The nicest touch of all came from Rubens Barrichello. The kid who’d grown up just a stone’s throw from Interlagos, who had been inspired by the sight of his great hero Ayrton Senna winning the Brazilian GP there, had just finished Sunday afternoon by failing to win either his home race or the world championship.
But that didn’t prevent the oldest driver on the grid from making the grand gesture to his Brawn team-mate, the newly crowned world champion Jenson Button. Over 200 regular passengers might have been frustrated when technical problems delayed Sunday night’s British Airways flight back to London, but Rubens stepped forward and offered the loan of his $35m Brazilian-built Embraer Legacy private jet to whisk Jenson back to the UK.
Nice bloke, Rubens, but not quite quick enough over a season to deprive Jenson of his title. OK, so you could say that Button only won that title by building up that crucial early season cushion with six wins in seven races. But by the same token you could say that Rubens only lost it by allowing Jenson to slip through his fingers during that early season sprint.
Jackie Stewart reckons that Rubens, technically, is possibly the best driver currently competing in the F1 business. But when it came to a shoot-out in a tight corner, Jenson was able to dig deeper than his team-mate.
Make no mistake here; Jenson did not back into the title crown. He took risk after overtaking risk at Interlagos on Sunday, darting this way and that behind his rivals with all the supreme confidence of a man who knew that his moment had arrived. There was none of the tentative uncertainty which blighted some of his recent races, and his achievement was all the more convincing for that.
Hard to argue against the notion that the right man won.