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GP Week : Issue 72
AWARDS >> s selected by Will Buxton From staring unemployment in the face to being crowned world champion, all in the space of a year, it's been a pretty incredible season for Jenson Button. Of course people will say he had the advantage of by the far the best car on the grid, and that over the second half of the year he very nearly threw it all away. But the simple fact is that over the course of 17 races he scored more points than any other driver and in so doing became Formula 1 World Champion. There are many who wish to deny Jenson his moment in the sun, to claim he doesn't deserve his title. To do so would be to overlook some truly staggering drives. His race wins in Melbourne, Bahrain, and especially Monaco were a joy to behold. Sure he had a mid-season slump, but ironically his lack of pace at the cooler tracks had, at its core, his incredibly smooth driving style. But even though that second half of the season wasn't as good as Button would have wished, he scored in every 2009 race but one. His consistency was stunning.Button is the world champion, and a deserved one at that. 3 -- Jenson Button Too close to call between the two men who played second ddle to their team- mates in the 2009 championship battle, Webber and Barrichello both had stand out moments in 2009 but were too inconsistent to realistically challenge for top honours. That Mark Webber was even racing in 2009 was nothing short of a miracle following his off-season argument with a 4x4 on his Tasmania challenge. He walked with a limp all year but drove like a demon, seeming to have come back from his injury with a renewed vigour and enormous set of kahunas. In wheel to wheel combat, it was a new Webber who showed up to the 2009 party. The emotion in his usually calm voice on taking his first win was telling, and with two wins to his name this year he'll be hoping for more in 2010. Rubens Barrichello is now the most experienced driver in F1 history, but in 2009 came closer than ever to taking the championship. It was in the early part of the season when his team-mate was winning everything that Barrichello let himself down though. He simply wasn't anywhere near consistent enough. He accused the team of favouritism towards Button, but when he put his head down he shone. Wins in Valencia and Italy showed he's still got it and a Williams contract for 2010 is a reflection that of how valuable a talent he still is. 4 -- Webber/Barrichello Yes, Sebastien Buemi. Those of you who have been with us from the start of the season may well remember my reservations about Buemi's promotion to Formula 1. Following his performances in GP2, I simply didn't think he deserved to be racing in the top echelon of single-seater racing when so many of his more talented rivals had been unable to find a seat. While I still stand by my belief that there were more deserving drivers, I am also big enough to admit that I may have done Sebastien something of a disservice in my expectations of how he would perform. Coming in to Toro Rosso as Vettel's replacement was always going to be tough, but he simply got his head down and did his job. There was no bravado, no ego, just a steely determination. Come the mid-season he had out- performed team-mate Bourdais to such an extent that the multiple champion was ousted from the team and the rookie became the team-leader and mentor to an even more inexperienced driver, Jaime Alguersuari. He wasn't always brilliant, but considering the season he's had as a rookie and the weight placed upon his shoulders, I think Mr Buemi deserves some recognition. A new contract for 2010 is no less than he has deserved. 5 -- Sebastien Buemi 47