This weekend sees Formula One’s most experienced current driver celebrate a big milestone in his career. Jenson Button – who recently announced he would be taking a sabbatical next year – will start his 300th Grand Prix this weekend in Malaysia. It was the race where he took his first F1 podium, way back in 2004. Here’s a look at the numbers which make up his magic formula.
16 full seasons
Jenson Button made his debut back in 2000, driving for Williams. Since then he has enjoyed relationships with Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn, and now McLaren. He is currently competing in his 17th season of Formula One – his 7th for McLaren, the longest he has spent driving for any one team.
While the past few years have been barren in terms of winning in Formula One, JB has wracked up 15 wins over the years. His first was of course the memorable 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix in mixed conditions. JB’s most recent win came at the season ending 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, bookending his season having won the season opener in Australia that same year.
Winner at 12 tracks
JB’s 15 wins have come at 12 tracks, his most successful being Australia. He has won the Australian Grand Prix on three occasions – 2009, 2010 and 2012. He has also won in Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Turkey, China, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Belgium, and Brazil.
There have also been a number of podium finishes for JB over his years competing in Formula One. His first podium was at the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix and his most recent podium finish was the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. His most frequented podium spot is third – where he has stood 20 times – in relation to 15 times in first and 15 times in second.
Podiums at 16 races
JB has stood on the podium at 16 tracks over the course of his Formula One career. He has enjoyed more than one podium in Malaysia, the European Grand Prix, Canada, Germany, Italy, China, and Abu Dhabi. He has also stood on the podium in Bahrain, San Marino, Monaco, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, Turkey, Singapore and Australia. He has had three podiums – his most at any one race – in Germany, Italy and China.
8 pole positions
Most of JB’s victories have come from not starting on pole position, but he has qualified on top on eight occasions. Five of his pole positions have been converted into victories. His first pole position came at the 2004 San Marino Grand Prix while his most recent was the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix which he also won.
8 fastest laps
As well as pole positions, wins, and podiums, JB also has had eight fastest laps. His first was at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix – a race he started from pole and also won – while his most recent was at the 2012 Indian Grand Prix.
Average 8th in championship
JB has finished an average 8th position in the championship over 16 full seasons. His best finish was 1st in 2009 while his lowest finish was 17th in 2001. He currently lies 15th in the 2016 championship with one more point than he had at the end of the season last year.
11 consecutive points finishes in one season
JB’s longest streak of points finishes in a season came in his championship winning year of 2009. He won six of the first seven races, finished third in one of them, and then went on to pick up points in the next four races too. His longest consecutive points finish run overall was 12 which happened between 2005 and 2006. Scoring points in the last ten races of 2005 – including two podiums – he then scored at the first two races of the 2006 season.
6 wins in one season
There were six wins in 2009 for JB when Brawn took over the Honda Racing team after the Japanese manufacturers pulled out of F1 at the end of 2008. JB won six of the first seven races of the season and that remains his record of most wins in a year.
80% classified finishes records
Despite having some difficult years in Formula One with cars not quite performing as they should, JB still has a 80% classified finishing record. Of the 299 races he has started to date he has been classified as a finisher in 240 of them. 13 of these have been retirements but with him having completed over 90% of the race distance.
66% points finishes
Of his 240 classified finishes, 160 of them – or 66% – have been in the points.
3rd most experienced driver of all time
JB lies in third in the all time list of both entries and starts. He has entered 302 races to date and started 299 of them. Rubens Barrichello is the most experienced F1 driver of all time with 326 entries to his name (322 starts) while Michael Schumacher has 308 entries (306 starts). With five races still to come after Malaysia – JB’s 303rd entry – he will end 2016 tied on entries with Schumacher.
1 World Championship
And saving the best ’til last, JB is a world champion. After years of ups and downs he finally won the championship in 2009 with Brawn GP. His best championship finish before that had been 3rd in 2004 and he went on to finish second in 2011.
So there we have it. 16 full seasons + 15 wins + winner at 12 tracks + 50 podiums + podiums at 16 races +8 pole positions + 8 fastest laps + average 8th in championship + 11 consecutive points finishes + 6 wins in one season + 80% classified finishes + 66% finishes in points + 3rd most experienced driver of all time + 1 world championship = 300 GP!