'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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss