Three wins out of the first four races this season. Not a bad way for Jenson Button to kick off his F1 championship challenge a decade into a career which began at Melbourne in 2000 at the wheel of a Williams-BMW.

I often wonder how things might have been different if Frank Williams hadn’t stuck by his commitment to make room for Juan Pablo Montoya in 2001, thereby consigning the Briton to a fruitless couple of seasons driving for the Briatore/Benetton/Renault operation.

If Jenson had stayed with Williams into 2001 then it’s tempting to think that he might well have won the three races which fell to Ralf Schumacher – and his winning ways might have developed very much earlier.

The thing about Jenson is that he has never complained. Through some bleak times with BAR and Honda he repeatedly saw moments of promise snuffed out just as it seemed they might evolve into something more substantial.

Even his maiden victory, in tricky wet/dry conditions at Budapest in 2006, looked as though it might be a one-shot wonder. Yet his intuitive flair and delicate touch when the Hungaroring was at its most slippery was filed away in the mental card indexes of those who could see beyond a plucky midfield runner getting lucky.

My most vivid recent memory of Button? It was at Barcelona two years ago. As the media pack shadowed brilliant new boy Lewis Hamilton’s every step from McLaren garage to motorhome, Jenson, walking alone through the paddock, picked his way through the seething mass of humanity completely unnoticed by the barrage of snappers.

Not any more, though. In fact, possibly never again.Download Autocar's free F1 circuit guides

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