The Brawn-Mercedes – along with rivals Williams and Toyota – opted to use the big aero tweak of the season: the controversial ‘double diffuser’. This aerodynamic appendage was given the green light by the FIA at a court of appeal hearing early in the year, leaving most of the other teams – McLaren included – playing catch-up.
In a sense the team most disadvantaged by the FIA’s judgement was Red Bull, whose tech chief, Adrian Newey, had configured his latest Renault-engined contender with pullrod rear suspension, a choice he admits he would not have made had he believed the double diffuser option would be deemed in conformity with the rules by the powers that be.
So Jenson had a brilliant car – the best – at the wheel of which to demonstrate his Prost/Schumacher-style shimmering precision at the wheel during the first half of the season. He then went through a phase when he tried to drive tactically and tentatively, which didn’t really work. But the final two races – Brazil and the multi-million-dollar Abu Dhabi extravaganza – saw Button back on his brilliant original form.
Button’s title success meant that we were celebrating back-to-back British world champions, although outgoing title-holder Lewis Hamilton struggled with a very difficult McLaren-Mercedes for the first part of the year. Once that was rectified, he was back to his old form again, but if you had to pick a future world champion from those who have yet to win the title, you couldn't look past Sebastian Vettel. He surely will become ranked as among the great ones.
Final driver standings:
1. Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 952. Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 843. Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 774. Mark Webber RBR-Renault 69.55. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 496. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 487. Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 34.58. Jarno Trulli Toyota 32.59. Fernando Alonso Renault 2610. Timo Glock Toyota 2411. Felipe Massa Ferrari 2212. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 2213. Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1914. Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1715. Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 816. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 617. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 518. Kamui Kobayashi Toyota 319. Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 220. Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 021. Nelson Piquet Renault 022. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 023. Romain Grosjean Renault 024. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 025. Luca Badoer Ferrari 0
Final constructor standings
1. Brawn-Mercedes 1722. RBR-Renault 153.53. McLaren-Mercedes 714. Ferrari 705. Toyota 59.56. BMW Sauber 367. Williams-Toyota 34.58. Renault 269. Force India-Mercedes 1310. STR-Ferrari 8