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Sport – F1;I am the champion: Jenson Button

SAO PAULO: With a British flag proclaiming ‘Great Button’ draped over his shoulders, Jenson Button stood and repeated over and over again four of the sweetest-sounding words in the English language.

“I am the champion,” the 29-year-old said, shouted and roared to anyone in earshot after making a lifelong dream come true in the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday with a fifth-place finish which he said felt like a victory. Australian Mark Webber won the race, followed by Robert Kubica and third-placed Lewis Hamilton.

The fifth-place was good enough to give Button an insurmountable 15-point lead in the drivers’ standings ahead of the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi on November 1.

“I am the world champion, baby, and I’m not going to stop saying it.

“This race for me was the best race I’ve driven in my life, probably. I know it’s because of the emotion involved with it but also because I knew I had to make it happen.”

Bawling away

He bawled “We Are The Champions” over the team radio on his slowing down lap, leaped from the car after parking up and sprinted to the pits to hug his father John, sobbing like a child, and embrace mechanics.

“I couldn’t get him off me,” said Button senior, clutching a champagne flute and gently swaying like a man in dreamland with a look of disbelief across his craggy features.

“He was like a limpet, crying his eyes out. He was just saying ‘I am world champion ’ — well, screaming it — non stop.”

The sleepless nights and inner torment, with critics accusing him of allowing the crown to slip through his fingers while others questioned whether he would be a worthy champion, were swept away.

“It’s more than relief. You don’t win the world championship and feel relief,” said the Briton, who less than a year ago had wondered whether he had a future in Formula One after Brawn’s predecessors Honda pulled out.

“This is the end of the fairytale,” he said.

“All of the bad memories and the good memories go through your mind, not just from this year but from previous years in the sport.

Stressful

“The last few races were pretty stressful for me.

“Also I read too many papers and magazines, so there were some negative comments…there’s been a lot of good stuff written about us this year as well and so there should be. This team has done staggeringly well.

“I don’t think there has been a season like it in Formula One. So it’s great to sit here as world champion and I personally think I thoroughly deserve it. I am it. I am a world champion. I’m going to keep saying that all night.”

Button revealed that he had felt physically sick after Saturday’s setback, sitting in his room as closest rival and team mate Rubens Barrichello took pole position for his home Grand Prix.

Button recognised it had been a stressful end to the season.

“I have come out on top. I am world champion. What other words can I use?,” he said. “It’s getting boring. No it’s not…I am going to enjoy this moment like you would not believe.

“You can do that when you’ve won, can’t you?”

The results: 1. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1h32:23.081; 2. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) 7.626; 3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 18.944; 4. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 19.652; 5. Jenson Button (Brawn) 29.005; 6. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 33.340; 7. Sibastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) 35.991; 8. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn) 45.454; 9. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) 48.499; 10. Kamui Kobayashi (Toyota) 1:03.324; 11. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ferrari) 1:10.665; 12. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India) 1:11.388; 13. Romain Grosjean (Renault) 1 lap; 14. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) 1 lap.

Retirements: Fernando Alonso (Renault): accident second lap; Adrian Sutil (Force India): accident second lap; Jarno Trulli (Toyota): accident second lap; Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber): accident 22nd lap; Nico Rosberg (Williams): mechanical problem 28th lap; Kazuki Nakajima (Williams): accident 31st lap.

Overall standings: Drivers’: 1. Jenson Button (GBr) 89 points; 2. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) 74; 3. Rubens Barrichello (Bra) 72; 4. Mark Webber (Aus) 61.5; 5. Lewis Hamilton (GBr) 49; 6. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) 48; 7. Nico Rosberg (Ger) 34.5; 8. Jarno Trulli (Ita) 30.5; 9. Fernando Alonso (Esp) 26; 10. Timo Glock (Ger) 24; 11. Felipe Massa (Bra) 22; 12. Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) 22; 13. Robert Kubica (Pol) 17; 14. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) 15; 15. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) 8; 16. Adrian Sutil (Ger) 5; 17. Sibastien Buemi (Sui) 5; 18. Sibastien Bourdais (Fra) 2.

Constructors’: 1. Brawn 161 points; 2. Red Bull 135.5; 3. McLaren 71; 4. Ferrari 70; 5. Toyota 54.5; 6. Williams 34.5; 7. BMW Sauber 32; 8. Renault 26; 9. Force India 13; 10. Toro Rosso 7. — Agencies

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October 20, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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