Born on 19th of January 1980
British hero of the week April 6th 2009
When your father was a Rallycross driver and you are allegedly named (albeit with a spelling change) after one of the great British sports cars, your future is probably going to involve cars. Jenson Buttonís life has revolved around karts and cars since he was given his first go-kart when just eight by his father John.
Jenson Button was born and brought up in Frome, Somerset, the youngest child in his family (he has three older sisters). Legend has it that his name was chosen because his fatherís favourite car was the Jensen Interceptor of blessed memory. Whether through nature or nurture, Button junior was a motoring maestro from the outset: in 1991 he won every race (all 31 of them) in the British Cadet Kart Championship, and continued to win in the British Open Kart Championship, then in 1997 took the title in the European Super A Championship, the youngest ever to do so.
At the still tender age of 18 he graduated to Formula Ford, with nine wins going on to add that title to his CV. Perhaps more significantly in the long term that same season he also won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award which brought with it the prize of a test drive in a Formula 1 car, though it was deferred until the end of the following season, by which time he had been named top rookie driver in his first season in Formula Three.
The McLaren test drive in late 1999 was followed by more testing with Team Prost, and then probably his biggest break Ė Williams having parted company with Alessandro Zenardi they needed a new driver: Button beat Brazilian Bruno Junqueira in a one-on-one competition for the drive, so by the year 2000 he was racing in Formula 1.
The fantastic success Button enjoyed on the way to Formula 1 was not until recently repeated once there: his first win, in the Hungarian Grand Prix of 2006, came after more than 100 starts and a series of team changes: Williams was followed by Benetton, Renault, and BAR that became Honda. When Honda pulled out of Formula 1 at the end of 2008 his career looked in jeopardy. Then the phoenix of Brawn GP rose from Hondaís ashes, and in his first two races for them he won both.
In common with many other racing drivers Button moved to live in Monaco. A multi-millionaire in one of the most glamorous jobs in the world he does not seem short of equally glamorous female company.
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