JENSON BUTTON is the brand new face of Sky Sports’ all-singing, all-dancing Formula 1 coverage.
He began his role anchoring the sport’s TV coverage with the presentation of the traditional curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix.
Wind the clock back 10 years ago this month and the man currently in front of the camera was the star of the sport.
His shock victory in the opening race of the 2009 season was just his second in 154 races.
The success in Melbourne was made all the more remarkable given that his team, Brawn GP, were making their debut.
Team Owner Ross Brawn had bought out Honda Racing F1 in the build-up to the new season and, despite having Button and experienced F1 driver Rubens Barrichello in situ, not too much was expected of the hastily-arranged set-up.
It’s been a traumatic few months for all of us. I can’t say how tough it has been, so I’ve got to say thank you to the whole team. This is a fairytale ending to the first race of our career together.Jenson Button
Nevertheless, Button and his Brazilian team-mate belied the lack of preparation on the opening day and stormed home to lead Brawn to a stunning one-two victory.
Button had started on pole and made a clean start, experiencing minimal threats to his lead over the 58 laps.
His victory was made all the sweeter thanks to Barrichello’s surge into second spot.
This gave Brawn a one-two – the first clean sweep for a debuting team since Mercedes-Benz had achieved the same feat in 1954.
Button beamed afterwards: “It’s been a traumatic few months for all of us. I can’t say how tough it has been, so I’ve got to say thank you to the whole team. This is a fairytale ending to the first race of our career together. I know we’re going to fight to keep this car competitive.”
Button certainly stayed true to his word.
That maiden victory Down Under proved the catalyst for a successful and largely unexpected campaign for the sport’s newest team.
Button’s form and momentum carried him to six wins from the opening seven races where he quickly built a healthy buffer over his nearest challengers.
Many believe that his early dominance was down to a controversial diffuser design which gave the teams using it an advantage over those that did not.
Ultimately it was deemed not to be illegal and other teams soon followed suit, which impacted upon Button’s advantage.
He would go on to achieve just two more podium finishes – second in Italy and third in Abu Dhabi.
But he still comfortably clinched his one and only F1 title with a race to spare.