The rendition of We are the Champions that Jenson Button screeched to his team as he finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in fifth place to become the 2009 World Champion would have had Queen wincing; such was the combined effect of exultation and disbelief that played through in his croaky voice.
It came after an altogether more assured performance from the 29-year-old as he clawed his way from fourteenth on the grid to fifth, courtesy of some breathtaking passing manoeuvres under pressure, a searing pace when he needed it, and a little bit of champion’s luck, to become the tenth Briton to win the world championship – joining Mike Hawthorne, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Lewis Hamilton in the history books.
Button’s critics will no doubt point to the second half of the 2009 season – where having won six of the first seven races he began to race more conservatively losing points to the on-form Barrichello – as reason to question his place alongside the aforementioned greats.
But it was precisely that controlled aggression that had proved so pivotal in the second half of his campaign that enabled him to triumph in Sau Paulo where all around him others were falling off the track.
Rubens Barrichello’s title hopes were dashed by a puncture with just eight laps remaining, but by that time Button, who started fourteenth, had already clawed his way into sixth place.
Mark Webber took the race victory for Red Bull ahead of BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica and the strong pace from these two drivers pulled the trigger on Barrichello’s title dreams as the Brazilian faded in the second half of the race.
More to follow shortly.