the race for the championship. By Brazil, the penultimate race of 2009, his closest challenger was Barrichello who had managed pole on his home track while Button was 14th.
Through grit to pull himself up to finish fifth in the race and no shortage of luck - Barrichello suffered a puncture that saw him slip down the field - Button had done enough to take the victory and his first (and only, to date) world championship title. Since then it has been Vettel all the way and he is about to wrap up his fourth title in a row, but perhaps the sport will return to being unpredictable once more.