Jenson Button will be hanging up his helmet – for one season at least – come the end of 2016.
In Malaysia he reached a landmark 300 grand prix starts, something only two other drivers in Formula One history have achieved.
Button arrived in Formula One at the beginning of the 2000 season with Williams. He was a surprise appointment to the seat vacated by Alessandro Zanardi, after beating Bruno Junqueira in a shoot-out test arranged by the team.
However it was a one-year appointment only: Button had to make way for Juan Pablo Montoya at the end of the season. He moved on to Benetton, which became Renault the following year, but after being ousted by Fernando Alonso he headed to BAR.
The takeover of that team by Honda helped Button become a grand prix winner at the Hungaroring in 2006. But a disastrous two seasons followed as Honda produced a pair of terrible cars. They made plans for a big push to coincide with a regulations change in 2009, only for the parent company to pull the plug on the team at the end of 2008. But this proved the beginning of one of the most remarkable championship victories in F1 history.
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A management buy-out saved the team and they raced on with their superbly conceived BGP-001 chassis, now powered by Mercedes, and a string of early-season wins by Button put him on course for the title. Despite a more challenging second half of the season as the team’s rivals caught up with them, he clinched the championship with a race to spare.
He took his title to McLaren where he spent three years racing alongside Lewis Hamilton. More wins followed, but no further championships, and as the team split from Mercedes to reunite with Honda their competitiveness suffered.
Button could yet return to F1 racing in 2018. But there is a strong chance the remaining five races will be the last of his remarkable grand prix career. Take a look back on his first 300 starts in pictures.
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