Brawn GP CEO Nick Fry reckons Jenson Button dismissed any doubts about whether he would be a worthy champion with his drive from 14th on the grid to a title-clinching fifth-place finish in Brazil.
Although Button dominated the first part of the season -- winning six of the year's first seven races -- he has only taken one podium since then, as Brawn was overhauled by its rivals and he encountered a series of problems and setbacks. But despite only needing a handful of points from the last two races to secure the crown, Button charged through the field at Interlagos today and became champion as rivals Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel failed to do enough to prolong the title battle to Abu Dhabi.
"Jenson knew what he had to do today and he just went out and did it," said Fry, "and I think it shows that he is a worthy champion. That first stint today, overtaking under those circumstances when he had everything to lose, really showed his true mettle."
Fry believes Button's tribulations over the previous two years -- when the team languished near the tail of the field under its previous Honda incarnation -- meant he was better prepared to take the chance offered by the extremely competitive Brawn GP car this year.
"Jenson's taken a lot of bullet wounds over the last few years, and when you get into that situation and you've got the bruises, then it makes it much easier to handle the success," he said. "He's just remained the same, he's remained focused, and he's gone about it in a very intelligent way. And it's a situation where it would have been easy to blow the whole thing and he took it sensibly and did what he needed to do and he got there."
Fry added that he had always believed Button was capable of a title-winning performance, even when he was struggling to drag Honda's cars into the points.
"Jenson doesn't surprise me at all," said Fry. "It sounds like I'm married to him but we've been together for a long time now and I've always felt that he could do it.
"I think he's just demonstrated to everyone what he can do -- and the doubters who said he couldn't overtake or he wasn't aggressive enough, hopefully they're now eating humble pie."