'When we took podium, Ross was speechless'

Brawn lost for words after his new team makes best debut in 55 years in Australia

Not since the French Grand Prix in 1954 has a team new to Formula One finished one-two on their debut. That day at Rheims it was Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling for Mercedes-Benz. Yesterday in Melbourne's Albert Park, it was Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello for Brawn-Mercedes after an extraordinary Australian Grand Prix.

Yes, that Jenson Button, the man who was forced to trail round at the back these past two seasons, struggling with an uncompetitive Honda that was powered by an engine that delivered its meagre drive with all the finesse of a light switch.

The man who, in one great afternoon's work, scored more points than he had since 2006.

"Wow," he said, as he let that depressing statistic sink in. "That's pretty rubbish, really, isn't it? To be honest, the last two years have been really tough. Last year's car was a handful. Every corner, we didn't know what was really going to happen. So it was a beast, but that's what we had to deal with."

If there was a parable within yesterday's fairytale result, it was that every man in Formula One is only as good as the equipment he has at his disposal. Lewis Hamilton could not repeat his 2008 triumph as he struggled in a McLaren that is not yet au point. Button, the man he has so eclipsed since 2007, and whom many sceptics had long written off as yet another of those one-time stars who waned, was unbeatable in the right machine yesterday.

Such was the magnitude of the team's success, with Barrichello backing up Button with a fighting, albeit slightly fortunate, run to second, that Ross Brawn (below), the man who took ownership of the team in order to see it survive, had nothing to say in the immediate aftermath.

"You don't find Ross speechless very often but the last 15 minutes I would be surprised if he said a word," Button said. "When we saw him when we went up to the podium he had nothing to say. The big bear was just there speechless. It was good to see as it was a very emotional day for him as it is for us as well.

"I actually said on the radio to my engineer 'Can you please pinch me next time round.' It was at the start of the race after five laps when I had a five-second lead or something. Yes, this was a special moment."

The big question now, after all the pre-season testing promise has been proven beyond question in the heat of battle as Brawn humbled the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Renault, is how long it can continue, and whether rivals really can catch up.

"We knew that there were some very talented people in the team," Button said. "We hadn't produced the car that we expected to last season, so we put all our work into this car and you can see that we can produce a good car as we have in the past. Now the important thing is to just keep improving it. Our updates throughout the season I hope are going to be enough to keep us strong."

Is the world championship, then, a realistic prospect?

"I hope it is. I hope we are quick and have an advantage all season, but I don't think that's going to be the case. I have a feeling other teams are going to be on us very quickly. Maybe in Malaysia other cars that weren't competitive here, will be. Sebastian Vettel's pace surprised me. It's not a walkaway victory, for sure. But Rubens and I will be competitive together, with a good car, so no reason why we shouldn't be competitive."

Especially when you take into account a compliment that the veteran Barrichello, for six years Michael Schumacher's team-mate when Ferrari was helmed by Brawn, paid to Button.

"You know," he remarked to Brazilian journalists last weekend, "when he has his day, Jenson is as fast and talented as Michael, but he has not been as consistent."

Now that he has the car in his hands that he has waited 10 years to drive, Button is determined to put that right, too.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee